Shashi Tharoor hits back: ‘Why did BJP government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee negotiate with Musharraf?’

A day after Shashi Tharoor drew sharp reaction over his tweet on Pervez Musharraf’s death, the senior Congress leader asked why the earlier BJP government under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee negotiated a ceasefire with the former Pakistan President.

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Reacting Musharraf’s death, Tharoor had tweeted, “Once an implacable foe of India, he became a real force for peace 2002-2007. I met him annually in those days at the @un (United Nations) and found him smart, engaging and clear in his strategic thinking. RIP.”  BJP leaders, reacting to this, had accused him of “hailing the architect of the Kargil War”.

Tharoor, via a tweet on Monday, said: “Question to BJP leaders frothing at the mouth: if Musharraf was anathema to all patriotic Indians, why did the BJP Government negotiate a ceasefire with him in 2003 & sign the joint Vajpayee-Musharraf statement of 2004? Was he not seen as a credible peace partner then?”.

Countering the claims by BJP leaders, the senior Congress MP had earlier said: “I was raised in an India where you are expected to speak kindly of people when they die. Musharraf was an implacable enemy &was responsible for Kargil but he did work for peace w/India, in his own interest, 2002-7. He was no friend but he saw strategic benefit in peace, as did we.”

Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar hit out at the Thiruvananthapuram MP, tweeting, “Nothing like a proper military thrashing for Fatcat Pak Dictator Generals to become a ‘force for peace’ n develop ‘clear strategic thinking’. Notwithstanding many lives lost and international laws violated and harm caused all around, these generals will have their admiring fans in India.”

BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawala posted on Twitter, “Pervez Musharraf — architect of Kargil, dictator, accused of heinous crimes — who considered Taliban & Osama as ‘brothers’ & ‘heroes’ — who refused to even take back bodies of his own dead soldiers is being hailed by Congress! Are you surprised?” he said.

Claiming that Musharraf had “hailed” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as a “gentleman”, Poonawala asked if “perhaps that endears Congress to Musharraf”.

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