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Musharraf thought of using nukes against India after Parliament attack: Report

With tensions high between India and Pakistan, Musharraf had publicly said that he would not rule out the possibility of using nuclear weapons.

world Updated: Jul 27, 2017 20:20 IST
File photo of Pakistan’s former military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf.
File photo of Pakistan’s former military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf.(Reuters)

Pakistan’s former military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf contemplated the use of nuclear weapons against India amid tensions following the December 2001 terror attack on the Indian Parliament, but decided against doing so out of fear of retaliation, according to a media report.

Musharraf, 73, also recalled that he had many sleepless nights, asking himself whether he would or could deploy nuclear weapons, the Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun said. When tensions were high in 2002, there was a “danger when (the) nuclear threshold could have been crossed,” the paper quoted Musharraf as saying.

At the time, Musharraf had publicly said that he would not rule out the possibility of using nuclear weapons.

Musharraf also said, however, that at the time, neither India nor Pakistan had nuclear warheads on their missiles, so it would have taken one or two days to make them launch-ready.

Asked whether he had ordered that missiles be equipped with nuclear warheads and put into firing position, he said, “We didn’t do that and we don’t think India also did that, thank God” — pointing, perhaps, to a fear of retaliation, the paper reported.

The two countries subsequently avoided an all-out clash and tensions subsided.

Musharraf ousted then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a coup in October 1999, serving as president from 2001 to 2008.

Musharraf was subsequently charged with being involved in the murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007. He has been living in Dubai since 2016, after he was allowed to leave Pakistan for medical treatment.