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Watch: Ex-Pakistan President Musharraf says India's secularism is eroding

File photo of Pervez Musharraf. Photograph: (Zee News Network)

WION Dubai - United Arab Emirates Apr 22, 2017, 09.26 PM (IST)

Watch WION's two-part interview with former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf.

Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf launched a blistering attack on India's pluralism, saying the rise of an aggressive form of Hindu nationalism had eroded the country's secular beliefs.

Referring to the surge in groundswell support of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, the ex-president was alarmed about the spike in "Hindu supremacy" beliefs prevailing in large swathes of the country during his interview with WION's Palki Sharma.

"You have absolutely lost your secular credentials. You are anti-Muslim. I think the party which has got elected, look at who is the chief minister of UP? I mean, what (are) his credentials?" Musharraf asks in reference to the recent appointment of the staunch Hindu nationalist Yogi Adityanath as the political head of India most populous and politically most critical state Uttar Pradesh.

In contrast, the former military ruler feels that Pakistan is a lot more "progressive" and an "enlightened" society.

He even goes to the extent of dubbing Yogi Adityanath as an extremist.

"He (Adityanath) is talking that all Muslims and Christians will be converted to Hindus.. within a span of time. He is saying that," the former Pakistani president said.

Adityanath's fledgling tenure has come with a fair slice of controversy both in India and abroad.

Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu nationalist, was appointed Uttar Pradesh's chief minister in February, but has hogged realms of news reports for spouting anti-Islamic comments.

Adityanath's ascension to the top has vexed the moderates in India who believe that the appointment is likely to sharpen the religious fault lines in the India's largest state.

The rise of cow vigilante groups and the ban on illegal slaughter houses in the state has escalated and buffeted the right-wing rhetoric in India.

Responding to the current atmosphere in India, Musharraf said definitively that there was an "anti-Muslim" sentiment sweeping across the country.

He also downplayed the persecution against the Muslim Uyghurs in China, saying New Delhi is reading a lot into the issue.

"Much more is happening in India. We should discuss that too," Musharraf said.

Musharraf, who took over the reins of Pakistan following a coup in 1999, was in a self-imposed exile since 2008. He returned to Pakistan in 2013 to contest the general elections, following which the government initiated a trial against him for treason.


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