Pakistan decides against appointing NSA

January 15th, 2009 - 3:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Jan 15 (IANS) Pakistan has decided against appointing a national security adviser (NSA) after the previous incumbent Mahmud Ali Durrani was sacked for owning up to the nationality of Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist arrested during the Mumbai terror attack.Quoting an unnamed federal minister who claims to be close to both President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, The News said Tuesday “it had been decided in principle that no new national security adviser would be appointed”.

The minister offered no specific reason for the decision and also gave no hint as to when exactly it was taken.

Presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar expressed his ignorance about the development.

“I am not aware whether or not such a decision has been taken. Similarly, it is not in my knowledge when and who can be appointed as the national security adviser of the prime minister,” Babar told The News.

Gilani Jan 7 fired Durrani as NSA after he had confirmed Kasab was a Pakistani national “without taking the prime minister into confidence”.

On his part, Durrani claimed he had not transgressed the official brief while speaking on Kasab.

Zardari had appointed Durrani the NSA on Gilani’s recommendation April 15 last year.

On Wednesday, Durrani said he was first in the Pakistani government to be alerted by a US official about the allegedly “threatening call” from Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee to Zardari being a fake.

“I received a text message from a high American official that the Indian minister has not called President Zardari,” Durrani told two TV news channels.

Two days after the Mumbai attacks in November last year, Zardari received a call that he claimed was from Mukherjee and which threatened “dire consequences” if the masterminds of Mumbai attacks were not handed over to India.

New Delhi denies the minister made any such call to Zardari but the presidency staff insists the call was from the Indian external affairs ministry’s phone number.

“I believe it was conveyed to the US that India had not made the call and a senior (US) official sent me a text message,” said Durrani who is under severe criticism for being ‘America’s man’.

But Durrani, in two different interviews with ARY and GEO channels telecast late Wednesday night, refuted such allegations as “baseless and a common practice in Pakistan”.

He said that he has excellent relations with the American officials but that are only for serving Pakistan. “I can’t even think of being agent to any other country,” he said, adding it was mere propaganda by his opponents.

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