Decision about ISI chief’s visit to India not final: Pakistan

November 29th, 2008 - 2:43 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghIslamabad, Nov 29 (IANS) No final decision has been taken on the visit of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief to India to help probe the Mumbai attacks that killed 148 people, the country’s military spokesman said Friday. “Let me clarify that no final decision has been taken about the (ISI chief’s) visit to India,” spokesman for Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas told GEO television.

The spokesman was reacting to media reports quoting Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani that Pakistan will send ISI Chief Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha to India early next week.

Gilani’s reported annoucement came after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requested him to send the chief of Pakistan’s main spy agency to India to discuss the terror attacks in Mumbai.

“We’ll see the detailed order by the government (to send the ISI chief) and then will be in a position to respond to it,” the military spokesman told the GEO TV channel.

The military spokesman said there was nothing new in Indian allegations that Pakistan was involved in the Mumbai terror attacks.

“Indian had accused Pakistan for the Samjhauta Express attack and now they themselves have proved that Pakistan had nothing to do with the blast,” said Abbas.

Meanwhile, Pakistani opposition parties also slammed the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led government for its decision to send ISI chief to India to share the information on intelligence.

“I don’t see any reason in sending the ISI chief to India when Pakistan’s foreign minister and senior diplomats are already in India,” rightwing Jamaat-e-Islami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed told IANS.

He said that it was a premature decision by the prime minister and it needs “rethinking”. Qazi said instead of accepting such a request, the prime minister should have defended Pakistan against the accusations.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) spokesman Ahsan Iqbal said the blame game was not the answer, adding “sending the ISI chief to India almost at the Indian Prime Minister’s summoning was awkward”.

He said the Pakistan government had acted in haste.

PML-Quaid also criticised the Gilani government’s decision. PML-Q spokesman Tariq Azeem said India was resorting to “a knee-jerk reaction by blaming Pakistan instead of carrying out a thorough investigation”.

Former ISI chief Hameed Gul said it was strange that instead of focusing on rescue operation, the Indian leadership chose to accuse Pakistan “probably to gain political mileage”.

“This is ironic that Indian intelligence agencies found out in an hour that Pakistan was behind the blasts but failed to protect their own people… If I am not wrong, there (in India) are more than 20 intelligence agencies but they failed to prevent such a massive attack in which so many people were involved,” Pakistan’s former spy chief said.

He strongly criticised the government decision to send the ISI chief to India.

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