Terror, not India Pakistan’s enemy: ISI chief

January 7th, 2009 - 4:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Jan 7 (IANS) Categorically stating there would not be a war with India in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, the head of Pakistan’s spy agency says Islamabad’s enemy is not its eastern neighbour but terrorism.”We may be crazy in Pakistan, but not completely out of our minds. We know fully well that terror is our enemy, not India,” Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha told German newsmagazine Der Spiegel in an interview.

“There will not be a war,” he declared confidently, adding: “We are distancing ourselves from conflict with India, both now and in general.”

Pasha has been the head of the ISI, Pakistan’s “notoriously independent” intelligence agency, for the past three months. “He makes a cosmopolitan impression and says he takes his orders from the civilian government. But how much control does Pasha have over his own organization?” the magazine wondered.

“The 57-year-old general, sitting in his third-floor office in Islamabad, is a short, wiry man with carefully parted hair. He smiles. Instead of a military uniform, the commander of Pakistan’s notorious military intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), is wearing a gray suit and a stylish pink tie, his elbows resting comfortably on a large, walnut desk,” the magazine added.

According to Pasha, he was willing to travel to New Delhi after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani accepted a request by his Indian counterpart following the Mumbai attacks but “many people here are simply not ready”.

He also admitted that post-Mumbai, Pakistan had braced itself for a “military reaction”.

“At first we thought there would be a military reaction. The Indians, after the attacks, were deeply offended and furious, but they are also clever,” Pasha maintained.

Pasha also dismissed the evidence India had furnished of the involvement of elements from Pakistan in the Mumbai attacks.

“They have given us nothing, no numbers, no connections, no names. This is regrettable,” he contended.

During the interaction with Der Spiegel’s Susanne Koelbl, Pasha switched back and forth between English and his “surprisingly accent-free German”, the interviewer wrote.

The ISI chief had lived for a while in Germany in the 1980s when he attended officer-training programmes.

Pasha also said he wanted to re-establish the ISI’s credibility. On being asked how much control he had over the organisation, he replied: “Many may think in a different direction, and everyone is allowed to think differently, but no one can dare disobey a command or even do something that was not ordered.”

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