Top ISI official faces grilling over providing content for BB murder press conference

March 15th, 2011 - 3:16 pm ICT by ANI  

Benazir Bhutto Islamabad, Mar 15(ANI): Major General Nusrat Naeem, former director generalof the Counter Intelligence wing of the ISI, is likely to face interrogation following the revelation that he had provided material for the infamous press conference that was held a day after the assassination of former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

“The contents of the press conference were provided by Maj-Gen Nusrat Naeem, DG-C, ISI, at a meeting,” the Dawn quoted an official, as saying.

“Maj-Gen (retd) Nusrat Naeem may be interrogated by the Federal Investigation Agency’s joint investigation team (JIT) and his name may be added in a supplementary challan,” the official added.

Former Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier (retired) Javed Iqbal Cheema, whose statement was recorded by the JIT, said the meeting was held at the ISI headquarters, and that he had attended it along with the then Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah.

“I did not express any assumptions, guess work or opinion at the press briefing. I just reproduced what I was given to share with the media,” he added.

At the December 28, 2007 press conference, Brigadier (r) Cheema presented an audiotape of a conversation between former Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud (identified as Amir sab in the tape) and one ‘Maulvi sab’, and told the reporters that the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan chief was behind Benazir’s assassination.

Paragraph 42 of the latest challan submitted to an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi relates to the subject.

“In this press conference the then DG, NCMC, not only announced the cause of death of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto but also declared that the terrorists belonged to Baitullah Mehsud, chief commander of TTP. The credibility of investigation of this case was affected by the premature press conference,” the challan said.

Interior ministry sources said they believed that Brigadier (r) Cheema had acted only on the instructions of his immediate boss Kamal Shah, who accompanied him at the ISI headquarters.

The decision to address the press conference had been taken at a meeting held the same morning at the Rawalpindi camp office with the then Pakistan President and Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf in the chair, the sources added.

Brigadier (r) Ejaz Shah, former chief of Intelligence Bureau and a trusted aide to Musharraf, confirmed in his statement that the meeting had been held.

“The intercepted CD and medical report was provided by the ISI. The briefing was given by DG-C to the participants,” he said. (ANI)

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