Senior ISI official, not chief to visit India (Second Lead)

November 29th, 2008 - 12:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghIslamabad, Nov 29 (IANS) Pakistan will send a senior official and not the chief of its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency to India, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s spokesman has said here.On Friday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had urged his Pakistani counterpart Gilani to send ISI chief Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha to New Delhi to exchange information on the Mumbai terror attacks that have claimed 148 lives and injured 327.

Gilani Friday surprised many in the country by announcing that the ISI chief would be sent to India. The decision to send Pasha was announced by the prime minister’s office after Gilani held a meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari and discussed the matter with the heads of the security establishment.

However, in a statement late Friday, the spokesman for the prime minister said that instead of the ISI chief, a senior official of the spy agency would visit India.

The statement came hours after Pakistan military spokesman said that no final decision had been taken on the ISI chief visiting India.

“Let me clear that no final decision has been taken about the (ISI chief’s) visit to India,” Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told GEO television in a late night programme.

There was no mention, however, about when the ISI official is likely to arrive in New Delhi.

A statement from Pakistan’s foreign office said the country stands united with India in the war on terror and would extend its full cooperation to curb this menace. However, it added that India should respect Pakistan’s efforts at combating terrorism and should avoid playing a blame game.

While India has said the terrorists have links in Pakistan, Islamabad has refuted the charge. In support of its contention, India has said that the only terrorist to be captured in Mumbai was a Pakistani.

In his address to the nation Thursday, Manmmohan Singh blamed “elements outside the country” for the bloodshed in Mumbai, warning that India will not tolerate the use of territories of its neighbours for such attacks.

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