`ISI, CIA accord required to carry forward coop`

Lt General Ahmad Shuja Pasha said that ISI had always cooperated with CIA.

Last Updated: May 15, 2011, 17:27 PM IST

Islamabad: The Pakistan military recently urged the US authorities to finalise a formal agreement on the relationship between the Inter-Services Intelligence and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), ISI chief Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha has said.

The ISI director general told an in-camera joint sitting of Parliament that during a recent meeting with CIA chief Leon Panetta, he had stressed the need to formalise the relationship through an agreement.

“It is not possible to carry forward the cooperation without a formal agreement duly approved by Parliament,” a lawmaker quoted Pasha, as saying.

He said that his agency had always cooperated with the CIA and its successes in the war against terrorism were made possible because of vital information passed on to it by the ISI, the Dawn reports.

He also denied that the ISI had concealed anything from the American agency, adding: “In fact, it is the other way round.”

Citing an example of the CIA’s withholding of information, he said that the ISI had provided complete information about Abu Ahmad Al Kuwaiti- the courier that led to the discovery of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden’s hideout- but when the CIA, acting on the lead, arrested one of his friends in Kuwait, it did not share the development with the ISI.

Pasha also said that Pakistan would have taken appropriate measures to kill or arrest Taliban leaders who entered the country through the porous border with Afghanistan after the massive bombing of Tora Bora mountains, if advance information would have been provided to the ISI about the CIA operation.

Rejecting the allegation that Osama was brought to Abbottabad by the ISI, Pasha wondered: “Why would the ISI keep him at a place without escape route and proper security cover.”

He also pointed out that there were no security guards at the building where bin Laden lived.

“The fear that we cannot live without America has taken away our self respect. Are we to live in humiliation out of the US fear forever,” Pasha said amid applause and thumping of desks.

He also told Parliament that the US had carried out 247 drone attacks inside Pakistani territory since 2004, adding that no record was available about any agreement in this regard.

ANI