London: Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf has cast doubt on Britain’s stance against torture of British subjects by saying that he was not told about the country’s disapproval of torture.
In a BBC Two interview for The Secret War on Terror, Musharraf said he has no recollection of being told that his country’s intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, should not torture British citizens.
"Never. Never once, I don’t remember it all… Maybe they wanted us to continue to do whatever we were doing; it was a tacit approval," The Guardian quoted him, as saying in an interview to be broadcast on Monday night.
Musharraf was Pakistan’s President from 1999 to 2008, at a time when British citizens were abused in his country’s jails, according to evidence heard in British courts.
"We are dealing with vicious people and you have to get information. Now if you are extremely decent we then don’t get any information... We need to allow leeway to the intelligence operatives, the people who interrogate," the former president said in the interview.
However, former director-general of MI5, Lady Eliza Manningham-Buller, said Musharraf was "wrong", and denied that "a blind eye had been turned".
"No … there was no tacit approval of torture," she said, adding, "I think this raises a much broader question.
Sir David Omand, the British government’s former security and intelligence adviser, told the programme: "I am very clear we are not and have not been complicit in torture and I’m in no doubt that all the countries concerned including Pakistan and the United States were very well aware of what British policy was, which was we don’t do this and we don’t ask other people to do it."