Islamabad: Pakistan`s military on Saturday
described as baseless and mischievous the allegations levelled
against ISI by the New York Times, and said the newspaper
should stop its "vilifying campaign".
Reacting to the editorial in the influential US paper,
Pakistan`s military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said
in recent weeks the NYT has been publishing "wild claims"
presented as news stories on the basis of information
"supposedly provided by unnamed US officials".
In an unprecedented attack, the Times charged the ISI
of being "inimical to Pakistani and American interests" and
asked Washington to seek the removal of its chief Lt Gen Ahmed
Shuja Pasha while slapping sanctions against its officials
involved in terror activities.
The paper also asked President Asif Ali Zardari "to
speak out firmly against abuses, insist on adherence to the
rule of law and join his political rival, Nawaz Sharif, in
pressing the security services to change".
"It (US government) should tell Pakistan`s security
leadership that if Washington identifies anyone in ISI or the
army as abetting terrorists, those individuals will face
sanctions like travel bans or other measures," it said.
Abbas said the allegations levelled by the Times
against the chief of the country`s premier intelligence agency
were baseless and mischievous.
Abbas also recalled NYT`s apology of March 2004 over
its coverage of the Iraq war, when the paper admitted that
it should have more aggressively re-examined claims and said
that in some cases, "information that was controversial then,
and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or
allowed to stand unchallenged".
Abbas said in most cases such news reports have quoted
anonymous US sources, bringing the veracity of their reporting
"If the newspaper continues with its vilifying
campaign without any concrete evidence, I am afraid at some
point it may end up expressing its deep regret the way it did
in the case of its Iraq coverage," the military spokesman