`Pasha didn`t visit Arab nations for support against Zardari`

The statement clarified that Shuja Pasha had not met any Arab leader May 1-9 as had been mentioned in the report Dec 13.

Last Updated: Dec 21, 2011, 22:45 PM IST

Islamabad: The Pakistan Army Wednesday rejected as "false assertions" a report in a British newspaper that the country`s intelligence chief has visited Arab countries and sought their support for removal of President Asif Ali Zardari.

The London-based newspaper The Independent reported this month that Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Chief Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha travelled to Arab countries to discuss a move to oust Zardari, according to Xinhua.

The newspaper`s website also quoted Pakistan-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz as having said: "Their (US intelligence) information was that Pasha had travelled to a few Arab countries to talk about what the necessary line of action would be in the event that they had to remove Zardari from power, and so forth".

The Pakistan Army rejected the report and said that the paper has made false assertions regarding the ISI chief`s visits to Arab countries.

"It has been said that the DG (Director General) met senior Arab leaders and asked permission for a military coup in Pakistan. The story has been published without verification at any level," an army statement said.

The statement clarified that Shuja Pasha had not met any Arab leader May 1-9 as had been mentioned in the report Dec 13.

"The DG ISI`s other visits to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and UAE only, prior to or after this period, were part of routine intelligence sharing activity, during which he interacted with his counterparts only," the statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

"Contents of the article are strongly and categorically denied. A legal notice is being served to the newspaper to retract the story and apologize," it said.

IANS