New Delhi: Britain had pressed President Asif
Ali Zardari to send ISI chief Ahmad Shuja Pasha to India
following the 2008 Mumbai attacks but the Pakistani Army had
vetoed the move, WikiLeaks has indicated.
According to a US diplomatic cable leaked by the
whistleblower website, British Foreign Secretary David
Miliband had pressed for sending Pasha to India following the
attacks as Miliband "described ISI MG Pasha as a welcome `new
broom` and expressed UK support for ISI reform".
"Zardari gave (British High Commissioner Robert) Brinkley
a long answer about various levels of directors in ISI but
finally confirmed that the Army had vetoed the decision to
send Pasha," the US cable said.
The Pakistan President told Miliband that it might be
possible to send National Security Advisor Mahmud Ali Durrani,
as he outranked Pasha.
"It would not be possible, said Zardari, to send Pasha
immediately as Zardari needed to work public opinion first,"
said the cable written by then US ambassador to Pakistan Anne
W Patterson to Washington five days after the Mumbai carnage
that left over 160 persons including six Americans dead.
According to the cable, Zardari saw an opportunity to
strike back at his enemies in the global outcry following the
26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
"In the conversation with Miliband, Zardari said he saw
the attacks as an `opportunity to strike at my enemies`," it
Patterson said the details about the conversation between
Zardari and Miliband were made available by the UK mission in
Islamabad through a "readout".
"We received readout from the UK embassy on their
meetings/calls over the weekend. High Commissioner Brinkley
and UK COS met President Zardari on Sunday, November 30;
during the meeting FM Miliband called Zardari. UK passed the
same Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) info to Zardari that they
previously had passed to ISI," Patterson wrote.
The US ambassador had termed Zardari`s response as
"positive". The Pakistan President, however, criticised the
Indians for making statements that had "pushed Islamabad
on the defensive".
"Zardari`s response was positive; he said ISI had to
follow up and this was an opportunity. He criticised the
Indians for statements that pushed Islamabad to make a
defensive response and `made my job harder`," the US cable
Zardari had also expressed his doubts that terrorists
could have launched attack boats from Karachi and that "the
operation could not have been implemented without insider help
Miliband had encouraged the Pakistan President by saying
that "public messaging would be particularly important to link
the Mumbai atrocity with Zardari`s own campaign against
"Miliband said that LeT needed to feel the full force of
the law," the cable said. Zardari responded by saying he was
setting up special courts, was contacting all political
parties, and would take action immediately, it said.