ISI chief calls US’ unjustified Osama raid “sting operation” on Pakistan

Washington, May 13(ANI): Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha has issued a rousing denunciation of the United States for its unilateral military operation that killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, and denied that Pakistan maintained any links with militant groups.

In an apparently heated closed-door session of Parliament, General Pasha blamed an intelligence failure for the presence of bin Laden in Pakistan's Abbottabad city, The New York Times reports.

But after recognizing the lapse, several legislators said, the ISI chief rallied Parliament behind him with strong criticisms of the United States that elicited thumps of approval from the chamber, including leading members of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), the major partner in the coalition that the Obama administration supports.

A resolution that was passed at the session said that Pakistan would revisit its relationship with the United States "with the view to ensuring Pakistan's national interests were fully respected."

In that vein, General Pasha said that the ISI would not allow the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to conduct operations in Pakistan without the full knowledge of the Pakistani spy agency.

General Pasha told Parliament that he had a "shouting match" with the CIA Director Leon E. Panetta over the American spy agency's activities in Pakistan, when they met recently in Washington, said several lawmakers who attended the session.

Reviewing the history of American relations with Pakistan, General Pasha declared that the US, which has provided Pakistan with about 20 billion dollars in aid over the last decade, had let Islamabad down at every turn since the 1960s, including imposing sanctions on the country in the 1990s.

"And now they have conducted a sting operation on us," General Pasha said, according to one lawmaker.

The intelligence chief was referring to the fact that the Obama administration had decided not to inform Pakistan in advance of the US raid on bin Laden's Abbottabad compound because of fears that the Pakistanis could not be trusted, the report said.

Before answering questions from the over 400 members of Parliament from both chambers, the military gave a PowerPoint presentation that included photographs of Qaeda militants captured or killed by the ISI since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

General Pasha then explained that Pakistan should be given credit for dismantling Al Qaeda even before the United States killed Bin Laden, according to the accounts from lawmakers after the session.

In a direct assault on statements by American officials that the ISI supports jihadist militant groups- including the Haqqani network in North Waziristan- General Pasha said there was no such policy. "We have nothing to do with the Haqqani network," he was quoted as saying.

Copyright Asian News International/