Charges against ISI not baseless: ex-envoy
KABUL (PAN): Reservations by some Pakistani politicians at an overnight All Parties Conference (APC) in Islamabad prove that allegations of the Inter-Services Intelligence's links to militants are true, a political analyst said on Friday.
US-Pakistan relations plummeted after the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan's northwestern garrison city of Abbottabad and recent attacks in Kabul. The US blamed the assaults on the Haqqani network, which is allegedly supported by the ISI.
In an effort to eliminate militancy and bring peace to the region, Pakistan's top political and military leaders vowed to boost relations with Afghanistan.
"On a priority basis, we need to further enhance our brotherly bilateral relations with Afghanistan at government-to-government, institution-to-institution and people-to-people levels," they said.
Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, ISI Director-General Lt. Gen. Shuja Pasha, PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif and representatives of more than 55 political parties attended the conference that lasted several hours.
Gen. Pasha briefed participants on the presence of various militant factions operating in the Pak-Afghan border region, who were hostile to Pakistan. Pasha and Kayani rejected the US allegations as groundless.
Mahmood Khan Achakzai, the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief, reportedly questioned ISI's role in dealing with the Afghan crisis. If the intelligence agency really wanted to bring peace to the neighbouring country, it could do so within a month, he was quoted as saying.
Sharif asked military leadership why the country was increasingly becoming isolated internationally. There must be some solid reason for the mounting US pressure on Pakistan, he said, adding the entire world was pointing fingers at its role in Afghanistan.
Ahmad Saeedi, a political analyst and former Afghan diplomat, said some of APC participants had spurned the US allegations as baseless, but others queried the spy agency's role in Afghanistan.
Gilani was asked to visit the US during the current month to convey a positive message to the Obama administration about Islamabad's desire to bring stability to the region, Saeedi said, adding the mixed political views at the event raised questions about Islamabad's sincerity in combating terrorism.
The position taken by Sharif and Achakzai had proved the accusations against the Pakistani intelligence network were not altogether baseless and there were differences over Islamabad's current policy, the ex-envoy said.
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