Director-General of ISI Shuja Pasha on Friday offered to “step back'' and submit to Parliament while wondering why no accusing fingers were pointed at the U.S. and India for intelligence failure after the September 11 and Mumbai terror attacks.
Speaking to PTV about the armed services in camera briefing for a joint session of Parliament on the circumstances leading to the killing of Osama bin Laden, Information & Broadcasting Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said the DG “presented himself for full accountability before any forum and said if there was any ‘negligence or intentional failure', he was ready to face the consequences''.
Pointing out that it was the responsibility of the provincial government, the local police and related agencies to have information about bin Laden, the Minister quoted Lt. Gen. Pasha as saying: “We are, of course, not shying away from our responsibility but all must share their failure.''
Referring to the criticism that the Army and the ISI have drawn, Lt. Gen. Pasha said this was not in national interest and would strengthen the enemy. “They need to be supported at this critical juncture,'' he said citing the sacrifices made by the armed forces in fighting terrorism.
Lt. Gen. Pasha was quoted by the Minister as claiming that it was the ISI which had broken the back of al-Qaeda and paralysed it by shattering its network. About how the U.S. helicopters evaded Pakistan's radars, he said stealth technology was used; maintaining that the Americans entered on the strength of superior technology. Also, according to him, the U.S. had fighter aircraft ready and waiting in Afghanistan to react to any bid by Pakistan to counter the helicopters.
Asked about parliamentarians' response to the briefing by Lt. Gen. Pasha and other senior Army and Air Force officers, Ms. Awan said they were positive and articulated the hope that the Opposition would not criticise the Army and the ISI any further.