Our people planned 26/11: ex-chief of ISI

Book by Pakistan’s ex-envoy to U.S. Husain Haqqani contains then-ISI chief Gen. Shuja Pasha’s ‘revelation’.

May 10, 2016 01:30 am | Updated November 28, 2021 09:45 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

The planners of the 26/11 attacks were “our people” but it wasn’t “our operation”, the then-ISI chief Gen. Shuja Pasha had admitted shortly after the Mumbai attacks in 2008, says former Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani. The revelation, which appears in a forthcoming book on India-Pakistan relations, recounts the visit by General Pasha to Washington on December 24-25, 2008, where he made the startling admission.

At the end of his meetings with his CIA counterpart Gen. Michael Hayden, General Pasha had reportedly visited Mr. Haqqani at the ambassador’s residence. “Pasha said to me ‘ Log hamaray thay, operation hamara nahin thha’ ,” Mr. Haqqani writes in the book — India vs Pakistan: Why Can’t We Just Be Friends?

Speaking to The Hindu over the telephone from Washington, Mr. Haqqani said Gen. Pasha had also told Gen. Hayden that “retired military officers and retired intelligence officers” had been involved in the planning of the attacks.

The conversation between the chiefs of the ISI and CIA has been recounted in three books earlier — by then U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice in her memoirs, Bob Woodward in his book “ Obama Wars ” and earlier this year by Gen. Hayden himself in his autobiography, Playing to The Edge . However, this is the first time Gen. Pasha’s words corroborating the ISI link have been recorded by a Pakistani official.

No prosecution

According to Mr. Haqqani, the link was confirmed by the fact that Pakistan’s government never prosecuted the accused.

“The fact that we never pursued the case against the accused [officers] in the 26/11 case despite all the evidence that had been provided: not just by India, but by the U.S., by the American NSA including intercepts of conversations during the attacks, that pointed a finger at us, at the Pakistan government,” he said.

According to Mr. Haqqani, who faced charges of treason in Pakistan in 2011 after the military accused him of writing a “Memo” to the U.S. government on the Osama Bin Laden killing, the Army’s denial of any link to the 26/11 attacks was of a piece with their stand on other strikes “all the way from the 1980s to Dawood Ibrahim.”

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