In a significant development Pakistan’s military has decided to have a formal agreement between Pakistan and the United States on intelligence-sharing and cooperation in the ‘war against terrorism’, The Express Tribune has learnt.
The message has been conveyed by Pakistan’s military brass in their recent interactions with senior US military officials in Islamabad and Washington, military sources said.
Military sources told The Express Tribune that Pakistan and the United States have been sharing intelligence since 2001, but without any formal agreement.
Pakistani and US military officials have had a series of meetings this month to resolve differences that have not only undermined military-to-military ties but have also strained diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Earlier this month, ISI chief Lieutenant-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha met CIA head Leon Panetta in Washington, then chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen had meetings with his Pakistani counterpart General Khalid Shameem Wynne and Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in Rawalpindi, and then US Army Chief of Staff Gen Martin Dempsey met Gen Kayani.
The pursuance of a formal agreement comes as there is now a feeling among Pakistan’s top military officials that the US has not taken them into confidence on several issues, including Raymond Davis. Raymond Davis, a CIA agent, had been sent to Pakistan on a mission to spy on the Taliban leaders and their jihadi cohorts.
Though last month a court freed Davis after the payment of ‘blood money’ to the families of the victims, the presence of armed CIA agents in Pakistan has frustrated the Pakistani military.
The Davis saga showed the US military’s ‘mistrust’ of Pakistan, which was later substantiated by Admiral Mullen’s allegations last week that some elements in the ISI had links with the Haqqani Network.
Military sources told The Express Tribune that a formal agreement was required to restore dwindling confidence between the two countries.
It has also been conveyed to the US administration that, after a formal agreement between the two countries, all CIA contractors would have to leave Pakistan.
US military officials have assured Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership that they would take up the matter with the US administration and that a formal agreement would be finalised with mutual consent.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2011.