ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said on Thursday that any country that again seeks to raid its territory would face consequences from Pakistan’s military.
“We feel that sort of misadventure or miscalculation would result in a terrible catastrophe,” he said. “There should be no doubt Pakistan has adequate capacity to ensure its own defence.”
He was speaking three days after a US raid by special forces, without the knowledge of Pakistan officials, on a compound in Abbottabad, north of the capital, killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Reiterating the statement made by PM Yousaf Gilani in Paris, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said if an intelligence failure had resulted in a decade-long hunt for most wanted terrorist Bin Laden, the blame was to be shared by spy agencies all over the world.
Talking to the media in Islamabad, Bashir responded to media critique of the Pakistan military and intelligence agencies by saying that the criticism is unwarranted and cannot be validated.
"This has been played out all wrong in the media domain...we have a lot of work to do to change this,” said Bashir.
Bashir responded to allegations that the intelligence agencies failed to detect US helicopters in Pakistani airspace by saying that Pakistan has “adequate capacity” to protect itself and that the CIA-led operation was covert.
"The helicopters managed to evade our radars. The first information we received was when a helicopter crashed. Then we immediately reacted,” he said.
He said that as soon as the operation was over, at around 3am Admiral Mike Mullen informed them about the operation that has taken place. He also added that it was the US that pointed out the aspect of sovereignty, “as the Americans are equally concerned about this issue”.
Hideout next to military academy
In response to media statements regarding the failure of agencies to detect the hideout that was in close proximity to a training academy, Bashir said that the matter was being “looked into”.
He added that the institution does not require the same protection as other civilian and military assets, and was not under the same level of scrutiny as other strategic locations.
ISI is not in league with terrorists
Bashir stated that the ISI has a “brilliant record” in fighting terrorism and emphasized on their success against al Qaeda. He dismissed the speculation that ISI was providing cover to Bin Laden and termed the notion “absolutely wrong”.
“It’s easy to say that the agencies were in cahoots with al Qaeda. But this is a false charge.” He added that the performance of the ISI against al Qaeda “does not compare to any other intelligence agency’s achievements”.
He pointed out that ISI had gathered intelligence that led to the arrest of wanted terrorists like Khalid Shiekh Mohammad from Rawalpindi and al Qaeda operational chief Abu Faraj al Libbi from Mardan. He also added that the person involved in the Bali bombings was picked up from Abbottabad by the intelligence agency.
He also said that “there is no need for any Pakistani to feel demoralised” and Pakistanis should feel proud of their country and institutions.
He said that the CIA and ISI shared intelligence which led to the identification of Bin Laden’s hideout.
Bashir said the ISI provided information on Bin Laden’s courier on al Kuwaiti, which led CIA to focus on this compound.
He added that Pakistan looks forward to Hillary Clinton’s visit this month.
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