ISLAMABAD: As military ties with the United States continued to sour, the head of Pakistan’s leading intelligence agency flew to Beijing on a secret trip that is seen as part of Islamabad’s wider efforts to reduce its dependence on Washington and open a “broad-based strategic dialogue” with Beijing.
The visit by Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), comes just weeks after a trip by another senior Pakistani military commander to Beijing and on the heels of the sudden departure of the US Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) station chief in Islamabad.
Last month Lt Gen Wahid Arshad, the Chief of General Staff, undertook a week-long trip to China to discuss what the officials in Islamabad described as “the option of a strategic dialogue between the two countries on the pattern of the engagement between Pakistan and the United States.”
“General Pasha was due to leave for Beijing on Sunday evening,” disclosed a security official requesting anonymity. He would not give further details of his itinerary nor the exact nature of his trip.
The ISI has refused to confirm or deny the visit.
When approached, a senior official of the intelligence agency told The Express Tribune that such visits are classified and he cannot offer any comment on it.
The back-to-back trips by senior military and intelligence officials to China are believed to be necessitated by the simmering tensions between Pakistan and the US.
It comes amidst reports of a fresh row between Islamabad and Washington over the Pakistan government’s new restrictions on the movements of US diplomats in Pakistan and the unexpected departure of the CIA station chief.
American media reports claim that the undercover CIA station chief in Islamabad left Pakistan abruptly, ostensibly ‘on medical grounds.’ However, some reports indicate his sudden departure was part of the ongoing tension between the ISI and CIA. In recent weeks, Pakistan’s security establishment launched a crackdown against the ‘private CIA network’ and attempted to restrict the movement of American intelligence operatives in the country following the US midnight raid in Abbottabad to kill Osama bin Laden on May 2.
The outgoing CIA officer was believed to have played a central role in tracking down the world’s most wanted man.
US and Pakistani officials told the American news channel ABC they hoped the station chief’s departure would pave the way for smoother ties between the CIA and Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency, noting the departing officer had an “extremely tense” relationship with his counterparts in the ISI.
Yet Pakistani officials continue to look to Beijing, a historical ally of Islamabad and increasingly looked upon as the rising power in Asia.
“China is our long-term partner and we have very close cooperation and consultation with them on all major issues including the ongoing tension with the US,” said a military official. He said China believes in ‘quiet diplomacy’ and that was one of the reasons that Pasha’s visit was being kept under wraps.
The official said the Chinese leadership had offered Pakistan a broad-based strategic dialogue in order to help the country meet its growing needs in energy, defence, and other important fields. The move is part of a long-term plan to minimise dependence on the US, he added.
However, another official said enhanced strategic partnership with China does not necessarily mean that “we want any confrontation with the US.”
“At present we heavily rely on the US military hardware … the Americans are the main suppliers of artillery, gunships and our air defence system,” he said. “The Chinese contribution is also increasing but we cannot afford a complete breakdown of our relationship with the US.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2011.
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@naeem khan: Absolutely correct but don't forget oil permits. They are available here only. One cannot get it in NY and London with long beard.
Not Top Secret if it is on Express News. lol
@Nani ki Dukaan:
Hello !!! Pasha is in China not for cutting any special deals in favour of Pakistan, but to apologise for the Pak- trained terrorists of Xianjiang. Please don't be under any illusion. Apart from this, the rest of your rant was entertaining !
@VINOD: Simple Extremist Right Hindu RSS Terrorist View Point. Your Viewpoint is rejected with overwhelmed majority. And what world you are referring to here? You and USA and Few others? Pasha is doing what he is supposed to do just like your RAW or CIA does. Are they terrorists Organizations? Maybe Your RAW certainly is after the capture of RSS Terrorist in Army itself. Point is your Extreme Hindu eye can see beyond Pakistan. What do you think of invasion of Afghanistan? How many people are killed since 2001 invasion with in Afghanistan? Was not that supposed to capture USAMA? Why country has to be occupied? What does the world do when an individual criminals has to be captured? Do you appoint army or Police to capture an individual? What Iraq had to do with all this and was invaded. Point is you will remain coward as a nation and/or accomplice into all this as you had been at the time of Soviet invasion. Your country then performed quite a few lap dances in the lap of the Soviets in Afghanistan. Then came invasion of US in Afghanistan .You are there under the guise of construction, training the terrorists to disturb Law and Order in Pakistan. You did the same thing in 1979. Stop doing B/S here and give these Bhashans to He who doesn't Know the mentality of Hndu Banya. We live here we know you. Buzz Off.
@Pundit: It is also possible those terrorist have been trained in Afghanistan by the Indian spy agency Raw. As india is trying its best to Isolate pakistan on international level with the help of America and Israel. Indian is the only most benefficiary with afghan war. Even more than America.
@Suleman Hassan: @asif: There's no way an Inferior paki can get over his inferiority complex.
@naeem khan: so the corrupt will do their bidding? do you forget the most common issue is Pakistan's lack of action? For supposedly having so many Pakistani higher-ups in their pocket, apparently it's completely useless, corrupt or not.
They end up in those countries for other reasons. It's personal choice. Once they're out of office in Pakistan it's only natural to go somewhere else. They'll end up as target practice for headlines and regardless of who the politician is, if they are not in Pakistani office and want to move to the country, neither country would turn them away. They actually have rules that make singling them out and turning them away punishable. It's just proof of the quality of living in Pakistan feeling like a punishment. They know how the country works and it's an easy decision for them to leave when their time is up. They're not going to subject themselves to the citizen's daily life of misery if they can help it, and they can.
Why aching starts in Indian .................whenver any Pakistan diginity plan or do visit China . Shame on Poor U.S. watchdog India.
Naeem Khan: "They need the resources from the Central Asia as well as from Afghanistan" And they need some from pakistan too. Only part of the resources are under Guantonamo bay. The rest need to go there also.
Looking west until it is time to look east. Start leaning Mandarin, shave eyour beards and use chop sticks. Pork is a delicacy in China, so start accepting that in your diet. No offense intended. Pakistan has to look inwards and rise up economically. Aid from other countries is only a bandaid.
I read this type of comment all the time. Can you please name one critical resource that Pakistan or Afghanistan produces? The reality is that neither Pakistan or Afghanistan produces anything that the rest of the World would consider critical - especially the USA. .. It's easy to Google what the USA imports as well as which countries provide those resources -- I suspect your going to be disappointed when you do some homework.
Only in Pakistan spy chiefs go on 'secret' visits announced in newspapers, nuclear scientists 'secretly' fly nuclear material all over world in government planes, non state actors 'secretly' carry attacks in neighboring countries, and Osama Bin Laden 'secretly' lives virtually in army cantonment.
I thought building foreign policy was the job of Parliament and Democratic govt, with military offering its input. Doesn't look like anything has changed since 2008, or 1958 for the matter.
Chinese nationals were abducted by Lal masjid mullahs, Chinese premier insisted on the operation
@Maher: what makes you believe this. Dont kid yourself . They wont betray they will eat you up.
@Zaheerul Hassan: Dear if wishes were horses?
@syed Imran: Does Ghariat and being Pakistani mean to keep supporting some thing that is going to destroy Pakistan and dreams of millions of Pakistanis?
Now CIA office will be replaced by Chiense intelligence network and show continues
Obviously DG is there to explain that our "Strategic Assets" have nothing to do with Xingjiang blasts. Our "Good Taliban" dont consider Chinese are Kafirz . . . only dirty hinduz , evil Americans and Israeliz are kafirz.
What a jokers republic this nation is ?
"Chinese authorities say that one of the suspects confessed to being a part of the separatist Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement and to receiving training in Pakistan.Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress, an overseas exile group, said that violence is likely to increase because of Ramadan, which many Uighurs observe despite a Chinese ban, according to the Los Angeles Times."
Gen Pasha is not going to cement ties with Big Brother China, but, he has been summoned by the Big Bro to receive some instructions!
ISI chief was actually summoned to china for the pakistan terrorists hand in xinjiang bomb blast.
Compulsive gambling is a curable disease if the Gambler wishes to secure treatment and fully cooperate. Our biggest problem is that We are a compulsive gambler but don't have any wish or desire to be cured even though We lost East Pakistan and now have become so fragile that I worry for Blochistan and North West Azad Kashmir. Our foreign policy must go into civilian hands and constitution must be fully implemented to counter the compulsive gambling habit before going into deeper muddy marshes from where we might not be able to pull ourselves out. Instead of gambling, we should be having balanced relationship with India tilting more towards China and remaining same with USA. If India and USA become strong ally and Pakistan continues to gamble, there can be geographical change like East Pakistan that China can't help to prevent. USA will not be the same in about four years and war against terrorism may shift into Pakistan that a Gambler may not foresee at this time and may loose a huge amount of ‘assets’.
@ Mohammad Khan. We Pakistanis will NEVER unite. So wats the point if we are begging to US or China. Atleast China will not betray like US has done.
How? He could not find OBL. Could not detect the CIA team monitoring OBL. Could not detect fake vaccination programme by CIA in Abbot Abad. Could not foresee Mehran attack and numerous other attacks including on military and ISI installation during his tenure. What exactly is he brilliant at?
Doesn’t China feel being used? Pakistan only goes to China when it is rejected by US? I have a feeling China isn't going to give that much either.
General Shuja Pasha is one of the most brilliant men in Pakistan. If only we had politicians of his callibre.
No sweat brother. Make Pasha COAS and before you can say abracadabra, we can have him as the next President of Pakistan. The beauty of the plan is that it will also ensure total cessation of all aid and interference from US and Europe. How about it buddy?
Though China welcomed the operation most people, including the Islamists involved, blame the USA for forcing the Lal Masjid operation. Why do Pakistani liberals swallow American propaganda hook, line and sinker?
@Frank: Agreed. His brilliance lies in hiding and shielding most wanted terrorists for several years and now China who like India has become the victim of cross-border terrorism which is getting worse, is seeking help from the ISI chief to curb the same during his visit to this country.
@Shuja Pasha: very creative- i like - but loen P would be more weighty to the clarification REQUIRED
Part of the Agenda:
"China blamed Muslim extremists for a deadly attack on Sunday in its northwestern Xinjiang region, saying the assailants' leaders were trained in camps in Pakistan."
Here is the true epicentre of global of Terrorism!
Just google to learn more!
Who could blame him when MI6, US DoJ let terrorist live happily in London.
Pakistan did a good move to reaffirm with her relations with China and Russia. Pakistan, Russia, China, Japan, Indonesia & Sri Lanka should establish some forum to guard their common, economical. Political and military interests regionally & globally. The intelligence agencies of the revealed countries should also enhance cooperation to counter joint ventures of CIA & RAW. U.S. interest of placing India as her regional watchdog in fact is an effort of pushing the world into 3rd world war . Gen Pasha visit definitely will add in improving relations between intelligence agencies of both the countries, which is definitely need of the time.
@Maher: Now u want to live with charity money coming from China
@ Reality Bites: true. It was China that insisted on Lal Masjid operation and we might see a new operation in Waziristan soon.
Something we should have done a long time ago.
You must be talking about East Punjab because in Pakistani Punjab the drone attacks have generated a venomous hatred of America.
General Shuja Pasha is one of the most brilliant men in Pakistan. If only we had politicians of his callibre.
As Pakistanis have some shame, you criticise your country as " Bayghairats". China will never welcome any one until and unless a proper ground work is conducted. Shuja Pasha visit will definately be planned after thorough preparations and there is no need to criticise.
Kamran Yousuf your spin on Shuja Pasha's trip to China is a decoy to deflect attention from reality. The current unrest in Xinjiang is upsetting the Chinese who are slowly coming round to the view that the Islamic terrorism emanating from FATA has dangerous portents. The Chinese strategy of befriending Islamic parties has paid limited dividends and is now suffering from the "law of diminishing returns". They are worked up and worried and will press down hard on the Government to take a tough stand. This can drive a deep wedge between the Establishment and its armed right wing proxies. The situation is unraveling fast and Media Managers are having to work overtime to prevent the decades old false narrative of "friends and foes" from being washed away by the Indus.
After seeing the comments, now I firmly believe that whatever is happening in our country, we well deserve it. Great going guys!
"China said on Monday that extremists trained in terror camps in Pak were behind an attack in the restive western region of Xinjiang that left 20 people dead. "
see times of india China on Monday blamed "extremists" trained in terror camps in Pakistan for orchestrating attacks on civilians in the troubled Xinjiang province, where 20 people, including alleged militants, were killed in violent incidents over two days.
Truth may be a little different. Head Lines in "Dawn" say "Xinjiang attack masterminded by terrorists trained in Pakistan: China" May be like America this time he has gone quietly to explain the hand of his agency in terror attacks in China. No wonder the world shrieks that ISI is the epicenter of all terror on this earth.
Pakistan has always had the ability to purchase Chinese hardware --- and the USA could care less. Pakistan selects USA hardware because it's superior to China's and the USA provide sufficient financial aid to make the weapons free or at a significant discount. .. Pretty clear that the financial aid to Pakistan is going to dry up -- also clear that the USA will probably stop selling hardware and might even stop providing spare parts -- so China's a logical alternative. All you need is cash --- not one bit different than what you have always needed when buying from China.
Looking towards East: Spy chief on a mission to Beijing
When Pakistan will look towards itself ???
Forget US, its time to make China ur real friend.
CIA accomplished its mission to kill Osama Bin Laden.
@PowerPuffGirls: Except, of course, the 'good' terrorists, aye?
there is no CIA secret operation going on in Pakistan. We are a sovereign country and nobody can dare to undertake secret activities in our country. We expel if we suspect anyone of such activities. readers/writers requested to please think positive and dont let the minor incidents put our nation into a state of hopelessness and mayoosi.
“Most people will agree the officer’s role in one of the greatest intelligence victories of all time means this person was pretty darn effective, no matter what the Pakistanis may think.” .. Worth repeating.
@Shahid: I saw many people living in Punjab try to justify the drone attacks and US raids, shame on you people who try to justify the collateral damage i.e. killing of innocents with so called terrorists. Your Uncle Sam is leaving Afghanistan, what ll you do than start calling them freedom fighters, Jihadis....hahahaha
His job is done.
He has returned home with flying colours.
Now someone else will come from CIA but this time he will remain under-cover.
It is up to Pakistani Authorities to check among the new arrivals as who is the new CIA Chief in Pakistan?
The CIA chief should have been awarded "Nishan-e-Pakistan" for helping to eliminate Osama Bin Laden who was Pakistan's No.1 enemy. Thank you, gentleman for your wonderful manhunt campaign for the notorious terror-leader. Wish you best of luck.
@Shuja Pasha: "Clarify Please" If it is not as clear as day light, you will never get it any way!
@Shahid Saeed: Clarify Please
Thank You Mr. Hameed Gull, Aslam Baig, Imran Khan and Munawar Hassan - our brothers 'good terrorists' are safe, the 'bad terrorists' we can fight on our own!