WASHINGTON: It is unfair to blame Pakistan’s military and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for the attacks in Kabul. Former president Pervez Musharraf made this statement while addressing a press conference barely an hour after he landed in Washington early Thursday morning.
The ISI is working in Pakistan’s interest, and to counter the RAW tactics in the region, Musharraf said, and urged the Pakistani media to support the intelligence agency.
Regarding allegations of the Haqqani network being involved in the attacks on the US embassy in Afghanistan and the ISI’s support for the group, the former general said, “Haqqani sahib”, alluding perhaps to Jalaluddin Haqqani, “is an Afghan citizen and he had no right to use Pakistani territory for any activities that would harm Pakistan”.
Haqqani should either leave Pakistan and go to Afghanistan, or “if he is there, he should stop going back and forth [across the border]”, Musharraf said, adding that former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani was pro-Pakistan, and had wanted Islamabad to be part of the reconciliation talks. Pakistan, Musharraf said, does not benefit from Rabbani’s death.
In response to a question about Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signing the strategic partnership alliance, Musharraf said that the KGB, Soviet Union and India have influenced Afghanistan for many years.
Accusing former Afghan intelligence official Amarullah Saleh of being anti-Pakistan and pro-India, he said that Pakistan had offered to train Afghan troops, but Kabul had never responded.
The former president said he did not advocate the ISI having a political wing. He also said that the government of Pakistan should not negotiate with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Musharraf said the TTP were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Pakistanis, burning down girls’ schools and “talking to them shows the government’s weakness”. Musharraf also condemned the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad, saying whoever at whatever level was responsible for it, “it was wrong”.
Musharraf dubbed the Balochistan separatist movement “bakwas” (rubbish), saying Pakistan would never break up.
The former army general said he would be meeting influential US senators, including head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Carl Levin, Senator John McCain, Senator Lindsey Graham amongst others, to try and dispel the notion that Pakistan’s army or the ISI were responsible for the Kabul attacks.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2011.