ISLAMABAD: In his testimony to the memo commission, former Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) director general Ahmad Shuja Pasha has claimed that no military coup was planned in the aftermath of the May 2 raid by US Special Forces in Abbottabad.
“The ISI knows about any revolt in advance, and there was no plan of a coup attempt following this incident,’’ he said in his statement.
Appearing before the commission accompanied by his counsel S M Zafar, he added that the relationship between the military and the civilian government was normal. During the cross examination that followed the recording of his statement, Pasha said he found out about Mansoor Ijaz’s article criticising the ISI’s role through the agency’s media wing. Upon realising how damaging the article was to the agency, he recommended action against it.
“On the direction of Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, I met Mansoor Ijaz in the Pearl Continental Hotel London on October, 22 2011. The meeting continued for four hours,’’ he informed the commission.
Interestingly, the former intelligence chief added that he briefed both the army chief and the president regarding the meeting subsequently. Pasha said he met General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on October 24th last year and President Asif Ali Zardari on November 13.
Pasha also claimed that he had seen the 35 Blackberry messages (BBM) between Ijaz and Hussain Haqqani during his meeting with the former. “I asked him to provide the evidence but he refused to do so,’’ he maintained.
In reply to a question regarding the resignation of former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani, Pasha claimed he was unaware of his (Haqqani’s) resignation.
When questioned by commission chairman Justice Qazi Faez Isa as to why he had not pursued the memo case further, the former intelligence chief said he had briefed both the top military and civilian leadership and had not received any further instructions in this regard.
During the course of hearing, the commission rejected Haqqani’s application requesting his presence be excused due to a heart condition. Haqqani’s counsel claimed that he had to undergo a MRI scan at the American National Institute of Health in the US. The commission asked his counsel why they had not been informed earlier about his medical condition. Justice Isa added that the test could have been rescheduled.
Meanwhile, the commission directed Haqqani to write a letter to BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) to waive his privacy and produce a letter before the commission on Friday (today).
The commission regretted that Foreign Affairs Ministry Director General (USA) Dr Sohail Khan could not furnish complete details regarding the secret correspondence between Haqqani and Islamabad along with the former ambassador’s code of conduct while in office. It directed Dr Khan to produce Haqqani’s contract letter and standard operating procedures (SOP) today (Friday).
The commission also disposed of Yasin Malik’s application which suggested that the case proceedings be forwarded to the Supreme Court. The commission maintained it was still premature to send the case to the apex court.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2012.