CIA network in Pakistan will worsen shaky ties, US told


ISLAMABAD – Pakistan on Thursday spelt out serious concerns over the current state of the relationship between the two major allies in the US-led anti-terrorism campaign with the presence of a large network of CIA operatives on Pakistani soil at the top of complaints’ list.
Pakistani authorities also warned that a delay in action on the part of Washington to address Islamabad’s concerns could jeopardise the cooperation between the two countries in the fight against terrorism. The list of concerns prepared by Islamabad regarding its present relationship with Washington was handed over to US Central Command (CENTCOM) Chief General James Mattis during his meetings with the top Pakistani military leadership.
General Mattis met army chief General Ashfaq Kayani and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Khalid Shamim Wynne. During the talks, he was told that certain conflicting issues were likely to have deep negative impact on anti-terrorism cooperation between Islamabad and Washington, according to an official privy to the top level defence consultations between the two sides.
“Pakistani generals spelt out the ‘concerns’ in a candid way during the meetings with the US military commander and one of the serious issue that Pakistan wants addressed immediately is the presence of a large number of CIA operatives on Pakistani soil, who are still here despite the settlement the Raymond Davis issue,” said the official.
The official said the American military commander was also apprised about the persistent campaign launched by some among the official quarters in Washington against Pakistan’s anti-terrorism credentials and in that regard the recent report by White House criticising Islamabad’s anti-terror efforts was cited. Pakistani military commanders also talked about the delay in the disbursement of funds by the US for Pakistan’s security forces engaged in anti-terrorism efforts as well as the serious lacking of required military equipment that was supposed to be provided by the US.
They also expressed annoyance over the US bid to put the onus of the failure of US-led foreign troops’ strategy in Afghanistan on the Pakistan Army. Another conflicting matter that came under discussion was that of drone attacks and especially the recent one in North Waziristan that killed scores of innocent tribesmen. As the US military commander was holding talks with the Pakistani generals, Pakistani Foreign Ministry also rejected the fresh criticism of its anti-terrorism fight by the White House dubbing it as “unwarranted”.
Addressing her weekly press briefing, Foreign Office spokeswoman Tehmina Janjua said, “I would like to categorically state that we do not share the assessment of the US,” she said. “Pakistan should not be held accountable for the failings of coalition strategy in Afghanistan.” she said, “All the references to Pakistan are unwarranted,” she said.
“Pakistan has its own means of assessing its strengths and weaknesses in counterterrorism, and it has a clear strategy in dealing with these and other issues,” Tehmina said. She said Pakistan, which has staged several offensives against the Taliban militants, had sacrificed many lives to end the extremist threat.
She emphasised the need for engagement between Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States to address the common challenges. Asked about the current status of Pak-US relations, the FO spokeswoman said both countries were trying to build a relationship based on mutual respect and interest.
ISI chief to reach US on 15th for talks
ISLAMABAD – ISI chief Lt General Ahmed Shuja Pasha will reach Washington on April 15 as part of a high-level Pakistani defence delegation that will hold talks with US authorities on anti-terrorism cooperation and bilateral security and defense relations.
General Pasha is visiting the US along with other security officials on an invitation by Washington to discuss the various aspects of cooperation between Islamabad and Washington against terrorism. He will also apprise the American officials about the prevailing concerns among the Pakistani ruling circles over the current state of relations between Pakistan and the US.
He is visiting Washington in the wake of settlement of a serious row between Islamabad and Washington over the detention of CIA contractor Raymond Davis, who was arrested in Lahore in January for killing two Pakistanis. “General Pasha will also discuss the contentious issue of presence of a large number of CIA operatives in Pakistan in the wake of settlement of the Davis row with the US,” official said.
The government has recently given another one-year extension to Ahmed Shuja Pasha as the ISI chief. Staff Report