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There will be no war with India, says ISI chief

By The Rediff News Bureau
January 07, 2009 15:37 IST
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"There will not be a war" between India and Pakistan, Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, head of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence, told Der Spiegel in an interview. "We are distancing ourselves from conflict with India, both now and in general," he added by way of amplification.

Turning to the evidence provided by India of Pakistan-based outfits being behind the November 2008 terror attacks on Mumbai, Pasha says he has "questions" about what has been given so far.

The Indians "have given us nothing, no numbers, no connections, no names. This is regrettable," he told the German magazine in an interview, in which he alternated between English and 'surprisingly accent-free' German.

He was willing to travel to India to help in the investigations, he said, instead of which he had to stay put at home. "Many people here (in Pakistan) are simply not ready," he said.

Pasha said he expected an Indian reaction to the terrorist strikes. "At first we thought there would be a military reaction. The Indians, after the attacks, were deeply offended and furious, but they are also clever."

"We may be crazy in Pakistan but not completely out of our minds. We know full well that terror is our enemy, not India."

About the perception that the ISI was a rogue agency that was out of the civilian government's control and indulged in its own agenda, Pasha said, "I report regularly to the president and take orders from him." Many may think in a different direction, and everyone is allowed to think differently, but no one can dare disobey a command or even do something that was not ordered, he added.

"It is completely clear to the army chief and I that this government must succeed. Otherwise we will have a lot of problems in the west and the east, political destabilisation and trouble with America. Anyone who does not today support this government simply does not understand the current situation," Pasha spelt out in the interview.

Pasha also denied there was a deal with America, entered into his presence, last November by which the US could fight the Taliban with unmanned drones while Pakistan would protest for the record. "We never discussed that, nor did we agree to it," he insisted. "But to be honest, what can we do against the drone attacks? Should we fight the Americans or attack an Afghan post, because that is where the drones are coming from? Can we win this? Does it benefit Pakistan?"

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