Rawalpindi, Mar 25: Pakistan President's Secretariat has refuted the report published in a US magazine, Newsweek, saying that Pervez Musharraf had given his nod to the American forces to carry out air strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas.
The report said that such strikes had been stepped up, as (Pakistan) officials feared that the new government would be hostile to such an offensive.
"The report is baseless and unfounded. No such type of approval has been given to US forces. The US had been informed several times that only Pakistani forces had a right to launch operation against Al Qaeda in the Tribal Areas. We would not allow forces of any other country to launch incursions in Pakistan," the Daily Times quoted presidential spokesman Rashid Qureshi as saying.
Qureshi said that the Pakistan Foreign Office had lodged a strong protest with the US against the recent missile strike in Pakistan. According to the report, a surge in such air strikes had been witnessed since January after a few key US officials, including intelligence czar Mike McConnell, General Michael Hayden, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and Admiral William Fallon, visited Pakistan.
The magazine quoted Bruce Riedel, a retired CIA expert on the region, as saying that a new wave of terrorism inside Pakistan had forced Musharraf and new military chief General Ashfaq Kayani to acknowledge that extremists threatening Americans now also posed a growing threat to Pakistan's internal security.