ISI is Pakistan's first line of defence, conspiracy being hatched against it: Musharraf

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Karachi, Aug.4 : Describing the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) as Pakistan's first line of defence, President Pervez Musharraf on Sunday rubbished allegations that it was involved in the July 7 bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, and that it had a role to play in last week's serial bomb blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad.

Addressing businessmen in Karachi, Musharraf said that the people of Pakistan should defend Pakistan against such conspiracies, and warned that weakening the ISI would also weaken the global war on terror.

The Daily Times quoted him as saying that the ISI had "made a fundamental mistake of accepting the demands of the governments".

Musharraf said the whole of Pakistan and not just the security forces should counter terrorism.

"Pakistan comes first," he said emphatically, while assuring the government of his support. He also said he was ready to talk to the Jamaat-e-Islami and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz "for the sake of Pakistan".

Musharraf's defence of the ISI comes even as the government of Prime Minister Gilani has said that it will launch a probe into allegations of the ISI role in the Kabul blast.

The contraindications from Islamabad come even as New Delhi appears to be having suspicions about the present Pakistani government's commitment about reining in the ISI, which has been a power onto itself for nearly a decade.

The clout that the ISI enjoys can be gleaned from the fact that attempts to bring it under the purview of the Interior Ministry last week failed, placing the Gilani Government in an embarrassing position.

ANI

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