Pak military dismisses reports of Pasha's resignation

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Islamabad, May 9: The Pakistani military has denied reports that Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha is quitting over the debacle of Osama bin Laden being killed by US forces in the garrison city of Abbottabad and that he travelled to Washington to explain Islamabad's position.

Seeking to scotch reports that Pasha may be made the ''fall guy'' and asked to quit, the military came out with a brief three-line statement.

"Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Maj Gen Athar Abbas has rebutted reports regarding resignation of Director General ISI and his visit to the US," it said.

Media reports had said on May 7 that Pasha, who has come in for criticism for the military intelligence set-up's failure to detect bin Laden's presence in Abbottabad, had gone to Washington to discuss with US officials the episode and its aftermath.

The Daily Beast, a website affiliated to Newsweek magazine, had earlier quoted unnamed officials as saying that the ISI chief "may step down, as the government looks for a fall guy for the bin Laden debacle".

It said Pasha's resignation "was only a matter of time".

An official statement issued on May 5, after a meeting of Corps Commanders chaired by army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said the military admitted its "own shortcomings in developing intelligence on the presence of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan".

It said that "an investigation has been ordered into the circumstances that led to this situation".

However, there were reports that Pasha had embarked on May 6 on a foreign trip to an undisclosed location that was linked to the killing of bin Laden.

At the same time, Interior Minister Rehman Malik made an unscheduled visit to Saudi Arabia and handed over a message from President Asif Ali Zardari to King Abdullah.

The presence of the top Saudi leadership at the meeting between Malik and King Abdullah set off a wave of speculations in Riyadh.

Some observers said the meeting was linked to bin Laden's killing while others were of the view that it is an effort by the US to reset its ties with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in the wake of the Arab uprising.

The post-bin Laden scenario and recent developments were examined at length, the Dawn newspaper quoted its sources as saying.

The two sides pledged to stand by each other in times of need, the report said.


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