New Delhi, Aug 20: Former ISI head Hamid Gul on Tuesday rubbished LeT leader Abdul Karim Tunda's accusation that the spy chief was his handler, saying that they had never met.
"He (Tunda) is lying. There is no truth in his claims. I have never met him," Gul said. Tunda, arrested by Delhi Police on the India-Nepal border on Friday, has reportedly told interrogators that he was once handled by Gul, who headed the Inter-Services Intelligence agency during 1987-89.
Asked why Tunda would have alleged that he had been the terrorist's handler, Gul said, "My name is very familiar in India, it sells very well in India. (Maybe) it's the most familiar name that occurred to Tunda." Gul, who was accused of backing jihadi groups in Jammu and Kashmir and Afghanistan while heading the ISI, claimed he had no links with the intelligence set-up or mujahideen now.
"I talk vociferously and I'm some sort of an opinion maker. I have no other role," he told TV channels. Gul, 76, sought to give the impression that the recent killing of five Indian soldiers along the Line of Control was the handiwork of mujahideen. India has accused Pakistani troops of killing the five soldiers during an attack on the Indian side of the LoC.
Gul also criticised Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, saying he was "too soft" towards India. Such an approach, he said, was "not going well in certain quarters" in Pakistan. Tunda, one of India's 20 most-wanted terrorists, has reportedly said he met Gul in 1995 and was in touch with him over the years.
India has often accused the ISI of backing terrorism against it, a charge denied by Pakistan. Tunda has also said he was in regular touch with Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai attacks.