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Reports planted by US, says former ISI chief

Dismissing reports that Pakistan had decided to hand him over to Indian authorities in connection with the investigations into last week’s terror attacks in Mumbai...

Dismissing reports that Pakistan had decided to hand him over to Indian authorities in connection with the investigations into last week’s terror attacks in Mumbai, former ISI chief General Hamid Gul on Sunday such reports were being “planted” by the United States to malign him.

“As far as I know, neither has the Indian Government asked Pakistan to hand me over to them nor has the Pakistan Government agreed to do any such thing,” General Gul, who served as director-general of the ISI between 1987 and 1989, told The Indian Express.

In a December 5 report, The Washington Post newspaper had named General Gul among the three Pakistanis that Islamabad had agreed to hand over to New Delhi.

By spreading such rumours, General Gul said, the United States was just trying to strengthen its “hopeless” case of getting him banned under UN Resolution 1267, also known as the Al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee, which makes it mandatory for countries to freeze the assets of all individuals known to be supportive of Al Qaeda or Taliban, and also ban their travel.

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“They (the US) have formally tried to include my name in that resolution. But you see the charges they have made against me. They are completely ridiculous, absolutely laughable. There is no substance in those charges. The US knows the charges as they stand mean nothing,” he said.

“I am sure the Indians would not have demanded for my interrogation. After all I am retired for almost 20 years now and hold no influence in my country. I know this is coming from (US Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice,” he said.

General Gul said he did not see how Lashkar-e-Toiba, the prime suspect in the Mumbai terror attack, could have carried out such a sophisticated operation. “Very frankly, the kind of professionalism that these terrorists have shown is beyond the capabilities of Lashkar or similar outfits. The sophistication of the operation makes it clear that there was a definite help from ‘inside’,” he said. “As it is Lashkar is banned in Pakistan since 2002. It exists only in the official Indian files,” he said.

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He also warned India against playing into the hands of the US. “We know them better. We have dealt with them for a much longer time. You have started befriending them only now. The US is dying to get Indian forces in Afghanistan. That is why it is courting India.”

First published on: 08-12-2008 at 12:31:07 am
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