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Second Pakistan's intelligence officer leaves for US

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, April 13, IRNA -- Chief of Pakistan’s main intelligence agency is still in the United States and is holding talks with the CIA chief on a proposal to cut number of the American secret agents in Pakistan, sources said Wednesday.

Sources said that another senior officer of the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) has left for the United States to join the agency’s chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, in talks with top American intelligence and defence officials.

Pasha has already held talks with the CIA Director Leon Panetta and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen.

The sources denied local media reports that Gen. Pasha has cut short his visit and has returned to the country.

The ISI and CIA are discussing proposals how to formulate future relationship, which has been strain over the past several months. The sources also dispelled the impression that Gen Pasha has not made any demand, adding that the Pakistani spy chief has gone to the US for discussing important issues.

The sources added Gen. Pasha has gone to the US with some proposals but did not give any information about the CIA-ISI talks.

Strain in the ISI-CIA relationship was witnessed for the first time in November when a US court issued summons to senior Inter-Services Intelligence officials including Gen. Pasha, in response to a lawsuit filed by relatives of two American who died in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, accusing them of providing material support for the 26/11 attacks.

The lawsuit was filed before a New York Court against the ISI and top leaders of militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi, who India considers as the mastermind of the attacks.

Then the arrest of CIA contractor Raymond Davis in the city of Lahore in late January for killing two Pakistanis, badly affected the CIA and ISI ties, which are crucial against the insurgents and war in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s army officers were recently quoted as saying that the CIA-ISI joint operations have been halted after the arrest of Raymond Davis.

Pakistan is angry at the clandestine operations by the CIA and the US, Special Forces in Pakistan and sources said that the ISI chief called for the number and activities of the American officials in Pakistan.

Pakistan ISI chief has reportedly asked the CIA chief to reduce their intelligence operations and drone strikes in Pakistan. Pakistani officials have been quoted as saying that Pakistan wants more than three hundred CIA officials and contractors to leave Pakistan.

Islamabad was furious at a US drone strike in mid-March in North Waziristan tribal region which had killed 44 tribesmen. Pakistan’s army chief, General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani, in a rare reaction had condemned the strike. CIA, which controls operation of the drone aircraft, does not publicly comment on the operation. But Pakistan’s protest had forced the US envoy for the region to express regret over the civilian losses.

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