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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pakistan army rejects US paper allegations

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, July 9, IRNA -- Pakistan’s chief military spokesman Saturday rejected allegations by the New York Times against the chief of the country’s premier intelligence agency, the ISI and described them as baseless and mischievous.

The Times came up with an editorial which lashed out at the ISI and said it had “become inimical to Pakistani and American interests” and asked President Asif Ali Zardari “to speak out firmly against abuses, insist on adherence to the rule of law and join his political rival, Nawaz Sharif, in pressing the security services to change”.

In an unprecedented attack the newspaper called upon the US government on Friday to use its influence to hasten departure of Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

“It should tell Pakistan’s security leadership that if Washington identifies anyone in ISI or the army as abetting terrorists, those individuals will face sanctions like travel bans or other measures.”

Pakistan’s Military Spokesman Major General Athar Abbas rejected the allegations leveled against the Army and ISI and said in recent weeks the New York Times has continued to publish wild claims presented as news stories on the basis of information supposedly provided by unnamed US officials.

He said in most cases such news reports have quoted anonymous US sources, bringing the veracity of their reporting into question.

Recalling NYT’s apology of March 2004 about some of its coverage of the Iraq war, General Abbas said at that time the newspaper had this to say: ‘In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged. Looking back, we wish we had been more aggressive in reexamining the claims as new evidence emerged-or failed to emerge’.

The Military Spokesman further said: “if the newspaper continues with its vilifying campaign without any concrete evidence, I am afraid at some point it may end up expressing its deep regret the way it did in the case of its Iraq coverage.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30469425

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