ISI Chief Unlikely to Get Extension: PPP Leaders

M Zulqernain/Lahore
ISI Chief Unlikely to Get Extension: PPP Leaders
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is unlikely to give another extension to ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha in line with a decision made by the top ruling-PPP leadership, several party leaders said today.

"There is no question of giving a further extension to Pasha if one goes by the state of relations between the government and the military, especially the premier spy agency, since the US raid in Abbottabad on May 2 last year to kill Osama Bin laden," said a close aide to President Asif Ali Zardari, who did not wish to be named.

"Some hawks in the PPP even proposed that the ISI chief should have been sacked in the wake of his role in the memo scandal," the Pakistan People's Party leader told PTI.

He was referring to the controversy over a mysterious memo, made public by Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, which had sought US help to stave off a possible coup in Pakistan last year.

During the memo controversy, which "nearly proved to be the final nail in the government's coffin", the ISI chief's role had been "suspicious", the presidential aide said.

Another PPP leader, who too spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, said though there was an impression after Gilani's recent meeting with the army and ISI chiefs that government-military relations were on the mend, this was not the case.

"Efforts are still on to get the Prime Minister in one way or another. The army's top brass is not happy with him," the leader said.

After Ijaz made the memo public, the ISI chief met him in London to gather evidence about the unsigned document.

Questions have been raised about Pasha meeting Ijaz outside the country without getting approval from the Prime Minister, and some in the PPP believed this was enough to initiate action against the ISI chief.
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