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Report reveals Pasha’s admission of Pak-US 'understanding' on drones

Published Jul 09, 2013 10:26pm


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Ahmed Shuja Pasha, who headed Pakistan's premier Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency at the time of bin Laden's killing in 2011, told investigators that drone strikes had their uses. – File Photo
Ahmed Shuja Pasha, who headed Pakistan's premier Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency at the time of bin Laden's killing in 2011, told investigators that drone strikes had their uses. – File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan reached an understanding with the United States on drone strikes targeting Islamist militants and the attacks can be useful, according to leaked remarks from a former intelligence chief.

Pakistan publicly condemns US missile attacks on Taliban and al Qaeda operatives as a violation of its sovereignty, but the new revelations are the latest sign of double-dealing in private.

They come in findings of a Pakistani investigation into how al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden evaded detection for nearly a decade, which were published by the Al-Jazeera news network Monday.

Ahmed Shuja Pasha, who headed Pakistan's premier Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency at the time of bin Laden's killing in 2011, told investigators that drone strikes had their uses.

“The DG (director general) said there were no written agreements. There was a political understanding,” the report said.

The Americans had been asked to stop drone strikes because they caused civilian casualties, but “it was easier to say no to them in the beginning, but 'now it was more difficult' to do so,” it quoted the former spymaster as saying.

“Admittedly the drone attacks had their utility, but they represented a breach of national sovereignty. They were legal according to American law but illegal according to international law,” the report quoted the ISI chief as saying.

He also confirmed that Shamsi air base, in southwestern Pakistan, had been used for US drone strikes against people in the country.

Pakistan ordered US personnel to leave the base after botched US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November 2011.

His interviews also laid bare extraordinary levels of distrust between Pakistan and the United States, particularly in 2011 when relations plummeted over the US raid that killed bin Laden and a CIA contractor who shot dead two Pakistanis.

Pasha said US arrogance “knew no limits” and accused the Americans of waging “psychological warfare” over the whereabouts of Taliban leader Mullah Omar and bin Laden's successor Ayman al-Zawahiri.

He quoted a US intelligence officer as saying “you are so cheap... we can buy you with a visa,” and said himself that systemic failures showed Pakistan was a “failing state”.

The Pakistani report condemned the US raid as an “American act of war” and said the military should have responded much more quickly to a three-hour operation, 100 miles inside its territory.

It was Pakistan's “greatest humiliation” since East Pakistan seceded in 1971, it said.


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Comments (67) Closed

Haider Jul 09, 2013 11:02pm

Pakistanis should be thankful to US for using drones attack against their biggest enemy TALIBANS.

Gibbs Jul 09, 2013 11:04pm

So now doesnt it mean that the ISI & Army is RESPONSIBLE and equally ACCOUNTABLE for the civilian killings that occured due to INITIAL drone attacks.
Soon they will also agree that OBL was sheltered by them. Who all ate and digested the $$$ that were paid to track him?

Hasnain Haque Jul 09, 2013 11:09pm

Nothing is surprising about the failures in Pakistan Administration, the ISI, double dealings and so on. When you depend on handouts, take bribes and sell your soverignty, sole and dignity which the Pakistanis have then nothing good should be expected.

Tahira Jul 09, 2013 11:11pm

It appears telling the truth at any level by any person at the appropriate moment is forbidden in this notorious so-called Islamic republic.

TKhan Jul 09, 2013 11:11pm

Things that have been held together with lies eventually come apart easily.

Qamar Jul 09, 2013 11:28pm

There is no one at the top who is worried for the security and well being of Pakistan. Generals are focused on their promotions, plots, and post-retirement benefits, politicians are busy identifying new opportunities for making quick money for themselves, bureaucrats are busy in collecting bribes, judiciary (except for higher courts) is busy protecting criminals in exchange for money. General public is busy with their daily lives and are indifferent to whatever damage is being caused to the country.

So, who will take care of the country??? Apparently, no one!!!

asfi Jul 09, 2013 11:35pm

Wow how easily military is blamed. PAF didn't respond at all and instead COAS had to face the wrath of everyone. I wish people know that military's has nothing to do with such kind of operations. PAF chief should have been asked as to how Pakistan's sovereignty was challenged and our Air Command failed to respond.

Rez Jul 09, 2013 11:43pm

I wonder what the Kiyani Brothers have to say about this ? Beware my fellow readers you would be hearing this term a lot very soon.

Muhammad Roshan Mahsood Jul 10, 2013 12:32am

The revelation of such facts has become Pakistani generals common habit after their retirement. Whey General Shuja Pasha had not taken serious action against drone when he was a serving intelligence chief. He should feel ashamed on releasing such statement after retirement .Shuja Pasha and General Shahid Aziz were both stooges of Musharraf but now are showing themselves innocent. If all such Generals are brainwashed in Sandhurst , then how can they take action against American drones. Our beloved country does not need any more such General for defense. We can defend our country more vigilantly than such Generals.

IBN-E-ASHFAQUE Jul 10, 2013 12:49am

The state of Pakistan has systemic governance failiure. It requires the involvement of all stakeholders for systemic improvement of governance. Band aid remedies such as the CM or the PM intervening to do justice will not work nor making populist projects such as new bus service will go any far. Governance will require sharing the economic pie with all stakeholders. Some degree of social justice and inclusiveness. With daily killings of Pakistani citizens in KP, Baluchistan and Karachi going unabated, and NS not moving to do any systemic change in governance even after 30 days in government. NS has got it wrong its not the economy stupid it is governance that should be the first priority.

Khawar T khyam Jul 10, 2013 12:53am

That is why military rule is bad. Individuals makes decision and they are not answerable to any one. But the present Govt is not doing any thing solid to stop this violation. This Govt should raise this issue on international forums. Why not going to UNO .

Atif Malik Jul 10, 2013 01:07am

Every one knew that drones attack only with the consent of Pakistani Govt as without consent they can't fire in your territory, But surprising fact is this that in retaliation they TTP or whatever never attacked American installation or on American citizen rather they always hit our Armed forces and innocent MUSLIMS in Masajid and Imam bargha. This behavior is quite strange

Gul Jul 10, 2013 01:16am

Are there any more drama that we did not know?

SUL Jul 10, 2013 01:22am

what left in the report that will publish next plz???

muzammil ullah khan Jul 10, 2013 02:34am

The American remark about our cheapness is telling but true ! I have always maintained that we lack character particularly in higher echelons !

Vikram Jul 10, 2013 03:02am

Shalaam saab.

Any thing fro the right price......

Ali Jul 10, 2013 04:02am

Why Iftikhar Chaudhry does not take duo motto? Why he only sends poor to jail?

aditya Jul 10, 2013 04:03am

No..the greatest humiliation is being Pakistani

San Jul 10, 2013 04:17am

I 100% agree with last sentence that it was Pakistan's " Greatest Humiliation" since 1971 war.

Satyameva Jayate Jul 10, 2013 04:52am

Irrespective of how some others may react to it, the fact is the Rest of the World agrees with this:

Riaz Murtaza Jul 10, 2013 05:01am

It is very clear that it is a total failure of the Pakistan government and its intelligence agencies. It is a serious matter and something has to be done immediately. It was a big humilation for the country.

Imran Hussain Jul 10, 2013 05:05am

Humiliation! What is it? We do not have any word in our language(s) that could even come remotely close to that (pun intended).

B Jul 10, 2013 05:25am

Hahaha!! Now, why is this not surprising?!

Usman Jul 10, 2013 06:42am

At least someone has the integrity and guts to say the right thing. Our corrupt politicians will never admit to this, that they have the blood of their own countrymen on their hands.

Akhtar Jul 10, 2013 07:44am

Close the US embassy in Islamabad, symbolically and organized public protest, droen would be stopped

dr vimal raina Jul 10, 2013 08:28am

ab bolo.

Jon Jul 10, 2013 08:52am

The US counterpart was wrong in saying that "you guys are so cheap that we can buy you with a visa". This dude is in a disillusion. Yes, Pakistanis like most of the 3rd world country dwellers want the visa to US and will say things initially to get it that they may NOT other say. Once they become accustomed to this country, most of them find out the hollowness of this USA society and always want to pump their earning back in their country. So in other words, they will make Hay while the sun shines as most of logical humans will but USA doesn't have the values or culture to entice them enough to want to be buried in this country or sell their motherland. It is purely an economic decision.

Khan Jul 10, 2013 01:20pm

US intelligence officer is right "we are cheap and we are ready to sell ourselves for US visa" I have a serious doubt that we still control our strategic assets. Lets not fool ourselves with sentimental slogans about our security, how come foreign forces intruded 300 kilometres inside Pakistan ? Can anybody answer this? It's not possible without support from Pakistan armed forces full stop..

Sajid Jul 10, 2013 04:31pm

@Satyameva Jayate: Not all can be bought. Every nation has cheap people. On the contrary, we need not to lose sight of people who have laid their lives for their country

bilal Jul 10, 2013 04:59pm

USA was correct. Pakistani army generals and politicuans are cheap people and can easily be bought. Lucky for the US, these people also are suffer and dumb and can easily be shepherded like a herd of sheep.

I'm against usa's criminal drone strikes, but Pakistan has no legs, footing, and is a bribery and nearly a failed state. Down with corrupt and incapable pak army, airforce, navy, and sold generals and politicians.

Muslim Khan Jul 10, 2013 05:03pm

@Akhtar: That will be a possibility only when people like you and me and very substantial section of our population become more (quality-) educated , ,productive , and honest .We should have a little more of "down-to-earth" objectivity . With our refusal to live within our (national) means/resources and the begging bowl eternally in our hands , your advice to close down the American embassy sounds like a meaningless dry joke ,at best.

Why do you expect the outside world to take us (you) seriously ???

Sadaqat Jul 10, 2013 05:25pm

@Usman: Who had been controlling matters relating to the security ,financial resource distribution, the core foreign affairs matters etc in the state of Pakistan in the past few decades, in your opinion? ; the politicians ? Are you joking ; with whom? People know better. We, surely had ample instances of corrupt people reaching the pinnacle o.f political power. But corrupt people also reached the top layer of most of the substantial and value-able sectors of Pakistan life;isn't it ?

mazher Jul 10, 2013 05:44pm

Even Queen of England want to sleep with the USA, this is all Bussines, the person who said, that we are doing this for Visa have no idea. Pasha/Kayani are Pakistani hero's, if you do not know this, then you are not supposed to know, end of story, just live your life, if you live in Pakistan, keep low profile

Ahmed Jul 10, 2013 05:49pm

What I find so interesting in this whole facade of the last few days is that we as Pakistani's have a very short memory span (I guess its all human beings as well). I mean this Osama episode happened a couple of years ago and we were talking about all this humiliation and incompetence and then totally forgot about it in a couple of months and all our talk show showmen forgot about it and now this report comes out and we are again talking about the same old humiliation, arrogance and blah blah! and thats what we'll do talk talk and then talk some more and forget about it. I think we have this mental fatigue that we know the state of affairs of our country because we witness and live them on a daily basis so the commission findings don't come as a big shock to us and we say sub-consciously that "Thats Pakistan". In a country where there is no accountability, there is lack of justice, there is intolarance and hate towards ones own, there is a people seeking foreign passports, its no wonder that any foreign power will take advantage and have no respect for the inhabitants. There is a great quote from a movie apoclypto "... a great civilization is not destroyed from without until it has destroyed itself from within". We need to drive change as individuals: stop at traffic lights, respect lines, open doors for each other, smile at one another every once in a while, listen to each other; these small changes will have bigger consequnces for us as a nation; these small changes build character, respect for each other, respect for rule of law, individual and collective responsibility. We need to be the change drivers and not whine about what reports have to tell us about ourselves ... that we already know.

mazher Jul 10, 2013 06:02pm

@Satyameva Jayate: India use to be friend with USSR and then since 1988 on when US offering in IT field Change side, Pakistan is paying the price, my advise, get out of india next 10- 15 years, it is all bussines. Big brothers are playing, been to India may be 100 time or more, one day in Pakistan is better the 100 day's in Iindia,

Malik Nawaz Asghar Jul 10, 2013 07:09pm

Where is Mr. Pasha now a days ?

ish Jul 10, 2013 07:59pm

"It was Pakistan's

RK Jul 10, 2013 08:02pm

So, does that mean the officials or politicians who allowed the Drones to be launched from Pakistani soil will be held accountable for treason? Or was that a national policy then and not now? Dawn is not publishing any thing about this

M AHMAD Jul 10, 2013 08:16pm

We Pakistani only migrate for economic reason otherwise we are not cheap-Ha HA

yasir Jul 10, 2013 08:30pm

v accept every fault of us but to me most weird thing is why these people dont speak out the truth once they are at a lucrative seats / appointments, the moment they are out of there offices they ooze out every odd thing happening in the country; once they cant do any thing to rectify that!!!!

Ahmer Jul 10, 2013 09:44pm

Pasha has revealed nothing new. Everyone knew this despite vehement denials by FO.

imtiaz Jul 10, 2013 11:47pm

after this admission he should also be tried for treason, he equivalent to gen Niazi, gen yahya, gen musharaf.

Goody Jul 10, 2013 11:49pm

@mazher : India is still friends with Russia. USA needed india for it's IT power so it became friends. Now we export knowledge and technology unlike what you export, terrorism n towels ! Enjoy your one day in your country ... Then RUN

Goody Jul 10, 2013 11:52pm

@mazher : Your Pasha allowed drones to launch from ur soil to attack your own citizens Kayani allowed a foreign invasion for 3 hours, his men were killed in a border attack ... What did he do? Be proud of better things

silly billy Jul 10, 2013 11:56pm

Of course the top brass knew of the raid, US could not take chance of losing lives of their SEALS and failure of mission whose success was critical to Obamas' election victory. 3 hours they were here and military and PAF could not act ???? They did not want to.

imtiaz Jul 11, 2013 12:14am

@asfi: PAF was getting American hardware, for osama they were least bothered and should not be bothered. army is to be blamed, as ISI is under their control. Pakistan army was hiding osama, gen butt say the osama home was near the Kakol acadamy, this area was given security clearance every year during passing out parade. they can miss a foreigner and international fugitive, only if you know.

Babbarsher Khan Jul 11, 2013 12:48am

gopal Jul 11, 2013 01:30am


Please do not have day dreams. Once US aid is stopped, Pakistani rupee will touch the floor.

Nima Jul 11, 2013 03:54am

@mazher : It is an irony that you keep wearing the Mulla-Glasses, India was and is not pro-USA it will always be pro-Russia. Its USA which had Pro-Pak leaning that has changed to pro-India. Look for the reasons n u will find plenty. Rest when u talk about "business n sleeping" i hope u read the papers and know where ur PM has gone n what IMF has given you. So who slept with whom in that case?

shirin Jul 11, 2013 04:15am

@mazher : people will do ANYTHING for a VISA. That Idiot is right.

TamzaK Jul 11, 2013 04:29am

@mazher : I just spoke with a prominent professor who has been all over the world teaching at universities (workshops, and exec education). After is first trip to India (Bombay-Mumbai) earlier this year, he told me "never again". "It is so filthy I cant understand how anybody can visit there."

TamzaK Jul 11, 2013 04:36am

@mazher : Are you sure Pasha -Kayani are NOT US 'green card' holders? Ayub Khan was on the CIA payroll since 1950. Who can we trust.

Tojo Jul 11, 2013 06:03am

Dawn must not twist the words of the ISI Chief and must correct its headline. There is no admission of any understanding. All he is stating is a fact which is "that drone strikes had their uses."

GURDIP BAWA Jul 11, 2013 09:25am

@Akhtar:"Drone;not "Droen" !!!

AR Khan Jul 11, 2013 11:55am

@Qamar: In case you are ignorant of the facts, Pak Army is fighting a tense battle in FATA for last 5 years. They have lost around 21,000 brave sons of soils defending the motherland and have effectively contained spread of militancy and terrorism. They deserve our support and acknowledgement.

shabbzz Jul 11, 2013 01:25pm

@Akhtar: Who will do it ??? Thats a million dollar question?? Ordinary people like you and me cannot motivitate masses. So it means someone who has roots in masses has to initiate this protest !!!! Nest question is What will happen afterwards ???

shabbzz Jul 11, 2013 01:25pm

@San: next one is coming soon. After wards we will 'this is the next biggest humiliation after 1971" This is not gonna stop

VGP Jul 11, 2013 06:45pm

@mazher : I suggest you stay back in Pakistan than coming to India again, and get blasted out of this world. Good luck

Shri Jul 12, 2013 08:58am

@TamzaK: Whats stopping professor in coming there then? It seems he is not justified as professor....Just wondering how he becomes professor...Professor means wisdom..a person has capability to understand issues n present good ideas to implement it...Probably he is Islamic professor....

Tojo Jul 12, 2013 09:22am

Some comments posted by a few people on the subject are misguided and unintelligent. At best they can be described as being "pathetic", "childish", "misguided", "immature" and cheap "digressive gossip". There is no healthy and intelligent comment, or any semblance of logic. Instead it is either attacking character and personalities of individuals, or the Pakistan Armed Forces. The blame for any failure lies solely on all Pakistanis (a) for either electing wrong candidates to govern, or (b) harbouring and allowing the terrorists and enemies of Pakistan to live among them, mostly knowingly and other times, unknowingly. Before criticizing and finding faults in others, it is necessary to ask yourself, 'what are you doing for your country?' and not what your country is doing for you. It's very easy to blame the establishment. Think hard the next time you slander and insult your leaders in the civil and armed forces. it's time for Pakistanis to "really grow up". The World has changed around Pakistan and is likely to change even more. Then again, isn't this the Holy Month of Ramadan where each Muslim is supposed to forgive others and be tolerant of each other? You will be surprised that some of us who are not Pakistanis are quite fond of Pakistan, and perhaps know a little bit more of your wonderful religion than most Pakistanis who have nothing better to do than keep on destroying the strongest and greatest Muslim State in the World. What God gives, He can take it away also. Remember this. Spread the message of goodwill, peace and brotherhood. Take care of your country by keeping your mind open.

illawarrior Jul 12, 2013 10:36am

@shirin: Did he mean an immigration visa or a visa credit card?

Ashok R.Prabhu Jul 12, 2013 11:28am

The Revelation by Pasha Sahab is not a secret at all :the whole world knows that the drone attacks were started at the concurrence of Gen.Pervez Musharraf Sahab who was then the president after talks with US President Bush who bluntly told him "Either you are with us or against us". As long as the Drones are liquidating the Terrorists alone,there is no point in trying to stop these attacks.

gary Jul 12, 2013 12:28pm

General Hamid Gul says OBL was a Muslim hero and he was proud that his country was able to hide him from american eyes for nine long years.

It is people like Hamid Gul will destroy Pakistan. Always on a fighting mode, even though they get all their arms from USA, he publicly threatens USA. There are many videos on youtube about his rantings.

Americans should arrest this man. He is worse than a terrorist as he instigates them , which is even worse.

shafiq Jul 12, 2013 04:27pm

@AR Khan: Tell that to our Army Chiefs to come out of their air-conditioned cars(mostly gifts from USA) and learn to care for our brave foot soldiers. Why should that many soldiers die on their home soil ? Is it not an old adage true, "the lions led by donkeys". You can not have that kind of disaster if the Generals had any idea of the pain suffered by families of the soldiers after the bread winner is dead.

Mukesh Jul 12, 2013 06:18pm

There is no way US can fire drones inside Pakistan without a go-ahead from Pakistan army, if not - why do the Pak army not shoot down the drones when they enter Pakistan's airspace.

After all its the job of army to protect its citizens from any external threat.

Mohammad Bajwa Jul 12, 2013 06:38pm

We should be grateful to General Pasha for such an honest statement. I would support any action which reduces the deaths of our soldiers. Civilians should avoid living close to terrorists hideouts.

K Jul 12, 2013 10:21pm

@gopal: Funny, Pakistani Rupee was doing better before this inflow of aid. And the aid is the root cause of many problems. Its withdrawal is the best for the people of Pakistan.