ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has admitted for the first time that his government had made a secret deal with the United States for allowing drone strikes in Pakistan.
During an interview with CNN, the former president said that permission was given, "only on a few occasions, when a target was absolutely isolated and no chance of collateral damage."
This is the first time that any Pakistani official has publicaly admitted to giving permission for drone strikes, despite repeated denials.
In the interview Musharraf said Pakistani leaders would give permission for US drone strikes after discussions involving military and intelligence units and only if "there was no time for our own ... military to act."
Musharraf returned to Pakistan earlier this month to contest general elections, scheduled for May 11, after a self-imposed exile of almost five years.
The former military strongman is fighting a number of legal battles in court, including treason proceedings in the Supreme Court for imposing emergency in 2007. He is also implicated for the murder of Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti and the Lal Masjid case.
Activists from the Jamia Hafsa seminary remove posters of former president Pervez Musharraf from poles in Islamabad. -Online Photo
Meanwhile in Islamabad, Panaflex posters and banners bearing the pictures of Pervez Musharraf were torn by female students of Jamia Hafsa on Friday evening, DawnNews reported.
Scores of females from the seminary ripped apart posters and banners and chanted slogans against Musharraf. They condemned Operation Silence launched by Musharraf during 2007.
Since his return to Pakistan, the former president has been facing scathing criticism from Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa.