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ISI not supporting militants, says Qureshi

world Updated: Mar 23, 2009 16:16 IST

PTI
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Pakistan's present military leadership is "very supportive of democratic dispensation", the country's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has claimed and denied that intelligence agency ISI supports militants.

"I can speak with confidence of the present leadership of the ISI. I have worked closely and am working closely with (ISI chief) Gen (Shuja) Pasha. I think he is very clear where the interests of Pakistan lies. And I can tell you he's not soft on extremists or militants," Qureshi said.

But the foreign minister said he could not vouch for the ISI's links with militants in the past as "I was not interacting with them."

On apprehensions of a military take over in the country days after Pakistan almost turned back from the edge of a political strife, Qureshi in an interview to ABC News said the present military leadership is "very supportive of democratic dispensation".

"I think what we have in place is a thinking General (Asfaq Pervez Kayani) who understands the challenges Pakistan faces, who understands the economic challenges we face, who understands the challenges of governance that we face, who understands how civilian institutions over the years under a dictatorship had weakened and why we need to strengthen them again," he said.