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'Osama affair embarrassing, I may have apologised'

world Updated: May 08, 2011 20:23 IST
PTI
Pervez Musharraf

Former Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf has said if he had been still in power, he would have apologised to his country on the intelligence failure over the presence of Osama bin Laden near Islamabad and American violation of its airspace.

At the same time, the former military ruler backed ISI chief General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, who is under fire for the intelligence mess, calling him a "most competent officer" and hoped he would continue as ISI chief.

"I may have apologized on behalf of the intelligence agencies because this is a great slip-up, this is a great embarrassment...and then assured the nation that we will investigate and find out how this slip-up occurred and convincing the world that this does involve complicity," Musharraf said in an interview to Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN's Devil's Advocate programme.

Asked about the speculation that Pasha was considering resignation owning responsibility for the intelligence failure, Musharraf said, "He is the most competent officer and I don't think he should resign."

Pasha may quit as the Pakistan government "looks for a fall guy for the bin Laden debacle", unnamed senior officials were quoted as saying on Friday by 'The Daily Beast', a news website affiliated to Newsweek magazine.

Musharraf said the intelligence failure was as big as the one which led to attack on the World Trade Centre in 2001 as well as the 26/11 terror strike in Mumbai in 2008.

"Well as big as maybe Mumbai, as big as 9/11, it is incompetence, yes," he said.

To a question, whether Army Chief General Kayani should accept some measure of responsibility as the defence preparedness and borders were so blatantly violated, Musharraf said, "measure of responsibility comes from, if we go right on top, it comes right from the top to the bottom as I said the detachment commander."

"Let's leave at these things to the enquiry and actions to be taken later," he said.

Asked whether both Kayani and Pasha owe the country an apology, Musharaff said, "Well, I leave it to them to decide."