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‘Terror, not India, is Pak’s prime enemy’

world Updated: Jan 08, 2009 01:17 IST
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The head of Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, has told a German magazine his country is fighting terrorism, not India.

“We may be crazy in Pakistan, but not completely out of our minds. We know full well that terror is our enemy, not India,” he told the online edition of Spiegel magazine.

“There will not be a war. We are distancing ourselves from conflict with India, both now and in general,” he said in the wake of November’s terror attacks in Mumbai.

India’s prime minister on Tuesday said the attacks, which killed 172 people including nine gunmen, had the support of “some official agencies” in Pakistan, and accused Islamabad of using terrorism as an “instrument of state policy.”

But according to Pasha, the Indians have failed to provide evidence to back their claims that ISI-sponsored Pakistani groups were behind the terror attacks.

“They have given us nothing, no numbers, no connections, no names. This is regrettable,” Pasha told Spiegel. Pasha said he had been ready to travel to New Delhi to assist in the investigation, but acknowledged that “many people here are simply not ready” for such cooperation.

The general acknowledged that Pakistan had feared India might react militarily following the Mumbai attacks.

“At first we thought there would be a military reaction. The Indians, after the attacks, were deeply offended and furious, but they were also clever,” he said.

Pasha also said that both he and the army chief gave full backing to Pakistan’s civilian government.

“Anyone who does not support this democratic government today simply does not understand the current situation,” he said, speaking of the threat of political destabilisation of the country.