NYT Osama report ridiculous: Pak military

Last Updated 20 March 2014, 13:56 IST

 Pakistani military today rubbished as "ridiculous" a media report alleging former ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha knew of Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad hideout, saying it was "all speculation".

The allegations are "baseless, ridiculous. Nothing new/credible, all speculations already proven false," Pakistan military spokesperson Lt Gen Asim Bajwa said in a post on microblogging site Twitter.

Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam, too, denied yesterday's New York Times report, saying: "You would have noticed that former Air Force Chief (Rao Qamar Suleman) has also rubbished this report. I may add here that there are many inconsistencies in the article.

"The author herself talks about suppositions from sources with no direct knowledge. So it is not something serious."

Intelligence sources, on condition of anonymity, had also rejected the story titled 'What Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden', adapted from the book 'The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014', to be published next month.

Soon after the US Navy SEAL raid on bin Laden's house, "a Pakistani official told me the US had direct evidence that the ISI chief, Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, knew of Bin Laden's presence in Abbottabad," senior NYT journalist Carlotta Gall wrote in the article.

"The information came from a senior US official, and I guessed that the Americans had intercepted a phone call of Pasha's or one about him in the days after the raid", wrote Gall, who covered Afghanistan and Pakistan for the paper from 2001 to 2013.

The report added that the haul of handwritten notes, letters, computer files and other information collected from bin Laden's house during the raid revealed regular correspondence "between Bin Laden and a string of militant leaders who must have known he was living in Pakistan, including Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a pro-Kashmiri group that has also been active in Afghanistan, and Mullah Omar of the Taliban".

"Saeed and Omar are two of the ISI's most important and loyal militant leaders. Both are protected by the agency. Both cooperate closely with it, restraining their followers from attacking the Pakistani state and coordinating with Pakistan's greater strategic plans.
"Any correspondence the two men had with Bin Laden would probably have been known to their ISI handlers," it said.

Saeed, who is wanted by Indian security agencies in connection with the 2008 Mumbai attacks, also denied the report yesterday.

Bin Laden was shot dead by US commandos in May 2012 in a unilateral raid by them, catching the Pakistanis by surprise.

(Published 20 March 2014, 13:56 IST)

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