The failure was not intentional but I admit that it was a mistake, the ISI Chief said during the in-camera joint sitting of the Parliament that was briefed by security and intelligence officials against the backdrop of the US unilateral assault in Abbottabad on May 2. Pasha said he considered himself answerable before the parliament and people. Parliament is supreme and I am feeling relieved after presenting myself before it, he said, adding that he had made up his mind to resign after consulting his family but was stopped from doing so by the Army Chief.
Parliamentary sources informed TheNation that during the briefing the MPs blew hot and cold and came up with cutting queries to the Military leadership on the Abbottabad fiasco and unabated drone attacks but the Air Chief and ISI DG patiently listened to them and informed that although it was intelligence failure but at the same time the countrys Armed Forces were fully capable to defend the countrys frontiers and the nuclear assets of the country were completely safe under an impeccable and fool-proof security apparatus.
All the services chiefs, AJK Prime Minister and chief ministers of Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa, Balochistan and Sindh were present during the briefing. However, due to some other pressing engagements Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif could not attend the Joint Sitting of the Parliament.
Before the formal briefing to the MPs by Vice Chief of Air Staff and DG Military Operations on the Abbottabad Operation fiasco, the Prime Minister in his introductory remarks made it loud and clear that countrys defence was in safe hands and armed forces were fully capable to defend the territorial frontiers of the country.
He assured the MPs that they would be satisfied on the clandestine US operation in Abbottabad and all their queries on the issue would be responded by the military leadership of the country. The PM said both the political and military leadership was on same page regarding the ongoing operation against the militants and all the policies would be formulated keeping in view the national interests in mind.
Later, the ISI chief in his briefing said the US used stealth technology on its helicopters that could not be detected by the radars. It was due to the technological superiority that they managed to get in undetected. He said it was informed that fully armed US aircraft were ready to react to any Pakistani reaction.
Acknowledging that ties with US have hit rock bottom, Pasha asked the Parliament to discuss Pak-US relationship threadbare and come up with a national policy how to go about it. After Raymond Davis issue, the relations between the two countries were affected while the US action in Abbottabad further aggravated the situation.
The DG ISI presented himself for full accountability before any forum and said if there was any negligence or intentional failure, he was ready to face the consequences. He, however, said it was also the responsibility of the provincial government, the local police and related agencies to have information about the al-Qaeda chief. We are, of course, not shying away from our responsibility, but all must share their failure, she quoted the DG ISI as saying.
He also pointed that some members of the political parties were criticising the Pakistan Army and countrys intelligence services and said it would go against the national interests and strengthen the enemy. Pasha said investigation from Osamas wife had been carried out, which revealed that bin Laden had been present in the Abbottabad compound for the past 5 years but he (Osama) did not come out from there for even once during this time.
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman in reply to volley of questions as to when the drone strikes will end, said drones entering Pakistani air space would be struck down if such orders were issued. To a question about the Shamsi Airbase, the Vice Chief of Air Staff informed that the Pakistan had leased out land of Shamsi Airbase to United Arab Emirates and they had constructed it and was in their use. The Government was fully empowered to cancel the lease. Earlier before the briefing to meet the constitutional requirement the house adopted a resolution to declare it a committee as under the Rules of Business only President of Pakistan and heads of states of foreign states could address the Joint Sitting of the Parliament.
Similarly, the session, which stretched beyond nine hours and entered into next day the Deputy Speaker of National Assembly adjourned the session for a few minutes to meet the legal and constitutional obligations that a session could not continue into second day at a stretch.
In a quick chat with media persons, Federal Minister for Information Dr. Firdous Ashif Awan said that DG ISI had 'surrendered before the Parliament but as soon as the news was aired on the local TV channels she had quickly ate his words back and said that she was out of context quoted by media persons.
Dr Firdous urged all the political forces of the country to foil attempts of the enemies of Pakistan who were trying to create a wedge between the nation and armed forces. They should be assured that they were not alone and the whole nation was behind them, she said.
Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani left the in-camera session at the conclusion of the briefing and did not attend the question/answer session.