MABAD A top Pakistan military official Thursday told a defence committee that Nato airstrike on Salalah checkpost was deliberate and 'pre-planned, while another parliamentary committee has summoned details of all agreements made with Nato and US.
Director General Military Operations (DGMO) Maj-Gen Ashfaq Nadeem, in his briefing to Senate Standing Committee on Defence said that all evidence shows the November 26 attack in which 24 Pakistani troops were martyred was not only deliberate but the allied military force also tried to mislead Pakistan military regarding the attack. The DGMO told the committee, which met here under the Chairmanship of Javed Ashraf Qazi, that the attack was conducted by US Special Forces and Nato has no control over them in Afghanistan.
After the attack on Salalah checkpost, the Nato officials deceived the Pakistani officer on duty at the coordination centre by giving him wrong information about the location of the operation, he said. It was wrongly informed that Volcano checkpost had come under attack, he maintained.
Moreover, when the concerned Company Commander rushed to the attacked Valcano and Bolder checkposts he saw that Nato helicopters had returned and kept the firing assault on until the two checkposts were completely destroyed, Maj-Gen Ashfaq Nadeem said. The bunkers were specifically targeted and destroyed, he held.
The DGMO further said the pre-planned attack was aimed to strengthen the Taliban because the two checkposts attacked were built to curb militants infiltration and had been serving the purpose effectively. He also said that it is a known fact that terrorists always hide in ditches and cracks and they never come on the mountain peaks, so there must have been no doubt that the men on the peaks were from the Pakistan Army.
The officer said that security forces have been redeployed after rebuilding the Valcano and Bolder checkposts. Pakistani forces cannot afford to leave the area vacant, he added. Officials of Foreign Office and defence ministry were also present during the briefing.
Meanwhile, the armed forces have expressed their dissatisfaction over the inquiries being carried out by the Nato into the attacks on Pakistans border posts in Mohmand Agency.
Officials of the all three armed forces believe that Nato probe into any issue have never yielded results in the past, and there is no reason to believe things will be different this time. Army does not expect the Nato-led inquiry into the last months deadly airstrike to be transparent and did not see any tangible result coming out of the probe that it had refused to be part of, TV news channels quoted armed forces sources as saying on Thursday.
The inquiry, headed by US Brigadier General Stephen Clark, was set up to look into the November 26 cross-border Nato/Isaf airstrike that killed 24 Pakistan soldiers sending Pak-US bilateral ties for a spin, as Islamabad believed the attack was deliberate. Pakistan Army had decided to keep out of the Nato-led inquiry because it did not expect the investigation to be fair and transparent, the military sources said.
Well-placed sources also revealed that the number of coordination centres at Pakistan-Afghan border was also being increased from four to five. The officers posted at these liaison centres, which are used to coordinate activities with US and allied forces in Afghanistan, were previously called back as part of apparent retaliatory steps. These coordination posts are jointly operated by Pakistani, Afghan and Nato forces.
On the other hand, a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security was held under the chairmanship of Senator Raza Rabbani on Thursday to discuss Nato attack and memogate issue.
The committee asked the incumbent government to provide details of all treaties and agreement made with Nato and US as well as inform about any verbal assurances given to the allies in war on terror. The parliamentary body on national security has demanded these details to formulate its recommendations for the parliament.
The meeting also decided to summon Foreign Office and defence ministry officials in the next meeting to be held on December 13 to get first hand information on the two aforesaid issues. It also decided the method of investigation for the memo probe.
After the meeting Senator Rabbani told the journalists: The committee on national security would formulate the recommendations for the parliament and defence minister would be asked to give input on the agreements. To a question about memo muddle, he said that a complete work plan was formulated in the meeting to further proceed on the issue. When asked about the recommendations, he said that it was up to the government whether it tables the recommendations in the upcoming joint session of the parliament or summons a separate session for this purpose. He said that basic direction in the recommendations would remain the same as was provided in the parliamentary resolutions on the subject.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had asked the panel at its previous session on December 2 to finalise recommendations on new terms of engagement with the US, the decision that had been taken by the government in reaction to Nato attacks.
Pakistan and US relations have plunged to lowest ebb of their history after the Nato raid that led to Islamabads boycott of Bonn Conference on Afghanistan future. Pakistan has also suspended Nato supplies to Afghanistan in reaction to the attack.
After finalisation, the committee would send the recommendations to the prime minister, upon which a joint session of the parliament would be convened. The committee had agreed on the joint session of the parliament, but sources said that the matter would again be discussed in the next meeting of the committee following the ailment of President Asif Ali Zardari, who was to address the joint sitting of the two houses but was currently in Dubai for heart treatment.