Pakistan’s top spymaster, during his recent visit to Washington, clearly told his US counterpart that “US boots on Pakistani soil will never be conceded.” Highly-placed sources disclosed to TheNation that “no deal has been struck either between the ISI and CIA or Islamabad and Washington for undertaking a joint operation codenamed as ‘Tight Screw’ in the northwest. “Let me clear two things. First, there is no operation going on in North Waziristan (NW) against the Haqqani Network. And secondly, speculations about joint operation by Pakistani and US-led Nato forces are totally incorrect and concocted,” a senior officer serving in one of the leading intelligence agencies confided to TheNation, requesting his identity not to be revealed because of sensitivity of the matter.
Sharing further details regarding visit of Director General ISI, Lieutenant General Zaheerul Islam to Washington, the officer said that “Pakistan does not support Haqqani Network for their operations inside Afghanistan.”
To a question about the alleged links between the Pak Army and Haqqani network as portrayed in US media, he said, “Are we supporting those who are killing Pakistani troops, innocent civilians, and even religious leaders? This is totally absurd. Pakistan never supported the Haqqanis,” he added.
He also made it clear that Pakistan has always denied using Haqqanis as the surrogate or proxy warriors against US-led Nato forces in the war-torn Afghanistan. About Western media reports that both US and Pakistan had greed to launch joint raid in North Waziristan against Haqqanis, he said, “Such media speculations led to misperceptions among the domestic masses and there is no truth in these fabricated stories”.
However, well-placed sources in the Foreign Ministry said that the visit of DG ISI to Washington worked as a panacea, bringing a significant thaw in the fragile Pak-US relations.
According to another senior official, Zaheer also took up the issue of TTP elements hiding in safe heavens in Afghanistan and involved in orchestrating and executing attacks inside Pakistan with a considerable strength. The ISI chief urged the Americans that the Nato forces must launch operation to eliminate the anti-Pakistan TTP elements.
According to a senior official in the Defence Ministry, the DG ISI during his visit to Washington maintained that Pakistan had offered numerous sacrifices in fighting the war on terrorism and those sacrifices must be acknowledged. The ISI chief also demanded that drone attacks in Fata should be abandoned or drone technology must be handed over to Pakistan since the drone bombing was proving counterproductive, blowing anti-US feelings in Fata in particular and other parts of the country in general. Last week, rumor mongers asserted that Pakistani demands on the core issue of drone attacks in Fata have been over ruled by US counterpart and that Pakistan has not been able to convince the US authorities to end drone bombings, or hand over drone technology to Pakistan or even share target intelligence with Pakistan for engaging through PAF assets.
Some local and international analysts even went on to stress that the idea of strategic depth has also been abandoned by Pakistan under US pressure. When contacted, another top official, familiar with the development, termed the above-mentioned speculations as misleading stating that “this is totally baseless and absurd.” He also confirmed that there was no deal between Pakistan and US to undertake operation ‘Tight Screw’ against Haqqani Network, according to which boots on ground had been accepted by Pakistan, thus allowing foreign troops to operate inside Pakistan. Security and political experts say that since Pak–US ties were spinning from worse to awful, Pakistan’s strategic decision to open Ground Lines of Communication (GLOC) leading up to eventual DG ISI’s visit to Washington worked as a magic potion to ease relations between the otherwise rude allies.
“The visit was very positive as it also frustrated the detractors of Pakistan, spoiling their psychological gimmicks, and wicked schemes to create a negative impact about the efforts of Pakistani leadership against the war on terror.
Interestingly, some political pundits speculated the outcome of the visit predicting that it would hardly bear fruits for Pakistan. Not enough, an impression was created that the visit would end up conceding to all US demands, creating frightening thoughts among the general milieu that Pakistan was going to launch an operation in North Waziristan (NW) under US duress.