ISLAMABAD - The United States and Britain are against Pakistan's nuclear programme and the CIA uses ‘foreign agencies’ for its operations in Pakistan, Defence Secretary Lt-Gen (t) Asif Yasin Malik has said.
But neither the defence secretary divulged when the US informed them about its sleuths nor did he clarify if their ‘complete information’ was solely based on the list provided by the US, whose behaviour with Pakistan, he said, had ‘changed’ after Salala checkpost attack and subsequent suspension of Nato supplies.
Interestingly, the Lt-Gen declared that no country was allowed to work undercover in Pakistan but he did not tell why then the ‘exposed’ US spies and agents have been operating here. Again he sounded too ambiguous when he said “The CIA also uses the agencies of other countries.” Whether he meant NGOs, media organisations, or some other sort of foreign presence, he did not explain.
General Asif said “There is no formal agreement between CIA and the ISI for secret operations.” He also said 95 per cent of defence policy is made by the three defence services on the basis of mutual consultation, leaving one to assume the civilian government might have been doing the remaining five per cent work.
About possible operation in North Waziristan, the defence secretary said that the operation in the agency could not be successful until sealing off the Pak-Afghan border. He however emphasised that the army has all the capacity to launch an operation in the NWA. He also said that negotiations were going on for the replacement of spy aircraft that were damaged at Mehran and Kamra bases.
Amid ripe speculations that the Army was trying its best to avert any harm to its former bosses involved in 1991 vote fraud, the defence minister said that his ministry had ‘no objection’ if the government took any action against former Army Chief General (r) Aslam Beg and former ISI Chief Lt General (r) Asad Durrani in the light of SC verdict in Asghar Khan case. He however revealed that the ministry has received no communication from the law ministry for implementation of the SC order. When such a letter is received, they would proceed ahead, he added.
About the corruption-hit Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), he said that the airline was in profit since this September- that is for almost past three months. He said that almost 200 employees including four pilots had been sacked for fake educational degrees, and a list of 350 officials has been prepared who were appointed on the basis of fake degrees. He said that no downsizing would be done in the airline on the basis of golden handshake or on any other ground.
The PIA owes a loan of Rs152 billion while its overall deficit is to the tune of Rs192 billion, the secretary said, adding that it suffered a loss of Rs410 million during Haj operation. General (r ) Asif Yasin said that former PIA Deputy Chairman Saleem Sayani was appointed in 2009 at a salary of Rs5 million and his case has been referred to NAB.
“Government is working on a policy to get the PIA out of loss," he said, and added that the PIA would purchase 12 planes including four new A-320 planes and eight small planes. He said an amount of $4.5 million has been released for the purchase of passenger planes. The defence secretary said that of the 34 aircraft fleet of PIA, 28 are operational. He said all the appointments on political basis have been banned and all the pilots and air hostesses would be graduates.