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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

DG ISI told NSC meeting he ‘sees no conspiracy’: Asad Umar

Umar, however, said that DG ISI did not produce any document in the meeting to support his claim.

Former planning minister and PTI Secretary-General Asad Umar on Wednesday said the ISI DG had told the NSC meeting he did not see a conspiracy against the government.

According to a report published by The News, Umar said in a television show that, however, Major General Babar Iftikhar did not produce any document in the meeting to support his claim.

Following the NSC meeting on March 31, chaired by then-prime minister Imran Khan and attended by federal ministers and top military officials, the committee decided to issue a strong demarche to the country in question — later revealed to be the United States — and made no mention of a conspiracy. It did, however, mention “blatant interference” in a country’s internal affairs.

Former prime minister Khan has continued to insist that his removal through a vote of no-confidence was a “regime change conspiracy” due to what he says is his “independent foreign policy”.

Read more:US agrees with DG ISPR’s statement on foreign conspiracy against Khan

The NSC meeting in question came after the then premier waved a “threat letter” in a political rally, which he later said contained details of an exchange a State Department official, later purported to be Donald Lu, had with the then Pakistani ambassador Asad Majeed Khan with regard to the vote of no-confidence.

Responding to a question about the ISPR chief’s presser denying a conspiracy, the PTI leader said the army spokesman had only said the JCSC and all services chiefs were present in the meeting and he did not say what their opinion was.

He added that the ISPR chief had said the ISPR chief told the meeting he did not see a conspiracy and it was true that he had said that. But, he said, he did not present in the NSC meeting any detailed report or document to corroborate his finding.

He said there had been no document other than cipher presented in the meeting. Asad Umar also said that the DG ISPR had never claimed that all the services chiefs also did not see any conspiracy.

In an interview with anchor Kamran Shahid on Dunya News on June 14, the DG ISPR had, not for the first time, rejected the conspiracy claim made by Imran, who insists he was ousted from the top office through a US-backed conspiracy with the help of local players.

Regarding the first National Security Committee (NSC) meeting held during Imran Khan’s tenure on March 31, the DG ISPR had said it was attended by top military leadership and the participants were “clearly and in detail briefed by agencies that there is no kind of conspiracy or any evidence of it”.

Read more: PTI again demands judicial probe after DG ISPR claims no US conspiracy

In response, PTI leaders Asad Umar and Shireen Mazari said the remarks were akin to wading into political matters and were more an “opinion” than a fact.

Later the DG ISPR appeared on Hum News, and said “I did not give a political statement. It was a clarification on behalf of services chiefs of Pakistan.”

He reiterated that his explanation about the NSC meeting was a “clarification” and not at all political.

The DG ISPR rejected the notion that his remarks regarding the meeting and its conclusion were “opinion”. “On behalf of the services chiefs, I can tell you [that] this [briefing in the NSC meeting and its conclusion] wasn’t an opinion. It was intelligence-based information and this input was given by looking at the facts.”

This is the reason, he explained, that the subsequent press release about the first NSC meeting had not mentioned any element of a conspiracy despite the PTI being in power at the time. “It can’t be said to be an opinion, it was a proper brief.”

“I don’t think I’ll be talking about this [whole matter] again,” he said.


With input from Dawn