ISLAMABAD: Former President retired Pervez Musharraf strongly defended role of Inter-Services Intelligence saying, “the ISI has played vital role in defending country, it carried out proactive policy to nab terrorists and operatives of Al-Qaeda and it is an organisation which ensures formidable defence of Pakistan in an era of ‘operations other then war’. He was speaking to journalists at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport Sunday night before his 10-day visit to China.
He said, “those foreign powers or individuals are now critical of ISI they know it well that same organisation has crushed cells of Al-Qaeda in Pakistan’s main cities and made Al-Qaeda operatives on the run”.
He opposed President Obama’s planned drone attacks inside Pakistan saying, “if the US-led NATO finds any high value target Pakistan government and security agencies be taken into confidence before striking at them.
When he was asked about his reaction to several case to be instituted against him in Pakistan’s several courts, he said, “I am not running away if and when any court calls me I will not hesitate to face courts”.
Responding to a question about Red Mosque Operation during his tenure where a large number of people were killed in July 2007, Musharraf said, “only 93 people were killed and we acted after lot of persuasion to clerics of Red Mosque to give up militancy’.
He said, “I am going to China for 10 days and later I will be visiting United Arab Emirates at the invitation of two countries and I will come back to Pakistan. Referring to recent decision of Zardari administration to reinstate Chief Justice Iftikhar chaudhry, “its the action of present government I will not comment on it”.
Musharraf said Pakistan is facing grave threats from militancy, extremism and terrorism. He said we have to combat these challenges in a strong manner”. When asked will he join politics, he replied, “when you will invite me I will join politics”.