|No proposal under consideration to swap Afridi with Aafia: ISI chief|
01 September 2012
RAWALPINDI: No proposal is under consideration to hand over Dr Shakeel Afridi to the United States since he is facing a judicial process and a three-stage appeal process is also to be disposed of, said Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam here on Friday.
The US Embassy spokesperson, Ms Rian Harris, also said that the United States was not considering a prisoner exchange involving Dr Aafia Siddiqui and Dr Shakeel Afridi. No proposal is under review for swap of Dr Aafia Siddiqui with Dr Afridi and no discussion has taken place with the United States on such a swap proposal, said the ISI chief at the GHQ where Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani hosted a show in connection with the with the Defence of Pakistan Day.
About the situation in Balochistan, the ISI chief declined to respond to a question about the involvement of a specific country in insurgency but insisted that the insurgents are benefiting from the space provided to them by the flawed governance. “The intelligence is always in search of the foe’s weaknesses and especially the space for action,” he reminded.
Talking exclusively to The News, General Kayani disclosed that he would visit Russia this month and schedule is being worked out.
The visit of General Kayani to the Russian Federation is taking place on the invitation of his Russian counterpart and it would be the first visit by a Pakistan Army chief to Russia. General Pervez Musharraf visited Russia in 2005 but in his capacity as the head of the state.
Russia is already cooperating with Pakistan in defence field on limited scale and the visit of General Kayani will open new vistas of cooperation between the two armies. The visit will have added significance, as it would be in proximity of the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin from October 2.
General Kayani said that winter exercises of the army would take place on the usual scale and would be planned accordingly since the exercises keep the troops motivated and enhance their capabilities. He said there is no question of lowering the level of the exercise, as they are essential for the armed forces.
About the country’s nuclear assets, the army chief said that none should worry about their security, as the nuclear facilities are fully safe and nuclear programme would be protected by all means. He parried a number of queries regarding quitting of war on terror and operation in North Waziristan. To a question, he reminded that no one would like to have war and that he has already given his views about the war and so-called operation in North Waziristan.
The DG ISI who undertook his maiden visit to the United States early this month told journalists that his interaction with his US counterpart had been positive and the visit helped in improving ties with the United States. The intelligence sharing has also improved with the United States, he added.
The show that was organised in an interesting manner found major shift of emphasis as it was themed on September 1965 war with India and comparatively brief part was devoted to the ongoing war on terror. The show started with the remembrance of commencement of the war and events of gallantry by the three armed forces of the country.
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