ISI chief to visit India next week

By Muhammad Najeeb, IANS,

Islamabad : Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, chief of Pakistan’s main spy agency, will visit India early next week to discuss the terror attacks in Mumbai. The move follows Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s request to his Pakistani counterpart Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani Friday.

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Officials here said that Pasha, who heads the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was likely to leave for New Delhi Monday but a final decision would be taken after diplomats from both countries finalise modalities.

This will be the first time Pakistan’s spy chief will travel to India in connection with investigation into any terror attack.

Pasha was recently appointed head of ISI by army chief General Ashffaq Pervaiz Kayani, who succeeded former president General Pervez Musharraf as chief of the army staff.

Informed sources here said that Pakistan’s military attaché in New Delhi had been summoned to Islamabad for discussions on the situation in Mumbai, ahead of the spy chief’s visit.

Earlier in the day, Gilani called Manmohan Singh and expressed grief over the bloody terror attack that has left at least 143 people dead.

Gilani denounced the acts of terrorism in Mumbai and assured the Indian prime minister of his full cooperation.

“On behalf of the people and the government of Pakistan, I wish to express our deep shock and sorrow at (the) terrorist attacks in Mumbai,” he said.

Manmohan Singh requested him to send the ISI chief to India to help the investigation into the terrorist strike, the officials said.

Gilani also expressed sympathy on behalf of the people and government of Pakistan with the families of those who lost their dear ones in Mumbai.

He recalled that the Indian prime minister was the first to telephone him after a devastating terrorist attack on Hotel Marriott here last month.

While India has said the terrorists have links in Pakistan, Islamabad has refuted the charge. India has said that the only terrorist to be captured in Mumbai was a Pakistani.

In his address to the nation Thursday, Manmmohan Singh blamed “elements outside the country” for the bloodshed in Mumbai, warning that India will not tolerate the use of territories of its neighbours for such attacks.