By Ansar Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: The US has given four names of former ISI officials, including Lt-Gen (retd) Hameed Gul, to the UN Security Council to put them on the list of international terrorists.
Government of Pakistan is aware of this move, which is considered here by some as part of an international conspiracy to target the ISI, whose reformation has already been sought by Washington.
The US embassy in Islamabad claims to be completely unaware of this move while the foreign office spokesman also did not come up with any explanation on the matter despite being approached on Tuesday.
However, Lt-Gen (retd) Hameed Gul confirmed to this correspondent that he was included in the list of those four or five former ISI officials whose names had been provided to the UN secretary-general by the US government to be included in the list of international terrorists.
Gul admitted that he had already met the foreign affairs secretary to discuss the issue. A Foreign Office source also told this correspondent that the issue had already been referred to the prime minister’s office but despite the lapse of a few weeks, no decision had been taken by the government so far. It is not clear whether or not Islamabad wants to pursue intense lobbying to stop this thing to happen.
A diplomatic source in Washington, however, told this correspondent that it would not be easy for the United States to get all these names enlisted in the list of terrorists because it would require the consent of the all the five permanent members of the Security Council.
Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Sadiq was contacted on Tuesday to give its response on the matter but The News has not heard anything from his side till the filing of this report on Wednesday night. Off the cuff, Sadiq said he had heard or read about this but was not sure about the case.
The Pakistan embassy in Washington is not in the know of this move. Pak envoy to US Hussain Haqqani, when contacted, said he had no comment to offer as no such thing was routed through the Pakistani embassy.
However, another diplomatic source there confided to this correspondent that the US State Department had formally conveyed to the UN Security Council four to five names of former ISI officials, including Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid Gul, for inclusion in the list of international terrorists under Resolution 1267 of the Security Council.
In such a situation, those enlisted in this list of bad guys will be prevented from travelling outside the country of their residence while their assets would also be monitored and even frozen at times.
Lou Fintor, the US embassy spokesman, when contacted also said the embassy did not know anything about this. He said if this was true, then such a thing would have been dealt by the State Department and taken up directly with the UN there in Washington.
Lt-Gen (retd) Hameed Gul, however, admitted that he was aware of the move but was not sure if the prime minister had taken a decision on the issue. Believing that this is a move to target the ISI, he warned if the government of Pakistan did not protect him and others on the recommended list of terrorists, he would directly write to the UN secretary-general.
He said the government should immediately move to protect the ISI from this indirect attack from Washington. He said the United States and some other Western nations were against him for the simple reason that he did not support their war on terror which, he said, was based on Washington’s greed for energy.
He said the US and its allies in the war on terror had turned the world upside down and had made it far more dangerous than what it was before. He volunteered to present himself before any neutral enquiry commission. He said he also had the option to go to the country’s court of law but hastily added that he did not have trust in Pakistan’s judiciary.
When asked how he had come to know about this, he said, he was informed of this by a highly responsible person, who had personally seen the written US request. He hoped the government would not show callousness towards its own individuals and institutions like the ISI which, he admitted, was the first line of the country’s defence. Therefore, he must be protected from any external onslaught.