NEW YORK - The New York Times has alleged that the Inter Services Intelligence during tenure of ex-president general (retd) Pervez Musharraf had established a special desk to handle late Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
The NYT report published on Wednesday stated that the ISI desk ‘was operated independently, led by an officer who made his own decisions and did not report to a superior. He handled only one person: Bin Laden’.
The report citing a Pakistani official alleged that the US had direct evidence of the then ISI chief Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha knowing of Osama bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. The Pakistani official told NYT that he was ‘surprised to learn this and the Americans were even more so.’  “I guessed that the Americans had intercepted a phone call of Pasha’s or one about him in the days after the raid. He knew of Osama’s whereabouts, yes,” the Pakistani official said. According to the official, Pasha had been an opponent of the Taliban and ‘an open and cooperative counterpart for the Americans at the ISI.’
But in the weeks and months after the raid, Pasha and the ISI press office strenuously denied that they had any knowledge of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad.
The NYT report also alleged that evidence recovered from Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad residence revealed regular correspondence with Jamatud Dawa’s Hafiz Saeed and Mullah Omar of the Taliban who must have known he was living in Pakistan. Further allegations in the report state that there were cells in the ISI working against and fighting the Taliban while some cells were supporting them.  Pakistani intelligence sources termed allegations made in The New York Times report baseless, stating that no one was aware of Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts.
Staff Reporter from Lahore adds: Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, terming American newspaper New York Times’ report regarding his links with Osama bin Laden as bundle of lies, said that at a time when his outfit is going to observe March 23 as the revival day of Nazria-e-Pakistan, the US has started baseless propaganda against him.  In a statement issued here on Wednesday, Hafiz Saeed said that the US newspaper’s claim was just rubbish as he had never any link with OBL.
“If the US has any proof, it be should presented,” he said, adding that baseless propaganda on media was a practice of Washington. He said that the US attacked Iraq for having chemical weapons and murdered thousands of Muslims there, but later Washington’s reports proved baseless. When the US claimed of killing OBL, Americans also accused him of having links with the al-Qaeda chief, he said.
At a time when peace talks are in process between the government and Taliban, and JuD is trying to establish environment of solidarity and revive Nazria-e-Pakistan, the US has started baseless propaganda. He asked the US authorities concerned to come up with evidence if they have any.