World News

Pakistan passed potential attack info to Israel

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - The head of Pakistan’s spy agency said he had contacted Israeli officials to head off potential attacks on Israeli targets in India, according to an October 2009 U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks.

According to the whistle-blowing website, Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, told former U.S. ambassador Anne Patterson he had been to Oman and Iran “to follow up on reports which he received in Washington about a terrorist attack on India.”

The conversation took place almost a year after the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba killed 166 people in a series of attacks in Mumbai. India has accused the ISI of being directly involved in the attacks, an allegation denied by Pakistan.

“Pasha asked ambassador to convey to Washington that he had followed up on threat information that an attack would be launched against India between September-November. He had been in direct touch with the Israelis on possible threats against Israeli targets in India,” the October 7, 2009 cable reported.

“He said he would meet his Indian counterpart any time ... He emphasized that ISI was doing everything possible to reduce the possibility of an attack on India.”

A senior ISI official told Reuters the cables were being quoted out of context and the agency was doing its part in the war on Islamic militancy.

“We are committed to fighting this menace and we will go to any length to make the world a safer place,” the official said. “And it may be highlighted that ISI has never established any contacts not authorized by the government of Pakistan and which were not in the interest of Pakistan.”

Pakistan, a conservative Muslim country, has no diplomatic relations with Israel. Pakistani media routinely rail against Jews and Israeli plots.

Contact between the two countries would anger Muslim militants waging a campaign to topple the government.

Editing by Andrew Dobbie