DG ISI denies any “foreign conspiracy” in NSC meeting: Asad Umar

Former planning minister Asad Umar has conceded that the head of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency, the ISI, had told the National Security Committee (NSC) that he did not see a conspiracy against the then-PTI government.

The PTI Secretary-General said in a television show Wednesday that, however, the DG ISI did not produce any document in the meeting to support his stance, adding that it was all verbal.

The statement that followed the NSC meeting held on March 31, chaired by then-premier Imran Khan and attended by federal ministers and top military officials, said the committee decided to issue a strong demarche the country in question — later revealed to be the United States — and also notably made no mention of a conspiracy. It did, however, mention “blatant interference” in the internal affairs of a country.

Former prime minister Khan has continued to insist that his removal through a vote of no-confidence was a “regime change conspiracy” due to what he says is his “independent foreign policy”.

A subsequent NSC meeting, chaired by his successor Shehbaz Sharif, ruled out a “foreign conspiracy”, and later press conferences by the DG ISPR Major General Babar Iftikhar clarified that the word “conspiracy” was not used in the March 31 NSC statement.

The NSC meeting in question came after the then premier waved a “threat letter” in a political rally, which he later said contained details of an exchange a State Department official, later purported to be Donald Lu, had with the then Pakistani ambassador Asad Majeed Khan with regard to the vote of no-confidence.

Talking in a TV show yesterday, Asad Umar responded to a question about the ISPR chief’s presser denying a conspiracy, saying the army spokesman had only said the JCSC and all services chiefs were present in the meeting and he did not say what their opinion was.

Secondly, Umar claimed the ISPR chief had said the ISI DG told the meeting he did not see a conspiracy and it was true that he had said said that. But, he said, he did not present in the NSC meeting any detailed report or document to corroborate his finding.

He said there had been no document other than the cipher presented in the meeting. Asad Umar also said that the DG ISPR had never claimed that all the services chiefs also did not see any conspiracy.