Pakistan on Tuesday said the fresh allegations by US officials that ISI ordered the killing of journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad were part of an “international conspiracy” to malign the country’s security forces. “There is an international conspiracy to malign the law enforcement agencies and security forces. (These allegations) are part of that conspiracy,” information minister Firdous Ashiq Awan told reporters on the sidelines of a SAARC seminar.
She was responding to a question about a report in The New York Times that quoted unnamed US administration officials as saying that “new classified intelligence” showed that senior ISI officials directed the attack on Shahzad in an “effort to silence criticism”. Awan did not give any details of the “international conspiracy” that she referred to.
Referring to the current impasse in Pakistan-US relations, she said friendship between any two countries is a bilateral matter and “everybody safeguards their own interests”. She added: “Whenever there is a clash of interests, such things happen”. There had been “ups and downs” in relations between Pakistan and the US but “good relations are in the interest of both countries,” she said.
To a question about the Shamsi airbase in southwest Pakistan that is believed to used by the US for drone flights, Awan said the Pakistan People’s Party-led government has not given the airbase to “anyone” and there was no written agreement on the use of the facility by any party.