In what appears to be a mild rebuke, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee indirectly rejected on Tuesday Washington�s critical attacks against the army�s counter-terrorism efforts and said it fully trusted the strategy for fighting militancy. The JCSC, the country�s highest military coordination body, which meets quarterly and sets strategic direction of the armed forces, focused largely on the strained military and intelligence ties with the US, more specifically in the context of White House�s report criticising its campaign against Taliban insurgents in tribal areas and Admiral Mullen�s statement accusing the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of having links with the Haqqani network. The meeting, presided over by JCSC Chairman General Khalid Shameem Wynne, was attended by Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Noman Bashir, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, Defence Secretary Lt-Gen (retd) Ather Ali, Defence Production Secretary Lt-Gen (retd) Israr Ghumman, ISI Director General Lt-Gen Shuja Pasha, Strategic Plans Division Director General Lt-Gen (retd) Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, the director general of joint staff and senior military officers from the three services. Admiral Mullen�s public allegations followed by reports in western media that US officials at Guantanamo Bay considered the ISI as a terrorist or a terrorist supporting entity incensed Pakistani commanders and intelligence personnel, though they did not publicly express those sentiments. The presence of Lt-Gen Shuja Pasha, not a regular member of the committee, was a clear indication of what dominated the discussions. He is reported to have briefed the participants on his talks with CIA Director Leon Panetta during his visit to Washington for sorting out differences between the two spy agencies. A pithy statement issued after the meeting quoted the JCSC chairman as having �expressed complete satisfaction on the operational preparedness and comprehensive strategy being followed by the armed forces to combat the terrorist threat�. It was evident from the statement that Gen Wynne was responding to the latest White House assessment of the war effort against militants, which said Pakistan lacked a clear strategy for combating insurgency. The report also accused the Pakistani military of not being able to �hold and build� areas that had been cleared of militants. A participant of the meeting described the session as a stocktaking plenary. Gen Kayani updated the participants about his talks with Centcom Commander Gen James Mattis, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen, US Chief of Army Staff Gen Dempsey and ISAF Commander Gen Petraeus on difficulties in the relationship. The meeting also discussed operations against militants in tribal areas. At a passing-out parade of the Pakistan Military Academy last week, Gen Kayani said the backbone of militants along the border had been broken. �The forum during the session discussed the prevailing national and regional environment and the challenges being faced by the country,� the official statement said.
By: Dawn News