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New ISI chief plans Europe visit

Pakistan,Indo-Pak/Pakistan,Defence/Security, Thu, 12 Apr 2012 IANS

Islamabad, April 12 (IANS) The new chief of Pakistani spy agency ISI, Lt. Gen. Zahirul Islam, is planning to visit "some European countries" along with his predecessor Lt. Gen. (retd) Ahmed Shuja Pasha to exchange views with intelligence and military officials on ties with the US and the NATO, a media report said Thursday.


Officials said Pasha will be accompanying Islam to help him with the transition at the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) as the latter familiarises himself with global and regional issues, according to the Dawn.


Experts said that despite the fact that the Pakistani parliament has to take a final decision, Islam was likely to discuss - besides US-Pakistan relations - the issue of reopening of NATO supply routes to Afghanistan via Pakistani territory.


The daily said the issue of reopening the NATO supply route "was being discussed behind the scenes by Pakistan and the US, especially their militaries".


A federal government official said it was more or less certain that the NATO supply will be managed by the National Logistics Cell and Pakistan Railways.


He said the reason for the army's interest in the reopening of NATO routes was the "economic well-being" of Pakistan and Afghanistan in the long run.


Defence analyst Lt. Gen. (retd) Talat Masood said there was nothing unusual in Pasha accompanying Islam.


"Former spy chiefs can assist the new ones, CIA chiefs tend to follow a similar practice. This is not something unusual. They keep a low profile and travel whenever they need to. This trip to Europe is a case in point," he said.


US embassy spokesman Mark Stroh said: "At the moment, every engagement we have with Pakistan is mainly attached with the parliamentary review committee. Once they are done with their recommendations, the US will move forward."


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