Islamabad, Oct 12(ANI): The Pakistan Government had decided to purchase French Agosta submarines against the recommendation of the Pakistan Navy, the then Naval Chief Admiral (retired) Saeed Muhammad Khan, during whose tenure the controversial deal was struck, has revealed.
In a defamation suit filed against a television channel in the court of district judge, Islamabad, through his counsel, Admiral Khan said that the Pakistan Navy had recommended to the then government in 1994-95 to go for five or six UK-manufactured Upholder submarines, but the then regime, using its discretion, had decided to purchase three Agosta 90 B class of submarines.
"The plaintiff (Admiral Saeed) in his capacity as Chief of Naval Staff did not recommend the French Agosta 90 B Class submarines for acquisition by the Government of Pakistan and had in fact recommended, based on the technical and other investigations carried out by Pakistan Navy prior to 1994, the UK manufactured Upholder submarines," The News quoted Admiral Khan, as saying in his lawsuit.
"The reason for the recommendation was based primarily on the fact that the UK submarines were readily available and had been tested at sea whereas the French Agosta 90 B Class of submarines were yet to be manufactured being prototypes and would have taken years to be delivered. Furthermore, the Pakistan Navy had been offered five and possibly 6 UK Upholder submarines compared to three Agosta 90 B class of submarines for a lesser price," he added.
He disclosed that the recommendation of the Pakistan Navy was rejected by the Ministry of Defence, Government of Pakistan, who decided at their own discretion to purchase the Agosta 90 B class of submarines.
He made it clear that the decision to acquire the French Agosta submarines was that of the Defence Ministry, not the Pakistan Navy, which was only required to evaluate the offered submarines and make their recommendations.
Admiral Khan insisted that he was not involved in the controversial Agosta deal in any manner.
Last year, Admiral Abdul Aziz Mirza had told the newspaper that the then Naval Chief Admiral Saeed Khan had revealed that former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's Defence Minister Aftab Shaban Mirani had clearly indicated to the Pakistan Navy's high command the government's preference for the induction of the French submarines. Admiral Mirza led the Pakistan from October 1999 to October 2002. (ANI)