Pak to retaliate if US attempts unilateral strike: ISI to CIA

Islamabad: Upset over the "blunt" American assessment about its links with Haqqani network, ISI has told CIA that Pakistan will be forced to retaliate if US forces attempt to launch a unilateral strike on its tribal belt, dubbed as a safe haven for Taliban, a media report said today.

The message was personally delivered by ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha to CIA head Gen David Petraeus during the Pakistani General`s recent trip to Washington, an official familiar with the development told `The Express Tribune` newspaper.

However, the Pakistani military denied the report, saying its contents and remarks attributed to the ISI chief were factually incorrect and misleading.

"Media should refrain from speculative reporting on such sensitive issues related to national security," a spokesman for the Inter-Service Public Relations said.

His remarks came after the daily quoted the unnamed official as saying Pasha had informed Petraeus that "Pakistani people will not tolerate any US misadventure" and the government will be left with no other option but to retaliate if American troops launch a unilateral raid.

Senior ISI members had felt betrayed by US military chief Adm Mike Mullen`s blunt assessment that the ISI had links with the Afghan Taliban-allied Haqqani network, the official said.

Mullen has accused the ISI of supporting the Haqqani network to target US forces in Afghanistan. He called the Haqqani network a veritable arm of the ISI.

The US has been pressing Pakistan to launch a military offensive against the Haqqanis in North Waziristan.