Musharraf allowed US drone surveillance, not strikes

Friday, December 3, 2010

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s former president Pervez Musharraf has admitted he gave permission to carry out surveillance by the US drones to trace militant hideouts, but said he never allowed missile strike by the unmanned aircraft.

“Yes indeed, we wanted intelligence, we wanted them (the US) to locate targets,” Musharraf told Express 24/7 television channel.

The former military ruler who came to power after a bloodless coup in 1999, said there was only a “general kind of carpet agreement” with the US and surveillance was allowed on a “case to case basis”.

However, according to the understanding between the US and Pakistan, the method of striking militant hideouts was left to Islamabad, the Express Tribune reported.

“Once we located the targets, we would decide on the method of striking either by helicopter gunship, or commando heliborne force or some other way. But that was a decision which was left to us,” he said, insisting that his government never gave permission for drone strikes.

Musharraf, who quit power in 2008 following the victory of the Pakistan Peoples Party in the general election, has been living in self-imposed exile shifting from London to Dubai. In October, he launched his own party, intending to fight the 2013 general election in his home country.

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