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October 10, 2001
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'ISI chief sacked because of over-ambition'

K J M Varma in Islamabad

Deposed Inter-Services Intelligence chief Mahmoud Ahmad had prevented Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf from visiting Kandahar to prevail upon Taleban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar to close down camps run by terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, media reports said on Wednesday.

The News said Ahmad became a victim of his "over-ambition in the glory of the powers he was enjoying as Pakistan's super spymaster".

Quoting sources, the daily said he had made hasty moves to outmanoeuvre his seniors to grab the coveted office of the vice chief of army staff and prevented Musharraf from visiting Kandahar to hold a one-to-one meeting with Omar.

"He argued that the president should travel to Kandahar only after the ISI had prepared the ground for him" and managed to prevail upon Musharraf to approve the visit of Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider, the newspaper said.

Ahmad thereby blocked an opportunity for Musharraf to hold talks with Omar for a resolution of the Afghan problem, bringing the Taleban in the mainstream and tackling the issue of terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, it said.

Ahmad appeared to be in a tight spot ever since his visit to the United States last month where he reportedly snubbed some American military and civilian officials in a closed-door meeting held to analyse the situation emerging out of the September 11 terror attacks.

"He was probably over-confident after his visit to the US where he met important officials from the Bush administration," the daily said.

But the crunch came when Ahmad stepped up pressure on Musharraf to make him the vice chief of staff. He even rejected the post of the chairman of joint chiefs of committee offered to him.

"Instead of taking the offer in good faith, Ahmad thought the president was trying to throw him out of his inner-circle," it said, adding that Ahmad wished to carry on as the chief of the ISI, which displeased Musharraf.

In the end, Musharraf sidelined him by appointing two lieutenant generals junior to Ahmed as VCOS and CJCSC, the daily said, adding that the president took the decision "with a heavy heart".

PTI

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