Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Pakistani government has engaged lawyers from US firm Locke Lord Bissell and Liddell to represent the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in a lawsuit filed in New York last November by families of victims of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.However, an eISI spoksperson said he “has no knowledge” of the lawyers’ hiring.

According to NBC News, the lawyers filed a brief on May 6, asking that the ISI and its current and former chiefs be removed as defendants in the case.
The lawsuit alleged that the ISI and its current and former directors-general, Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha and Lt Gen (retd) Nadeem Taj, supported the 26/11 plotters.
Locke Lord Bissell and Liddell’s lobbying arm – Locke Lord Strategies – represents the Pakistani government in Washington. According to Reuters, the firm is currently lobbying Congress on behalf of the government to deny accusations of harbouring Osama bin Laden. Mark Siegel, who is a partner at Locke Lord Strategies, was a speechwriter for the late former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and a close friend.
A spokesperson for the Pakistani embassy in the US said that the “Government of Pakistan directed the embassy to assist ISI in its legal defence. The ISI selected lawyers and asked the embassy to hire (them) as legally only the ambassador could be plenipotentiary in signing a legal contract hiring lawyers.”

The lawyers’ brief argues that the ISI, Taj and Pasha have immunity under the US Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. It also states that the lawsuit attempts to make a ‘political decision’ about the ISI’s alleged role.
The brief states that if the case proceeds, it will impact cooperation between Pakistan and the US, “fuel violence and extremism” and pour “gasoline on the fire vis-à-vis the relationship between Pakistan and India”.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2011.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...