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Pakistan Extends Term of Spy Chief


The head of Pakistan's intelligence agency will not be stepping down next week as originally planned.

Pakistani Defense Minister Ahmad Mukhtar told reporters Saturday the government will extend the term of Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha at the Inter Services Intelligence agency, also known as the ISI.

He did not say how much longer Pasha would serve.

Relations between the ISI and the United States' intelligence agency, the CIA, have been recently strained over the case of a CIA contractor who is being held in Pakistan after shooting and killing two Pakistani men in January.

The U.S. says Raymond Davis acted in self-defense and that he has diplomatic immunity. Pakistani officials have demanded that the CIA release the names of all of its agents operating in Pakistan after alleging Davis was working there without Pakistan's knowledge.

Late last year, a judge in the United States ordered Pasha and his predecessor, Nadeem Taj, to appear in court as part of a lawsuit by relatives of four Americans killed in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. The lawsuit alleges links between the ISI and the attacks that killed 166 people. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said neither his spy chief nor his intelligence agency would be pressured to appear in court.

The Pakistani government has also denied reports that ISI has links to the Taliban. A report last year by the London School of Economics said Pakistan's ISI agency not only provides funding, training and sanctuary to Taliban fighters in Afghanistan but is also represented on the movement's leadership council.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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