The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pak MPs see US hand in crash

Islamabad, Feb. 26 (AFP): Opposition deputies said today they suspected that last week’s plane crash that killed Pakistan’s air force chief and 16 others might have resulted from the testing of new aircraft jamming technology by US forces in the region.

The MPs in the national assembly pressed for a debate and demanded that they be associated with an ongoing inquiry.

An air force Fokker F-27 carrying Air Chief Marshal Mushaf Ali, his wife and 15 senior officers and technicians came down in foggy weather in mountains near the town of Kohat in northwest Pakistan on February 20.

“There are reports in the international media that the US is testing aircraft jamming technology in the region as part of its preparations to attack Iraq,” said Liaqat Baloch a leader of the six-party Islamic alliance known as Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA).

He said Air Chief Mushaf Ali had opposed giving bases to the US military in Pakistan to launch attacks in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali dismissed the apprehensions, saying the Opposition was trying to give a “twist” to the incident.

“People want to take political mileage,” he said. ”Playing to the gallery is not fair. The inquiry committee is doing its work and there is no need to be touchy and itchy about it.”

Tehmina Daultana, an MP from deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League, said Mushaf Ali had had the guts to say “what others could not say.” MMA’s Hafiz Hussain Ahmed demanded a Parliamentary committee be set up to investigate the crash.

Earlier defence minister Rao Sikandar Iqbal told the House that a high level inquiry team of air force officers and technical and medical experts was looking into all aspects of the crash.

“Whether it was human error, technical fault, bad weather or sabotage, any speculation is premature,” Iqbal said. “The public will be informed when the inquiry report is received.”

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