This is from the Dailytimes. Neither source is likely to be reliable. Probably Musharraf did give permission but also told the US he would have to deny it!
The new government in Pakistan may be less pro-U.S. especially the Sharif faction. Bhutto's party is prone to make deals with whomever seems to give the best deal especially given that Bhutto's husband is now one of the main powers behind the party.
Whether with permission or not the attacks of U.S. drones have probably been a big plus for radical Islamist recruiters.
Musharraf never allowed US strikes in Tribal Areas’
* Presidential spokesman rejects Newsweek report alleging Musharraf’s tacit approval for drone attacks
RAWALPINDI: Major General (r) Rashid Qureshi, the presidential spokesman, has rejected a report in a US magazine, which says that President Pervez Musharraf has allowed US forces to launch operation in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan, a private television channel reported on Monday
“The report is baseless and unfounded. No such type of approval has been given to US forces,” he told the channel. The US had been informed several times that only Pakistani forces had a right to launch operation against Al Qaeda in the Tribal Areas, he said.
Qureshi said the Foreign Office had lodged strong protest with the US against the recent missile strike in Pakistan. We would not allow forces of any other country to launch incursions in Pakistan, he added.
Newsweek in its report said that the Musharraf regime had given tacit approval to attacks by US drones on Al Qaeda targets along Pakistan’s restive border area.
The report said that such strikes had been stepped up, as officials feared that the new government in Pakistan would be hostile to such an offensive. Since January, missiles reportedly fired from US drones have hit at least three suspected hideouts of militants, including a strike on March 16 in the Toog village of South Waziristan that left 20 dead.
The magazine, quoting US officials and Pakistani sources, said the recent wave of drone attacks were at least partly the result of understandings that US officials had reached with Musharraf and other top Pakistani officials, giving Washington virtually unrestricted authority to hit targets in the border areas.
“The surge,” says the magazine in its upcoming issue, “began after visits to Pakistan at the beginning of the year by senior US officials, including intelligence czar Mike McConnell, General Michael Hayden, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and Admiral William Fallon, who recently resigned as commander of US forces in the region.”
Some news reports had said at the time that President Pervez Musharraf had rebuffed US proposals to step up combat operations inside Pakistan.
The magazine quoted Bruce Riedel, a retired CIA expert on the region, as saying that a new wave of terrorism inside Pakistan had forced Musharraf and new military chief General Ashfaq Kayani to acknowledge that extremists threatening Americans now also posed a growing threat to Pakistan’s internal security.
A former official told the magazine that the United States had been relying on its own intelligence to uncover terror targets because Pakistani intelligence agencies were weak on espionage in the Tribal Areas. online