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Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Why not a civilian head of ISI? An insight into the power struggle between democracy and establishment in Pakistan

Here are two columns, one by Kamran Shafi and the other by Nazir Naji, highlighting the nature of the current power struggle between the democratic government and the civil and military establishment in Pakistan.

Democracy? Nahaq hum majbooron per.....

Why not a civilian head of ISI?
By Kamran Shafi
Tuesday, 17 Nov, 2009

IN view of the fact that the cardinal sin of the federal government to try and put the ISI under civilian control is cited as a reason behind all the obituaries presently being written about the imminent fall of a) just the president; b) all the major politicians; and c) the whole shoot, I’ve been trolling through the Internet to see how just many of the world’s top intelligence services are headed by serving military (in Pakistan’s case, read ‘army’) officers.

And how many are appointed by the army chief. Consider what I’ve come up with.

Except for two retired army officers in the early days, one a lieutenant colonel the other a major general, all the DGs of MI5, the “United Kingdom’s internal counter-intelligence and security agency were civil servants. The director-general reports to the home secretary, although the Security Service is not formally part of the home office”, and through him to the prime minister.

“The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), colloquially known as MI6 is the United Kingdom’s external intelligence agency. Under the direction of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), it works alongside the Security Service (MI5), Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the defence intelligence staff (DIS).” Except for one naval captain, an admiral, a lieutenant colonel and a major general in the very early days, all of them retired, every single chief of this agency has been a ‘bloody civilian’, some from within its own ranks, others from the civil service. The present director is Britain’s former ambassador to the United Nations. The director reports to the chief cabinet secretary and through him to the prime minister.

Directors of Mossad, the dreaded Israeli intelligence agency which seems to be running rings (if reports in our conservative press and on our fire-breathing TV channels are to be believed) around our very own Mother of All Agencies, has been headed mostly by retired military officials (remember please that military service is compulsory in Israel) but also by ‘bloody civilians’. Mossad’s director is appointed by the prime minister and reports directly to him.

The director of the Central Intelligence Agency reports to the director of national intelligence (DNI), who in turn reports to the White House. The director is appointed by the president after recommendation from the DNI, and must be confirmed by a majority vote of the Senate. While there is no statutory provision which specifically excludes active military personnel from being nominated for the position, most directors have been civilians.

Barring Gen Reinhard Gehlen who set up the German intelligence agency Abteilung Fremde Heere Ost to principally keep an eye on the Russian easternfront during the Second World War, the present federal intelligence service, Bundesnachrichtendienst(BND), has always been headed by civilian public officials, notably by civil servant, lawyer and politician of the liberal Free Democratic Party, Klaus Kinkel who rose to be Germany’s federal minister of justice (1991–1992), foreign minister (1992–1998) and vice chancellor of Germany (1993–1998).

Next door in India all directors of RAW have been civilians, either civil servants or policemen or officials from within its own ranks. While the director RAW, also known as ‘Secretary (R)’, is under the direct command of the prime minister, he reports on an administrative basis to the cabinet secretary. However, on a daily basis ‘Secretary (R)’ reports to the national security adviser to the prime minister.

RAW too, if the press and TV channels are to be taken seriously, is running rings around us in close collaboration with Mossad.

So then, why is it that only in our country, our intelligence service is the fief of the army, and only of the army? Surely there are competent people other than generals who could well head the organisation and be a credit to it? I mean if all of the world’s leading agencies can be headed by civilians why not our ISI?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, what is known as the ‘Ghairat Lobby’ has taken yet another drubbing with the most recent report of the LA Times to the effect that ever since 9/11 fully one-third of the CIA’s budget has been diverted to the ISI. It also reminds us brutally what the Commando has already told us in his ‘book’ (stand up, Humayun Gohar): that the ISI sold people, some surely terrorists some very surely innocent, to the Americans for cash payments as low as $5000 a go, and as high as millions of dollars for those who had huge head moneys on offer for their capture/death.

It also tells us that the CIA money was in addition to the $15bn that poured into the country during the Commando’s dictatorship. In the words of the LA Times the ISI, “had also collected tens of millions of dollars through a classified CIA programme that pays for the capture or killing of wanted militants, a clandestine counterpart to the rewards publicly offered by the State Department”. Will the Ghairat Lobby please sit up and take note, and understand that such reports make its ghairatmand stand on the Kerry-Lugar Law all the more ludicrous and hypocritical.

Let me here once more caution the leaders of the major political parties, the PML-N and the PPP: please close ranks and collectively beat back the ongoing assault on democracy by the establishment. Our country simply cannot take another extra-legal intervention (I did not say martial law) to remove any one individual, or two, from the scene. To President Zardari let me say, yet again: do not prevaricate, act now on the Charter of Democracy; break away from the too-clever-by-half -self-servers that you have surrounded yourself with.

To Mr Nawaz Sharif, this: Asif Zardari is not the only target of the establishment, he is only the first. You are next. Consider: if there is an anti-AZ story on one page, there is an anti-NS story on another page of the same newspaper on the same day. The Internet is full of planted stories on both the large political parties; stories that desperately try to turn lay people away from electoral politics. Be prepared for more dirt.

United you politicians will stand, divided you will fall.

P.S. The Balochistan High Court has ordered Musharraf to appear before it in the case of Nawab Akbar Bugti’s murder. How come there is no further reporting on this earth-shaking event, weeks down the line, as if it never happened?



Usama said...

This was a very informative piece. It was not in my knowledge that the world's top most security agencies were headed by civilian persons. the ISI i suppose has been more of a political wing of the GHQ than an intelligence agency. It has had a dirty history of meddling in politics and conspiring to block vote of the people by either bribing politicians into alliances against the PPP such as the IJI or traping its leadership through fake corruption cases. Benazir Bhutto herself as a PM then expressed concern over the intelligence agencies activities which late materialized into killing of Mir Murtaza Bhutto. General Retired Babar himself confessed in a televison show that the ISI was behind Murtaza's murder. hese agencies have had a dubious role in the pakistani politics and must be brought under civilian control with immediate effect to distant the GHQ from politics and to save democracy in Pakistan.

Aamir Mughal said...

‘CIA providing millions of dollars to ISI’
Tuesday, November 17, 2009

WASHINGTON: The CIA provides hundreds of millions of dollars to Pakistan’s spy service, including payments for the capture or killing of wanted militants, a US newspaper reported, citing unnamed officials and former officials.

The CIA’s financial support accounts for as much as one-third of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency’s budget, the Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday. When contacted by AFP, the Central Intelligence Agency declined to comment on Monday on the report. The clandestine programme that offers bounties to the ISI for the capture or killing of militants has prompted fierce debate within the US government, officials told the paper, as the ISI is suspected of retaining ties and providing support for the Taliban and other extremists in Afghanistan. The payments were first approved by former president George W Bush and continued under President Barack Obama, the report said.

Compared to the vast amount of publicly declared military and civilian aid to Pakistan, CIA officials told the paper that their payments were a bargain. “They gave us 600 to 700 people captured or dead,” one former CIA official who worked with the Pakistanis was quoted as saying. “Getting these guys off the street was a good thing, and it was a big savings to (US) taxpayers.”

Another intelligence official said Pakistan had made “decisive contributions to counter-terrorism.” The ISI used some of the funds to construct a new headquarters, as Washington had worried that the old offices were vulnerable to attack, the paper wrote. In an indication of close ties to the Pakistani spy service, the CIA has regularly invited ISI agents to a secret training facility in North Carolina, it said.

Top US officials, including Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, openly voiced concern earlier this year about the ISI’s suspected ties with the Taliban.

Pakistan switched from top Taliban backer to US ally after the September 11, 2001 attacks. But the ISI has long faced allegations of insubordination to Pakistan’s government and of channeling support to the Taliban as a counter to arch-enemy India, which has cultivated friendly relations with the Kabul government.

During the Cold War, the ISI worked with the CIA to arm Islamist groups that fought Soviet forces in Afghanistan. The ISI later backed the Taliban, which imposed austere Islamic rule on the war-torn country. The US media have previously reported that American officials had found evidence that ISI operatives provided money, military supplies and even strategic planning to Taliban commanders in Afghanistan.

Aamir Mughal said...

Shameless Anti Pakistan Mahmood Sham, Shaheen Sehbai and Kamran Khan [Jang Group]

They have raised objection on Civilian Control ove ISI but read what they have said against ISI in an Indian Magazine.

The Daily Noose (Interview with Shaheen Sehbai) - Author: Publication: The Times of India Date: March 18, 2002- Exposing the Pakistani establishment's links with terrorists can be a hazardous job. It cost Daniel Pearl his life, and Shaheen Sehbai, former editor of 'The News', a widely-read English daily in Pakistan his job. Fearing for his life, Sehbai is now in the US He speaks to Shobha John about the pressure on journalists from the powers-that-be in Pakistan:

Q. Is it true you had to quit because a news report angered the government?

A. On February 16, our Karachi reporter, Kamran Khan, filed a story quoting Omar Sheikh as saying that he was behind the attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13, the Kashmir assembly attack and other terrorist acts in India. Shortly after I am, I got a call on my cellphone from Ashfaq Gondal, the principal information officer of the government, telling me that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had intercepted the story and I should stop its publication. I told him I was not prepared to do so. He then called my newspaper group owner/editor-in-chief, Mir Shakil ur Rehman in London and asked him to stop the story. Rehman stopped it in the Jang, the sister newspaper in Urdu but could not do so in The News as I was unavailable. The next day, all editions of The News carried the story. It was also carried by The Washington Post and The International Herald Tribune the same day, as Kamran also reports for The Post. On February 18, all government advertising for the entire group was stopped.

On February 22, Rehman rushed to Karachi and called a meeting at 10 p m. He told me the government was �very angry� at the story. He said he had been told to sack four journalists, including myself, if the ads were to be restored. He asked me to proceed to Islamabad to pacify the officials. Sham informed us that he had contacted the officials and was told by Anwar Mahmood, the information secretary that �the matter was now beyond his capacity and we will have to see the ISI high-ups to resolve it�. I was told to go and see the ISI chief in Islamabad and also to call Anwar Mahmood on Eid and improve my 'public relations' with him.

I left the meeting with the firm resolve that I would neither call nor meet anyone, even at gunpoint. Sham, however, left for Islamabad to meet the officials. His meetings were unsuccessful. From my sources, I learned that the ISI and the government were not prepared to lift the ban unless I gave them specific assurances. If I refused, there may be trouble for me as the owner was already under pressure to fire me and the other three journalists.

On February 27, I took a flight out of Karachi to New York. On February 28, I received a memo from my owner accusing me of policy violations. In reply, on March 1, I sent in my resignation.

Q. Is the ISI still keeping a close watch on journalists after Daniel Pearl's killing?

A. The ISI has been a major player in domestic politics and continues to be so. That means it has to control the media and right now, it is actively involved in doing so. Pearl's murder has given them more reasons to activate the national interest excuse.

Q. Is there a sense of desperation within the Pakistan government that it should not be linked in any way to events in India?

A. Yes. That's why when our story quoted Omar Sheikh claiming such links, the government came down hard on us.

Q. Has there been any pressure on the staff of 'The News' to 'conform'?

REFERENCE: The Daily Noose (Interview with Shaheen Sehbai) Author: Publication: The Times of India Date: March 18, 2002 http://www.hvk.org/articles/0302/206.html


Aamir Mughal said...

After all these years the hollow and shallow Ex Servicemen Society and gentlemen mentioned below have damaged Pakistan beyond repair these damages cannot be undone only through apology. They should be tried for treason under Artcile 6 of 1973 Constitution and that is the only remedy. Have you noticed the height of arrogance and emptiness in our Praetorian Guards. Even after so much damage they are arrogant to the core.

As per 1973 Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan


6. (1) Any person who abrogates or attempts or conspires to abrogate, subverts or attempts or conspires to subvert the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.

(2) Any person aiding or abetting the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason.

(3) [Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)] shall by law provide for the punishment of persons found guilty of high treason.

An accomplice is a person who actively participates in the commission of a crime, even though they take no part in the actual criminal offense.


How Aslam Beg damaged a nation By Shafqat Mahmood Friday, September 04, 2009

The history of this much abused country is being churned to let the scum rise to the top. And what nuggets of filth are floating up -- military-made political parties, midnight jackals, cash for elections, Karachi operations, agency this and agency that. Is this the Pakistani version of a truth and reconciliation commission?

The 'truth' being dished out has more slants than a right-angle triangle and it is certainly not leading to any reconciliation. The million-dollar question is where all these worms crawled out of? Have they rolled down the presidency, as the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) alleges or have they emerged from the irritable bowel of an over-active nine zero?

Source: The News International

URL: http://www.thenews.com.pk/print1.asp?id=196480

Aamir Mughal said...


Calamity of Ex-Servicemen Society - 1

Calamity of Ex-Servicemen Society - 2

Calamity of Ex-Servicemen Society - 3

Calamity of Ex-Servicemen Society - 4

Calamity of Ex-Servicemen Society - 5

Calamity of Ex-Servicemen Society - 6

Calamity of Ex-Servicemen Society - 7

Aamir Mughal said...


Kargil Debacle: Musharraf's Time Bomb, Waiting to Explode By Rauf Klasra


ISLAMABAD, August 3: Five years have passed since Kargil but it continues to be debated in Pakistan mainly because it led to the fall of Nawaz Sharif and the rise of General Musharraf, changing the fate of both on the same day, one going to jail and the other crowned the king.

Aamir Mughal said...


Pakistan Army Committed Kargil Like Disaster in 1965 War As Well Special SAT Report


WASHINGTON, Sept 6: A new book on Pakistan, scheduled to be released worldwide on Sept 11, gives out a detailed account of how the Pakistan Army planned a military operation to capture Akhnur in August 1965 which ultimately led to the India-Pakistan war and how mysterious decisions led to its failure, a la the Kargil fiasco of 1999.

The book Pakistan's Drift Into Extremism: Allah, The Army, And America's War On Terror, written by Hassan Abbas, a former police officer from Pakistan and currently a Research fellow at the Harvard Law School and a PhD. candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, provides a befitting backdrop to the 1965 war, the 39th anniversary of which is being observed in Pakistan today.

Aamir Mughal said...


A besieged Indian Army Position at Kargil

Ex-ISI Chief Accuses Musharraf's Team of Major Slips in Kargil Special SAT Report


ISLAMABAD, August 30: A former ISI Chief Lt Gen (Retd) Javed Nasir has held General Musharraf's team responsible for major slips in the disastrous Kargil misadventure and has demanded that an inquiry commission of senior retired army officers be formed to determine what mistakes were made.

Aamir Mughal said...

Indian Journalist on Shaheen Sehbai's American Webasite on ISI

The 'Officially Certified Truth' About Kargil, Told to Bail Out the Pakistan Army By A.G. Noorani http://www.satribune.com/archives/nov30_dec6_03/opinion_mazari.htm

WHY DO INDIANS and Pakistanis find it so difficult to face the truths about their past and their present misdoings?

The battles in Siachin (1984) and Kargil (1999) each inspired a propaganda barrage, which was demeaning. We rightly criticize reports by "embedded" correspondents during the Iraq war. But Sankarshan Thakur and other contributors to Guns and Yellow Roses: Essays on the Kargil War recorded how the media failed the nation, official obstruction apart. Pamela Constable of The Washington Post angrily contrasted facilities she had enjoyed in other war zones. "Here, however, I was trying to cover a conflict I could neither see nor hear."

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