Misperceptions of Internal Entities about ISI
By Sajjad Shaukat
At this critical juncture when foreign elements have accelerated their conspiracy against the integrity of Pakistan in order to complete their hidden agenda, it is regrettable that without taking cognisance of the ground realities, and without knowing the functions of the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) including its director general, our own political leaders, media anchors and so-called human rights groups have developed misconceptions about this agency.
Since the Supreme Court of Pakistan has been dealing with various cases like the memogate scandal, mehrangate scandal and the issue of missing persons, our internal entities have continuously been maligning country’s key security agencies, especially ISI.
Let us take the example of the disappeared persons to know the ill-conceived thoughts of Pakistan’s internal entities. Notably, Indo-Israeli lobbies which are well-penetrated in US-led European NGOs, human rights organisations and media started a deliberate campaign against Pak Army and ISI, implicating for extrajudicial killings and forced abductions. In this context, Pakistan’s internal elements also followed them. Some leaders of Jamat-i-Islami, particularly PML-N which have always criticised Pak Army and ISI in one way or the other, accused them for disappeared persons. In this regard, opposition leader of the PML-N, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, while raising voice towards missing persons, and hinting towards ISI and Military Intelligence (MI) misperceived on February 29 this year that these intelligence agencies are not in control of government. Pakistan’s so-called human rights organizations and some media anchors also accused Pak Army and country’s superior agency in relation to the disappeared people.
While, fact of the matter is that majority of the missing persons have been killed in subversive acts like bomb blasts, target killings, ethnic and sectarian violence in various places of Pakistan, arranged by American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad and their affiliated militants groups. In case of Balochistan, everyone knows that Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and another group, Jundollah (God’s soldiers) which have been fighting for secession of the province gets logistic support from CIA and RAW. Their militants kidnapped and killed many innocent people and the security personnel in the province, while claiming responsibility in this respect. And since 2001, a majority of Pakistanis also left for Afghanistan for Jehad purposes, without informing their families, while many people joined the Jahadi groups.
It is mentionable that on June 15, 2011, hundreds of journalists and human rights activists from across the country had marched in Islamabad, while accusing ISI for the murder of Journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad. Some political leaders also joined their camps. Human rights activist Asma Jehangir who is pro-American had also filed a case in the Supreme Court of Pakistan in this connection. US high officials also expressed similar thoughts. But the report of a high-level judicial commission which was released on January 12, 2012 to probe the killing of Saleem Shahzad found no proof about ISI in this matter.
Besides, observing the largest processions of Tehreek-e-Insaf in various cities, especially, leaders of the PML-N have repeatedly accused ISI of backing its Chairman Imran Khan. But, Imran Khan himself has targeted Pakistan Army and ISI many a times. In fact, these political elements misguide the general masses in order to increase their vote bank in the coming elections by manipulating a deliberate phenomenon, created by external elements against Pakistan’s security agencies, especially ISI.
Some journalists have penetrated in Pakistan’s media in such a way that it is much difficult for the general masses to understand their real intentions as they are completing the secret agenda of anti-Pakistan elements by maligning country’s superior agency. In this regard, Pakistani TV anchors and senior journalists like Hamid Mir and Najam Sethi who also implicate ISI are serving the interests of US and India clandestinely by sabotaging the national interests of Pakistan.
It is notable that PML (N) opposed the extension to the tenure of former ISI Chief Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha. But Gen. Pasha did not request for extension of service as exploited by the political elements. Recently, in a programmme of Geo TV channel, Hamid Mir, while referring to the new DG of ISI Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam asked a question to Imran Khan, will you now control ISI? In reply, Imran Khan said that he would do it. However, these are all misperceptions and stereotypes created in the minds of our internal elements about ISI. Instead of manipulating the country’s key spy agency, they must better know its functions, performance and role in connection with protecting the national interests of the country. Even new ISI Chief Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam will not deviate from these duties which ISI has already been performing. New DG can only further improve the efficiency of this agency, but basic aims of securing the national integrity remains the same.
When the former Lt. Gen. Shuja Pasha became the Director General of the ISI in September, 2008, he took many steps to improve the efficiency of the agency, responsible for collecting information and providing critical national security—intelligence assessment to the Pakistan government. At that time, intermittently, US high officials and media have been accusing Pakistan’s army and our superior spy agency of close contacts with the Afghan Taliban and cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan. Under the pretext of these false allegations, US top officials started insisting upon Islamabad that ISI should be restructured. But when ISI DG, Pasha refused to restructure the agency on the pattern of US, blame game by America and India intensified against the agency and its chief.
Under the supervision of the former DG Shuja Pasha, ISI services such as capture of renowned Taliban commanders, castigation of pre-terror attacks, sacrifices of ISI personnel, suicide attacks on agency’s premises in various cities of the country, blockage of the activities of Blackwater including CIA agents and submission of pre-information about terror-attacks further annoyed the foreign elements.
Very differences started between Pakistan and America as ISI interrupted covet activities of the so-called diplomats. In this respect, on the information of this top spy agency, Pakistan’s establishment expelled several American spies operating in the country. On the other side, US withheld $800 million in military aid to punish its military and ISI.
Nonetheless, ISI prefered the external and internal security of Pakistan. Externally, through its invisible mechanism, it castigated the anti-Pakistan plot of the US, India and Israel—also against China and became an obstacle in the secret strategic designs of these hostile elements.
Taking note of ISI positive role in defending the national interests of Pakistan, American high officials, US-led India and Israel including Indo-Israeli lobbies and foreign media revived propaganda against this agency and its head, raising false allegations Even they did not spare Pak Army in this respect.
But it is our misfortune that without knowing the reality and the services of ISI, just like the foreign enemies, some of our rulers, political leaders, human rights groups and media anchors have also been disreputing Pak Army—particularly ISI in connection with the cases, being heard by the Supreme Court. In this context, what the difference one can note between our internal entities and Pakistan’s external enemies. No doubt, their acts are benefiting the US and India which want to create a division between Pakistan’s politicians and security agencies so as to cause further unrest in the country.
Instead of targeting ISI, our internal elements must better know the services of this intelligence agency in thwarting various conspiracies against the integrity of the Pakistan, especially against its nuclear assets. Despite its limited resources as compared to CIA, RAW and Mossad, ISI has never failed in its goals. ISI is essential for national security of Pakistan at this crucial time when Pakistan is facing multiple subversive acts, and ISI is also assisting the Pakistan’s armed forces in military operations in some tribal areas.
Pakistan’s internal entities and general masses must know that every country has a superior intelligence agency to protect the national security of the state. It not only copes with foreign anti-state elements, but also fights the psychological warfare including internal enemies. No army can fight without the support of an efficient secret agency which collects and assesses information in a most reliable manner. American CIA, Russian KGB, British MI-6 etc. might be cited as an instance.
In these terms, it does not matter who is at the helm of affairs in supervising ISI, even new DG of ISI Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam will play the same role in protecting the national interests of Pakistan through this agency. So our internal entities must remove their misperceptions that with the change of its DG, basic functions of ISI are also changed.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations