After the Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad was murdered in May, suspicion fell on Inter-Services Intelligence, the country’s powerful spy agency. Mr. Shahzad reported aggressively on the infiltration of militants into Pakistan’s military and had received repeated threats from ISI. Other journalists said they, too, have been threatened, even tortured, by security forces.
Now the Obama administration has evidence implicating the ISI in this brutal killing. According to The Times’s Jane Perlez and Eric Schmitt, American officials say new intelligence indicates that senior ISI officials ordered the attack on Mr. Shahzad to silence him. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed on Thursday that Pakistan’s government “sanctioned” the killing, but he did not tie it directly to ISI. The murder will make journalists and other critics of the regime even more reluctant to expose politically sensitive news. The ISI is also proving to be an increasingly dangerous counterterrorism partner for the United States.
After Mr. Shahzad’s killing, ISI insisted it had no role, contending the death would be “used to target and malign” its reputation. The ISI and the army, which oversees the intelligence agency, were once considered Pakistan’s most respected institutions. Now they are sharply criticized at home for malfeasance and incompetence.
There is evidence that they were complicit in hiding Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad and that the ISI helped plan the Mumbai attack in 2008. They failed to prevent the recent attack on a naval base in Karachi. Mr. Shahzad disappeared two days after publishing an article suggesting the attack was retaliation for the navy’s attempt to crack down on Al Qaeda militants in the armed forces.
It’s not clear how high up the culpability for Mr. Shahzad’s murder goes — or whether there are any officials left in the ISI or the army who have the power and desire to reform the spy agency. President Asif Ali Zardari and his government, while not implicated in these heinous acts, have been a disappointment, largely letting the military go its own way. They need to find Mr. Shahzad’s murderers and hold them accountable. And they must find the courage to assert civilian control over security services that have too much power and are running amok.
Mr. Zardari needs to speak out firmly against abuses, insist on adherence to the rule of law and join his political rival, Nawaz Sharif, in pressing the security services to change. That can start by insisting on the retirement of Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the ISI chief, and the appointment of a more credible successor.
The United States needs to use its influence to hasten Mr. Pasha’s departure. It should tell Pakistan’s security leadership that if Washington identifies anyone in ISI or the army as abetting terrorists, those individuals will face sanctions like travel bans or other measures. The ISI has become inimical to Pakistani and American interests.
Courtesy: → The New York Times
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by Dr Manzur Ejaz
Pakistan’s socio-political system has reached a critical stage where the competition or confrontation between institutions is leading to an inevitable but unexpected change. An overwhelmingly agrarian Pakistani society has evolved into a multi-layered complex body where new urban middle classes have matured enough to play a role. If the dominant institutions of the military and political elites do not rapidly adjust to the changing reality, an unprecedented and disastrous situation can develop.
Whatever way we cut it, the incidents of the last month compelled the military to come to parliament and explain itself to the legislators and the public. Despite the chiding posture of General Shuja Pasha, this was a new development. But then, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani issued a long rebuttal, a public criticism, after the 139th Corps Commander’s Conference. In this comprehensive statement, he reasserted the military’s monopoly over defining the ideology and policy of the state of Pakistan. If one dissects General Kayani’s statement, part of it is the military’s claim to define the country as an ‘Islamic’ state and other parts are operational policies as to how the country is going to be run.
What General Kayani and the army do not realise is that the military’s monopoly over the Pakistani state was the product of a set of historical factors that have substantially changed. Now, other institutions of the state are maturing to the level that a new inter-institutional balance has to evolve or the state will wither away. …
… In the last decade, the media, as an institution, was rising and having an impact on different sectors of society. The movement for the restoration of the independent judiciary also showed that a vital branch of the state was gaining enough maturity. The way the PML-N acted as an opposition party was also another sign of the strengthening of democratic forces. Despite the incompetent PPP government and its non-cooperation with the judiciary or with the genuine political opposition, it is becoming clearer that a realignment of institutional balance is underway. Therefore, the military is facing other sets of forces that are different from the 70s. In this situation, the military can unleash ruthlessness to suppress the emerging forces or concede to them as a fait accompli. Maybe the military has read the tea leaves as an ex-COAS, General Jehangir Karamat maintains, but it has yet to be seen how far the military can withdraw itself from civilian affairs.
To read complete article: Wichaar
- Humiliation of the military men
Civilian leaders and the United States put pressure on the beleaguered generals
AMERICA’S killing of Osama bin Laden on May 2nd brought with it a rare chance to ease the Pakistani army’s unhealthy grip on the country’s domestic and foreign affairs. The generals have floundered since the raid in Abbottabad, unsettled by accusations of complicity with bin Laden or, if not, then incompetence. It has not helped that video clips show bin Laden apparently active as al-Qaeda’s leader in his last years.
Pakistanis cannot agree what is more shocking, that bin Laden had skulked in a military town so close to the capital, Islamabad, or that Americans nipped in to kill him without meeting the least resistance. Either way, they know to blame the humiliated men in uniform. Columnists and bloggers even call for army bosses to fall on their swagger sticks.
Ashfaq Kayani, the now sullen-faced head of the armed forces, and his more exposed underling, Ahmad Shuja Pasha, who runs the main military spy outfit, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI), are unused to such cheek. Their spokesmen have fumbled to come up with a consistent line. They have claimed both that Pakistan abhorred America’s attack and helped to bring it about. Army inaction on the night was because someone forgot to turn on the radar, or because it only worked pointing east at India. And General Pasha would, and then certainly would not, fly to America to smooth things over.
That disarray gave elected leaders a chance. Neither President Asif Zardari nor Yusuf Raza Gilani, the prime minister, deludes himself that he is really in charge. Nor do outsiders. Just after they had killed bin Laden, the Americans first telephoned General Kayani, not the president. In the past year both Generals Kayani and Pasha have had their spells in office extended beyond their usual terms, without a squeak from the brow-beaten civilians.
The armed forces scoop up roughly a quarter of all public spending and large dollops of aid, with no proper oversight, says Ayesha Siddiqa, a defence analyst. They also run big firms, employ over 500,000, grab prime land for retired officers, set foreign and counterterrorism policies and scotch peace overtures to India. They are racing to expand a nuclear arsenal beyond 100 warheads—Pakistan will soon be the world’s fifth-biggest nuclear power and has been a chief proliferator.
Civilian silence thus spoke volumes. Rather than try to defend the army, both elected leaders found pressing needs to be out-of-town. …
Read more : The Economist
By SIOBHAN GORMAN And MATTHEW ROSENBERG
Pakistani media aired the name of a man they said is the Central Intelligence Agency’s station chief, prompting questions about whether the Pakistani government tried to out a CIA operative in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden.
The U.S. is looking into the matter. There are no plans at this time to withdraw the station chief. If the government had attempted to publicize the name, that would be the second such outing in the past six months, a sign of how deeply U.S.-Pakistan relations have soured.
The CIA declined to comment. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Tensions, which have been building between the two countries for months, exploded after the bin Laden strike, which sharply embarrassed the Pakistani government. In another source of strain, the U.S. is pressing the Pakistanis for access to bin Laden’s three wives, who are being held in Pakistani custody. The Pakistani government isn’t complying with the request, a U.S. official said.
The Islamabad station chief is one of the CIA’s most critical and sensitive assignments. The position oversees the agency’s covert programs, including the drone campaign that targets al Qaeda and Taliban leaders, as well as fighters who cross the border into Afghanistan.
The purported name of the CIA’s station chief was first reported Friday by ARY, a private Pakistani television channel. The station was reporting on a meeting between the director of Pakistan’s spy service—the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence—and the station chief.
“If we did not mention the man’s name, the credibility of the story would have been reduced,” said ARY’s Islamabad bureau chief, Sabir Shakir.
Mr. Shakir wouldn’t discuss who had provided the name, but said he had “one-plus” sources.
The story was picked up by the Nation, a right-wing newspaper that has often accused American diplomats and private citizens in Pakistan of working for the CIA. The Nation’s editor, Salim Bokhari, said he didn’t know how the name became public.
“It has to have been released by some government agency,” said Mr. Bokhari. “Who else would know such information?” …
Read more : The Wall Street Journal
by Ron Moreau
Pakistani officials tell The Daily Beast that the head of Pakistan’s notorious intelligence service may step down, as the government looks for a fall guy for the bin Laden debacle.
To allay both domestic and international anger and dismay over the presence of Osama bin Laden in a military cantonment town close to the capital, senior Pakistani officials have told The Daily Beast they recognize that an important head has to roll and soon. They say the most likely candidate to be the fall guy is Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the director general of the country’s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate. In a last ditch effort to control the damage and to assure the US that the ISI was not harboring him and was unaware of his presence in Pakistan, Pasha reportedly flew to Washington today. But these high-level sources who refused to be quoted or named say his resignation is only a matter of time. ….
Read more : Wichaar
Osama bin Laden death: Afghanistan ‘had Abbottabad lead four years ago’
Afghanistan’s former intelligence chief says Pakistan’s then president Pervez Musharraf angrily rejected Osama hideout tip
by Jon Boone in Kabul
…. Afghanistan’s former top spy – who has long been a hate figure in Islamabad among officials who believed he was implacably anti-Pakistani – also said he had no doubts that Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban movement, was hiding in a safe house owned by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the Pakistani spy agency, in the city of Karachi.
“He is protected by ISI, General Pasha [Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, director-general of the ISI] knows as I am talking to you where is Mullah Omar and he keeps daily briefs from his officers about the location of senior Taliban leaders, simple,” he said.
Saleh was speaking to the Guardian soon after addressing a rally of several thousand Afghans in Kabul organised as a show of strength of what he called Afghanistan’s “anti-Taliban constituency” who are alarmed at the prospect of peace talks with insurgents. …
Read more : guardian.co.uk
- Guantánamo Bay files: Pakistan’s ISI spy service listed as terrorist group
Anyone linked to Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate should be treated like al-Qaida or Taliban, interrogators told
by Jason Burke
US authorities describe the main Pakistani intelligence service as a terrorist organisation in secret files obtained by the Guardian.
Recommendations to interrogators at Guantánamo Bay rank the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) alongside al-Qaida, Hamas and Hezbollah in Lebanon as threats. Being linked to any of these groups is an indication of terrorist or insurgent activity, the documents say. …
More details : BBC urdu
Bravo Raza Rabani: WARNING from Senator Raza Rabani for those who are creating hurdles in Provincial Autonomy
HEC ‘storm in a teacup’ spills over in NA
By Raja Asghar
ISLAMABAD: Pre-emptive politics. Conspiracy against provincial autonomy. Attempt to degrade parliament.
Such angry comments came from lawmakers as what Senator Raza Rabbani saw as only “a storm in a teacup” over mainly the financial devolution of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to provinces spilled over in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
And when he received an apparently incomplete information during his speech in the lower house that the Supreme Court had issued a stay order against the planned devolution, Mr Rabbani, Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination and Chairman of the Parliamentary Commission for the Implementation of the Eighteenth Amendment, remarked: “Probably we are writing a new history to stop parliament from legislation.” …
Read more : DAWN
The possible role of Premier Sensitive Agency of security establishment in Benazir Bhutto Assassination
ISI official provided content for BB murder press conference: Cheema
ISLAMABAD: Former Interior Ministry’s spokesman Brigadier (retired) Javed Iqbal Cheema had revealed in the documents obtained by DawnNews that material for the press conference which was held on December 28, 2007 after the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was provided to him by a high ranking Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) official.
DawnNews has obtained from the Interior Ministry and FIA sources the statements of Cheema and former director general of Military Intelligence (MI) Ijaz Shah.
The statements revealed that Cheema had confessed before the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that Maj. General Nusrat Naeem, the then director general of Counter Intelligence wing of ISI, had provided him the content for the press conference.
Naeem who works in Behria Town Rawalpindi after his retirement could be included in the investigations, said sources.
By Aijaz Ahmed
Islamabad: Director General Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) gets another two years extension in his service, thus all four civilian and the uniformed top brass will remain in the office till 2013, sources in the power corridors revealed to Indus Herald today. However, whether the extension will be taken as a violation of the Supreme Court orders or the extension will bring the political stability in the country is yet to be determined.
Sources placed in the government have confirmed that Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani sent a summary along with his advice for the two years extension in the service of DG ISI Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, which is duly accepted by the president yesterday and thus his present tenure is again extended.
The second extension will start at the end of his first extension tenure that was awarded last year when he was about to retire, but first extension under the law was given for one year.
It may be mentioned that general Kayani, the COAS was also given an extension in his service and also in his tenure as army Chief, ….
…. However, the critical aspect of the extension will be reaction of the Supreme Court on the decision as it has already terminated number of high-ranking police officers including DG FIA, Waseem Ahmed whom the government of the day considers critical in the war on terror. ‘In fact every institution shall work within its limits, and should not intervene in the jurisdiction of any other institution’, said Faisal Raza Abidi.
‘We follow double standards as the registrar Supreme Court is already given two years’ extension by the CJ himself, while army chief is also enjoying an extension, but the civilian government is not allowed to give extension to any civilian officer because of certain other reasons’, commented a senior PPP leader. ‘It is the time now for the Supreme Court to take notice of this extension and set an example’, he added.
Read more : Indus Herald
….. As leaders worldwide—from the Pope to Hillary Clinton to Nicolas Sarkozy—strongly condemn Bhatti’s murder, the reaction of the Pakistani government has been vapid. No action has been taken or promises made to curb the freedom of violent extremist groups, who have hailed both murders and who have meanwhile been staging daily street demonstrations in Lahore to demand the death sentence for Raymond Davis, the American CIA agent who is now in Pakistani custody after killing two Pakistani men believed to be agents for the army’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). (Davis was part of a secret team working in the country; the exposure of his activities puts further strain on the uneasy alliance between the US and Pakistan.)
For its part, the army has so far failed to express regret about either Bhatti’s murder or Taseer’s. The army chief General Ashfaq Kayani declined to publicly condemn Taseer’s death or even to issue a public condolence to his family. He told Western ambassadors in January in Islamabad that there were too many soldiers in the ranks who sympathize with the killer, and showed them a scrapbook of photographs of Taseer’s killer being hailed as a hero by fellow police officers. Any public statement, he hinted, could endanger the army’s unity.
Behind this silence lies something more sinister. For decades the army and the ISI have controlled the extremist groups, arming and training them in exchange for their continuing to serve as proxy forces in Afghanistan and Kashmir. But in recent years, the army has lost control of them and they are striking targets of their own. Yet the army has refused to help crack down on its rogue protégés—despite the fact that extremists have increasingly attacked the army and the ISI itself, and at least 2,000 military personnel have died at their hands in the past five years. This is all the more ominous in view of the resources the military commands: half a million men, another half a million reserves, 110 nuclear weapons (according to US media estimates) and one of the largest intelligence agencies in the world, the ISI, which has an estimated 100,000 employees.
If the army has now surrendered any willingness to take on the extremists, the political establishment had already given up long ago. ….
Read more : The New York Review of Book
- Body of former ISI official found in North Waziristan
PESHAWAR: The body of former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) official Colonel (retired) Imam was found in the Dandi Darpakhel area of Miranshah, officials said on Sunday.
Colonel Sultan Amir Tarar aka known as Colonel Imam was kidnapped with former ISI official Khalid Khwaja and British Journalist Asad Qureshi from Miranshah in March 2010, where they were going to shoot a documentary on the Taliban. Imam had reportedly been kidnapped by the Asian Tigers and had later been handed over to militants from Haqqani network. …
Read more : The Express Tribune
-WITHOUT DEVELOPING A SECULAR AND TOLERANT STATE IDENTITY THAT CAN PROVIDE EQUAL PROTECTION TO ALL ITS CITIZENS REGARDLESS OF THEIR BACKGROUND, INCIDENTS LIKE THE ASSASSINATION OF GOV. TASEER WILL BECOME COMMON-PLACE.
-However, the inability of the general public to see the nakedness of Pakistan is due to the inter-generational brainwashing towards conservative orthodoxy.
The heinous murder of Governor Taseer was shocking, but one should consider the reactions in support of his assassin amongst some Pakistanis as a sign that the society is at a crossroads. Governor Taseer’s life was stolen from him because he rejected a blasphemy law based on a narrow-minded view of Islam that subjects the nation’s minorities to discrimination. Laws such as these reveal the increasingly conflicting view of Pakistan’s future: either as a nation that is able to adapt to modern times and protect the rights of all its citizens or one destined for devolution into chaos through a medieval view of Islam and the state. …
Read more : SOVEREIGN MINDS
Washington, Nov 24 (IANS) A US court has summoned top officials of Pakistani spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), as also the alleged masterminds of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in response to a case filed by relatives of two American victims.
Summons were issued by a New York court to ISI’s powerful chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha and other officials, as also Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi and Jamaat-ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, the alleged masterminds of the Nov 26-29, 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
The 26-page lawsuit was filed before a Brooklyn court last week by family members of Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his pregnant wife, Rivka, who were among the 166 people killed during the attack. Their son Moshe was saved by his Indian nanny in the tragedy. …
Read more : thaindianNews
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For more details : BBC urdu
ISLAMABAD: The chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency said he had contacted Israeli officials to head off potential attacks on Israeli targets in India, according to an October 2009 US diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks.
Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, head of Pakistan’s spy agency, told former US Ambassador Anne Patterson that he wanted Washington to know he had been to Oman and Iran “to follow up on reports which he received in Washington about a terrorist attack on India”. …
Read more : The Express Tribune
Via – Siasat.pk
US court summons ISI chief Pasha, LeT’s Hafiz Saeed
Washington: A US court has issued summons to senior ISI officials including its powerful chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha, along with Mumbai attack masterminds and LeT leaders Hafiz Saeed and Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi in response to a lawsuit filed by relatives of two American victims accusing them of providing material support for the 26/11 attacks.
The 26-page lawsuit was filed before a New York Court on November 19 against the Inter-Services Intelligence and Lashkar-e-Toiba by the relatives Rabbi Gavriel Noah Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, who were both gunned down by militants at the Chhabad House in Mumbai. …
Read more : Express