Islamabad versus Rawalpindi: the focus on ISI

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by ejazr, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Islamabad versus Rawalpindi: the focus on ISI - Indian Express

    The refusal to extend the tenure of the ISI Chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha is hardly a political triumph for Pakistan’s civilian leadership—President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

    There had been some speculation in the Pakistani media that Islamabad in deference to Rawalpindi, the city next door that hosts the Pakistan’s army’s headquarters, might keep Gen Pasha in office for a little longer.

    Last March, Gen Pasha got an extension in service for a year. A few months before that Islamabad give the army chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani a full second term of three years.

    Much has happened in Pakistan since then. The US Special Forces raided and executed Osama bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad right under the nose of the Pakistan army last May.

    As Rawalpindi struggled to cope with the loss of face, Zardari and Gilani missed an opportunity to confront the army and redefine civil military relations in Pakistan.

    No good deed, as they say, goes unpunished. If Zardari and Gilani let Kayani and Pasha off the hook, the army reciprocated by backing charges—under the so called 'memogate'—that Islamabad sought Washington’s help in putting Rawalpindi down in the tense days after the killing of bin Laden.

    In these circumstances, it would have been utterly self-demeaning if Zardari and Gilani had chosen to prolong Gen Pasha’s reign at the ISI. Islamabad’s role in the appointment of Lt Gen Zahirul Islam as the successor to Gen Pasha is not clear.

    Were Zardari and Gilani simply endorsing the army chief Gen Kayani’s choice or did they have a preference of their own?

    The civil military tussle in Pakistan has acquired a different

    dimension with the decision of the activist Supreme Court to relook at a 16-year old accusation that the ISI sought to influence the outcome of the 1990 general election.

    The former ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani told the Supreme Court that he had indeed distributed money, under the instruction of the then army chief, Gen. Aslam Beg, to some political parties.

    Gen. Beg, who rejected the charges, sought to put on a superior air before the Court. Slapped with contempt charges, Gen. Beg was quick to submit an apology.

    If the Supreme Court does find army and the ISI guilty of attempts to disrupt the 1990 general election and punishes the generals responsible for it, it would indeed be a real victory for the ‘bloody civilians’ in Pakistan.
     
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  3. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Pak Parliament looks to leash intel agencies - Indian Express

    Pakistan’s Parliament has sought enactment of a comprehensive law to regulate the functioning of intelligence and security agencies, and to stop practices like extra-judicial killings and detention of persons without charge.

    The National Assembly or lower house on Wednesday unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a comprehensive law and a framework to regulate the intelligence and security agencies. The resolution, moved by the opposition PML-N, was not opposed by the government.

    The House approved the setting up of an eight-member committee comprising lawmakers from the treasury and opposition benches to monitor progress on the issue of “missing persons”, or those detained without charge by security agencies. The House authorised the Speaker to set up the committee in consultation with the PM and the Leader of Opposition.

    Rights groups have alleged that hundreds of people have been detained by the agencies, particularly in Balochistan, but these charges have been rejected by the government and the security establishment.

    The opposition said the resolution was prompted by the plight of families of “missing persons” and the “grave allegations” levelled against agencies. The resolution demanded that the government should implement, without further delay, the SC orders, and the recommendations of an inquiry commission on enforced disappearances. The resolution called for enactment of legislation to resolve the issue of missing persons.

    Such legislation would also be in line with a recommendation made by a commission that had investigated the abduction and murder of journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad last year. The commission had recommended the adoption of a “comprehensive framework law to regulate the role and functioning of the intelligence and security agencies”. Journalists’ groups alleged that Shahzad was abducted by an intelligence agency after he wrote about the infiltration of the Navy by al-Qaeda.

    The National Assembly also resolved that a committee of lawmakers would prepare a report after consulting families of missing persons and representatives of security agencies, and submit it to the House in two months.
     

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