By Sajjad Shaukat
Pakistan’s media anchors are so engaged in conducting controversial debate among rival political leaders that very important news could not get coverage on our TV channels. In this regard, internal security chief of Norway, Janne Kristiansen resigned on January 18 this year after revelation of confidential information that there “are intelligence agents, working in Pakistan.”
It is notable that while quoting reports from Afghanistan and Iran, ‘Pakistan Observer’ disclosed on January 27, 2012 that Indian secret agency, RAW and Israeli Mossad have stepped up their covert operations in supplying Russian SA-2 surface to air missiles and European sub-machine guns, communication equipments and rocket launchers to the militants and insurgents now active in Balochistan and FATA including Iran. The paper citing western media, indicated that Mossad has developed contacts with Jundullah [Baloch separatist group] terrorists using false-flags of America, while use of European and Scandinavian passports by Mossad is a common phenomenon.
In fact, RAW and Mossad are clandestinely working with the assistance of American CIA not only against Iran and China, but also Pakistan which is immediate target of these intelligence agencies. In this respect, on January 27, 2011, an American national David Raymond shot dead two Pakistani youths in Lahore. He was part of the illegal activities of the Blackwater, a notorious firm whose employees entered Pakistan in the guise of diplomats. The incident proved the presence of CIA agents under the cover of diplomats.
However, since 9/11, the role of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) was further accelerated to protect the country from external and internal threats, while fighting war against terrorism. In this context, Pakistan has been facing multiple subversive acts being conducted by CIA, RAW and Mossad which are not only conspiring against Islamabad from Afghanistan, but have also shifted their secret network inside Pakistan. Their agents have been creating unrest in our country on massive scale through suicide attacks, ethnic and sectarian violence and targeted killings—especially in Karachi and Balochistan.
Particularly, in the recent years, internally, ISI has thwarted the anti-Pakistan activities of the agents of Blackwater. In this respect, Blackwater and CIA had started recruiting Pakistani nationals who were vulnerable and could work on their payroll. In this context, with the pre-information of ISI, Pakistan’s police and other security agencies arrested a number of agents. For instance, on September 19, 2009, police raided the Inter-Risk, a private security company in Islamabad, and arrested its two employees, namely Tauqeer and Muhammad Khan, possessing unlicensed shotguns, handguns and ammunition. On the other side, US embassy spokesperson Richard Snelsire pretended, “The US contract with the Inter-Risk is to provide security at the embassy and consulates.”
Notably, on many occasions, ISI helped in stopping the clandestine activities of the CIA spies who were traveling in vehicles, covered with black mirrors, displaying themselves as diplomats. Sometimes weapons were snatched from them, and sometimes they were sent back to Islamabad.
Nevertheless, very differences started between Islamabad and Washington because Pakistan’s superior intelligence, ISI interrupted covert activities of these so-called diplomats. In this regard, 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 army and ISI.
Meanwhile, Islamabad continued its counter-terrorism and intelligence sharing cooperation with America. In this connection, ISI captured a number of renowned Al Qaeda commanders in Pakistan, and foiled many terrorist attempts through pre-arrests of the militants. For example in February, 2010, with the help of ISI, nine Taliban insurgents including the Afghan Taliban’s second in command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was arrested in Karachi.
It is of particular attention that during his meeting with the CIA Director Michael Morell in July, 2011, ISI DC, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha flatly told that we would continue anti-terror and intelligence sharing cooperation between the two agencies, but would never tolerate a private ‘network’ the CIA is secretly operating in Pakistan.
No doubt, it was due to the rejection of American undue demands by ISI DC, Lt. Gen. Shuja Pasha and his positive performance to protect the national interests of the country that CIA, RAW and Mossad accelerated subversive acts in Pakistan, particularly targeting ISI sub-headquarters, located in Lahore, Multan and Peshawar besides attacking the personnel of the agency at various places.
Especially, after Osama’s death on May 2011, US and Indian rulers including their media intensified their campaign against Pak Army and ISI. In this regard, in the in-camera session of the parliament, Islamabad decided to review its relationship with the United States. BBC quoted DG ISI Shuja Pasha, saying that Osama’s compound in Abbottbad was registered under a fake name. Earlier, he said that after the Tora Bora operation, Osama Bin Laden became an enemy of Pakistan. However, it was US intelligence failure as its CIA which is well-equipped with modern technology failed in detecting Osama in ten years. According to BBC, Pasha explained, “Nobody expressed their condolences over the 78 officials of the ISI who have been killed.”
It is mentionable that it was due to the professional competence of ISI in foiling the anti-Pakistan plot that US and India including their media intensified deliberate propaganda against ISI. In this respect, last year, US Admiral Mike Mullen (R) alleged that the Haqqani network is waging a ‘proxy war’ in Afghanistan with the assistance of ISI, and blamed for an assault on the US embassy in Kabul on September 20, 2011. But US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton admitted that there was no evidence about ISI about the bombing of US embassy, while US top officials are still blaming this agency for cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan. It shows American double game not only with Pakistan, but also with this agency.
At this critical juncture, while ISI is countering the sinister designs of external agents, it is most regrettable that without knowing the ground realities and services of this agency, just like the foreign enemy and their media, some political leaders, human rights activists and media anchors of Pakistan have been distorting the image of Pak Army—particularly ISI DG Shuja Pasha in relation to the memogate issue. But Lt. Gen. Pasha has left it to the Supreme Court to decide the case. In this context, what the difference one can note between our political leaders and media commentators who speak in tone of Pakistan’s external enemies in maligning ISI and its chief. It seems that some of our politicians and journalists are either on the payroll of US-led anti-Pakistan entities or they want to get good coverage in the western media by targeting ISI. No doubt, their such acts are benefiting the US and India which want to create a division between Pakistan’s civil and security agencies so as to cause further anarchy in the country.
In this respect, negative approach of these internal elements can be judged from the fact that on June 15 last year, 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. Human rights activist Asma Jehangir who is pro-American had also filed a case in the Supreme Court of Pakistan in this connection, and openly blamed this intelligence agency regarding Saleem’s assassination. Some American high officials had 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 evidence about ISI in this matter. Same is true about some Pakistan’s leaders of the PML (N) and Jamat-i-Islami who have repeatedly been criticising ISI in one way or the other.
Instead of implicating ISI in line of the foreign enemies, our internal elements must better know the role of this spy agency in maintaining the integrity of Pakistan. In this regard, apart from collection of accurate information about the external and internal agents, it keeps an open eye on the borders, assesses the schemes of any hostile power against Pakistan, counters subversion and protects nuclear assets of the country.
Now, subversive acts are continuously being arranged by CIA, RAW, Mossad and Afghan Khad in Pakistan including logistic support to the insurgents. Besides a number of recent developments such as Obama’s announcement of a defence strategy, which calls for greater US military presence in Asia—maintenance of six permanent bases in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign troops in 2014 and US-backed intermittent infiltration of militants in Pakistan from Afghanistan have compelled ISI to perform a very difficult job under very difficult circumstances. Despite its limited resources as compared to these external agencies, ISI has never failed in its objectives, though its role has been accelerated by the nefarious designs of these foreign secret agencies.
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