- Premier intel agency
Prime Minister Imran Khan seems to gel very nicely with the brass. His eight hour reception at the GHQ some days ago – after which he dispelled all doubts about civ-mil friction, etc – has now been followed by an equally long tour of the ISI head office. Now, after a detailed presentation about how the premier intelligence agency keeps the country safe no doubt, the prime minister is convinced that ISI is the best intelligence outfit in the world. Fortunately, the executive and the so called establishment really seem to be on the same page; which augurs well for the civilian government as it attempts to create a new Pakistan.
Indeed the ISI was hailed as an outstanding intelligence agency by no other than its close friends at the CIA, especially during and after the old Afghan war when the Soviets were the bad guys across the Durand Line. It played the central role, to put it mildly, in stitching together the country-wide web of mujahideen resistance fighters and bleeding the Russian bear ‘by a thousand cuts’. Later, when US-Pakistan interests diverged after the fall of the Iron Curtain, ISI and CIA moved apart too, with the latter now continuously accusing the former of sabotaging its present war in Afghanistan. The many successes of Pakistan’s own war against terror, however, could not have been possible without an able and efficient intelligence network, which is appreciated.
However, as good as the agency is at its work there is a need, now more than ever, of ensuring there is no more interference in the political process and all so called extra-curricular activities, which agencies across the world indulge in to a degree, come to an end. Pakistan has just achieved a second consecutive transfer of power from one civilian administration to another. And unless all institutions work together to put the country back on track, all efforts and sacrifices of the past decade would come to naught. Imran and the military have made a good start. Hopefully they will keep their interests aligned.