An open letter to General Pasha

Published: June 7, 2011

The writer was a Ford Scholar at the Programme in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security at UIUC (1997) and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy Studies Programme

Dear General Pasha,

I write this letter to you in the wake of the gruesome and gratuitous murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad, friend to many, including myself.

The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate, the agency you head, is being accused of Saleem’s murder. You must also know that the ISI is widely reviled and dreaded at home. For an agency that was set up primarily for strategic intelligence, this is quite an achievement. It is accused of driving in its own lane, monitoring the media, kidnapping, torturing and sometimes killing dissenters, political and otherwise, determining, arbitrarily, what Pakistan’s national interest is and how best we should go about pursuing it.

You must also know that some former officers have not only admitted to electoral fraud, rigging, making and breaking of political alliances, buying people through a mix of carrots and sticks, and browbeating the media, but consider having done so as part of their remit and in the best national interest. Perish the thought that any one of them would say peccavi, since some actually boast about it.

Whispers there always have been. But now much is being said aloud. The ISI is not accountable to anyone; it is all-powerful; it can kill mercilessly and, in this case, it has killed Saleem, so go these whispers. What would you say to this? Shrug and move on, as if it makes no difference, that this is about a few flies buzzing around, a minor nuisance at worst? The man, who now lies buried after being tortured to death, leaves behind three children and a wife. To me this does not look like anything minor.

And what has the agency you head done so far? Nothing, beyond getting an unnamed official to say that while the “unfortunate and tragic death of Syed Saleem Shahzad is a source of concern for the entire nation”, “the incident should not be used to target and malign the country’s security agencies”. Well, sir, to me this is totally unacceptable. What makes the security agencies exempt from criticism or accountability, especially if they are considered enemies by the very people they are supposed to protect?

I believe in giving everyone a fair hearing but the ISI has to do much more than get an unnamed official to issue a feeble condolence and follow it up with a veiled threat to the media to deserve such a hearing. And as far as maligning the agency is concerned or knowing what national interest is, this being no time for mincing words, let me assure you that I understand the theoretical and practical dimensions of statecraft better and more deeply than your entire agency. And I am not the only one.

Now, for a moment, let’s assume that the ISI has not killed Saleem. Let’s also assume that much of what is being said about the ISI is the product of a heat-oppressed civilian brain, not a reality. Perhaps you would still like to know why people think such things of the ISI. So, here goes.

Nation-states are not biological entities; they are, to use the cliché, ‘imagined communities’. This, as the starting point, should give you some idea about how easily the concept of the state and its interest can be problematised. Democratic states garner the loyalties of their people through a sense of sharing and participation, through constitutionalism. In comparison, totalitarian and oppressive states use fear to keep the flock together. History shows that the latter break up at some point. No amount of oppression can keep the people chained; it is only a matter of time. Instead, oppression begets violence and deep turmoil. The problem with oppression is thus that it attracts what it sets out to avoid. Therein lies both the irony and the paradox.

Allied with this point is the idea of civilian supremacy, the fact that while the state becomes overarching, those representing it at any point of time have to operate on the basis of accepted and acceptable rules of the game. They are all accountable through two levels of agency. The first and primary level of agency is granted by the people through elections to their representatives; the second, a much more restrictive level of agency, is accorded by the peoples’ representatives to bureaucratic institutions, including the military and its intelligence agencies.

You, sir, are therefore a servant twice over, as are all your officers and other personnel. You are answerable to our representatives and those representatives are answerable to us.

Obviously, theory does not match fact in Pakistan and it is this anomaly which has brought the country to the brink of disaster. I have said this before and I will say it again: The military-ISI combine has no business defining Pakistan’s interest. That is our job and we, the civilians, will do it through our representatives. Your job is to implement, not formulate, policies.

Since it is your job to identify threats, you must understand the deep fault lines developing in this state. Today’s disarray is the product of flawed policies and even more flawed attempts at nation-building. Strategic vision, like charity, begins at home. If the people of this country feel proud to be Pakistanis, you will have that strength at your back. If they don’t, that makes you very weak too. And you can’t beat people into submission; nor kill them and expect all will be hunky-dory.

It is all about the fundamentals. Unless you get the fundamentals right, no amount of cloak-and-dagger stuff will reduce the threats the country faces. In fact, given what the people think about the agency you head, one of the biggest evolving threats appears to emanate from an organisation whose very reason for existence is to identify and evaluate threats to this state. Could there be a deeper irony than this?

I met you the first time in November 2007 when you were director-general military operations. I know you to be a straight-talking soldier. I would expect that you would do everything to prove that Saleem was not murdered by the ISI. Conversely, if the spoor is traced back to your agency, that you would ensure that whoever is responsible for it, no matter how highly placed, would face the law as a common murderer. That is the only honourable thing to do and nothing less would do, or be acceptable. That is also the only way you can save this country.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (243)

  • Jun 7, 2011 - 11:53PM

    These people should reread the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and their own oath as officers, and then tell all of us how we are the ones who dont know whats in the “nations interest”. Recommend

  • Shan
    Jun 8, 2011 - 12:07AM

    we need more people to speak as boldly as you haveRecommend

  • Javed
    Jun 8, 2011 - 12:08AM

    Not only very well written but very courageously written as well. Recommend

  • Saad Duraiz
    Jun 8, 2011 - 12:13AM

    Brilliantly worded Ejaz Sahib! Just hope Gen. Pasha reads this!Recommend

  • Nosheen
    Jun 8, 2011 - 12:22AM

    Right on. Your best piece ever, thank you. Recommend

  • billo
    Jun 8, 2011 - 12:32AM

    “I understand the theoretical and practical dimensions of statecraft better and more deeply than your entire agency.” And where did you gain this practical knowledge of statecraft Ejaz? Prostrating the role of the journalist-scholar in the service of power and statecraft is a frightening prospect we need to move away from. Not that I necessarily disagree with what you are saying, but lets dial the ego back a notch. Also, your abiding and unshakable faith in the army and ISI to “save this country” is somewhat bizarre. We need to get over the mindset that the country belongs to the military to save. Let the military simply stand out of the way of the people. Democracy may be a slow-paced saviour, but it is the only one. Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 12:33AM


    every word resonates here.

    have not much hope of how pasha would fathom your words


    my prayers are for the safety and well being of you and others in your fraternity who are at last speaking out eloquently and clearlyRecommend

  • bhupinder
    Jun 8, 2011 - 12:42AM

    Hats off to Ejaz Haider for this hard hitting and blunt letter. I wish him well and pray that he is not targetted by the same people who did Saleem Shahzad in.Recommend

  • Shock Horror
    Jun 8, 2011 - 12:44AM

    I admire you, on this occasion, for your hard hitting and to the point article. No more dancing around, as in your last article, in Express Tribune. I hope Shuja Pasha takes notice of you and acts. Otherwise, three years down the line, he will be appearing on talk shows, to make claims about what he did as ISI chief, like Hamid Gul, and Asad Durrani.Recommend

  • Kashif Iqbal
    Jun 8, 2011 - 12:56AM

    This falls like a drone attack on General Pasha. Hats off to Mr. Ejaz.Recommend

  • SaudiRules
    Jun 8, 2011 - 1:00AM


  • Jun 8, 2011 - 1:02AM

    @Ejaz Bhai, very eloquently put, the voice of almost all sane Pakistanis. Sir hats off to you. This is the truth and as we know to discredit it all lame excuses such as patriotism and conspiracies are used as a facade. Long live Ejas Haider, you the man.Recommend

  • Aryabhat
    Jun 8, 2011 - 1:19AM

    Wow! What an article Ejazssab! Kudos and more Kudos to your bravery, clarity of thought and for speaking an honest truth! Kudos to ET for publishing this!

    Yes, whether ISI is involved, or not, this world’s best in HUMINT agency must find who did Mr Shahzad’s gory murder. That would be an act of redeeming itself a little bit.

    Strategic policy formulation is a civilian business world over. About time it happens so in Pakistan too. However, I believe things would go worse before it gets better on that front.

    I must say last week when I read your article on death of Mr Saleem Shahzad, I had criticised you for avoiding pointing finger at ISI or even mentioning “Deep state” and its actors may have something to do with it. I thought you had malign intention, selfishness perhaps – why fight a lossing battle mindset.

    I am happy that someone in their right mind had not published my comments – as I would have been publicaly ashamed it. Anway, I must own it and an honourable thing is to say Sorry to you publically! I tender unreserved apology to you Ejazsaab!Recommend

  • Bilal Burki
    Jun 8, 2011 - 1:30AM

    Thank you for having courage and for calling a spade a spade! Recommend

  • zwandun
    Jun 8, 2011 - 1:45AM

    I agree with everything you said. Loved it. may the likes of you mulitiplyRecommend

  • sandy
    Jun 8, 2011 - 1:47AM

    well spoken, a million times over, well spoken!!Recommend

  • Khobar From United Kingdom
    Jun 8, 2011 - 1:52AM

    Very brave man and very bold letter to chief spymaster. The whole world is pointing fingers at the ISI as there are irrevocable signatures left by the murderer belonging to this reviled organisation.

    I feel utterly proud of Ejaz Haider who, without mincing his words, has taken on pharaonic generals who consider themselves unaccountable. There should be a judicial commission headed by the CJP and if it finds someone else responsible for this gruesome murder then ISI sta ds exonerated and will garner lot of trust from the citizens. Recommend

  • abrar
    Jun 8, 2011 - 1:56AM

    cc: to KiyaniRecommend

  • realist
    Jun 8, 2011 - 1:58AM

    bravo ejaz bravo!Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jun 8, 2011 - 2:06AM

    Dear Ejaz, I salute you and your craziness. You are 100% right. However, I don’t want you to be dead right! I hope against hope that your article can raise the dead solider in ISI. On my part I have no hope for any positive change in near future. You are expecting the right thing from people who have been committing multiple acts of treason and throwing judges and their families in detention for protecting constitution. They have nothing but disdain againt their slaves bloody civilians. I would be happy if I were wrong. Recommend

  • Faheem
    Jun 8, 2011 - 2:11AM

    Loud applause for the writer!! Recommend

  • Rehan
    Jun 8, 2011 - 2:14AM

    I don’t think I’ve ever had as much respect for anyone as I have for Mr. Ejaz Haider right now. Articles like these are just what this nation needs right now. I salute your bravery, and your commitment to your people’s better future. Great article!Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 2:26AM

    This piece, Mr. Haider, while written with good intentions, is confused collection of unrelated points. It is obviously an attempt by you to show your ‘independent credentials’ after the previous column where you – rightly – questioned the one-sided accusations against ISI without evidence. National interests of any State are defined and imposed by the strategic environment, and not by spy agencies. For you to suggest that ISI would define those interests is ridiculous. Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto expanded religious madrassas and sponsored Afghan tribals against the pro-Soviet govt in Kabul in early 1970s. Didn’t he as a visionary politicial define this national Pakistani interest based on circumstances on the ground? Or was it ISI then that dictated the definition of national interest? For you to confuse the issue of Saleem Shahzad’s murder with the separate issue of definition of national interest is ridiculous to say the least. For someone who has been writing with reason and logic, it is unfortunate to see you here riding the anti-Pakistani military wave, which has its roots outside Pakistan. Address the truth, not the gallery, Mr. Ejaz.Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 2:38AM

    Is it not strange that CIA, RAW and other worldly intelligence agencies are above the law even in India extra judicial detentions, tortures and killings are not uncommon and why Pakistan’s ISI in being hit particularly. Interesting, in America there is a issue raised by some investigative journalists that President Obama was planted a president of America by CIA as there is ample evidence that Obama’s family had close ties with CIA in 1960s. Is it not a strange thing that Ilyas Kashmiri was also killed in a deadly drone attack after a few days of Saleem Shahzad who had close links with Kashmiri as Shahzad was the only person who interviewed Kashmiri and his last story also confirmed there still close links. There is something fishy in this whole episode and Ijaz Haider’s open letter appeared at last at the result of the criticism of Mak Lodhi and others. Recommend

  • Pakistan Khan
    Jun 8, 2011 - 2:54AM

    God save you from the wrath of our intelligence agencies who have turned into a mafia.Recommend

  • Ajay
    Jun 8, 2011 - 2:55AM

    This is the best homage to the slain journalist !

    Perhaps Ejaz is the 1st PAkistani to have delivered just the right message to the Army and the ISI ! I don’t think even US could do the job so effectively.

    Pakistanis, if you are looking for PM material, here is the guy ! Likes of Imran Khan have no idea what the problems are and how the message needs to be delivered. They love praise and adulation of the masses but do not service to them. It is useles to talk about Gillani, Nawaz, Shabaz or that actor ex-FM- Qureshi.

    Delivering the right mesage at the right time to the right audience is the duty of every good leader !! All the joker leaders in Pakistan have been quite as geedars !Recommend

  • Nasir Jamshed
    Jun 8, 2011 - 2:57AM

    ISI and to a lesser extent army are both out of control. They pretty much do what they want to. I appreciate your bravery in writing this article.Recommend

  • Obsever from UK
    Jun 8, 2011 - 3:15AM

    Salut Ejaz vous etes magnifique. Recommend

  • Javed X
    Jun 8, 2011 - 3:17AM

    Thank you! Pakistan has become heaven of fascists – weather they be feudal, religious, or military/ISI. The real question is will Pakistanis succumb to this fascism or will we raise above it? I’m sure Gen. Pasha and his cohorts will not heed the anger of the nation. They will do what they have always done – when all you have is have is a hammer, everything starts looking like a nail. So they will continue to on their path to suppress anybody who questions their world view and false narrative based on existential threat from India. Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 3:22AM

    I love it when scholars don’t mince words – when they have the courage to speak truth to the power. We know it can be fatal, therefore, I salute Mr. Haider for speaking for us all.

    It is time now for our civilian leadership to borrow some courage from the likes of Mr. Haider as well. Ignoring the need to establish supremacy over the intelligence community would be a grave mistake on the part of Pakistan’s civilian government. Reducing the role of the military in the intelligence sector will allow the government to consolidate itself domestically, so it should be a top priority.

    Although reform to intelligence agencies will be difficult, the good news is that with patience, resolve, and international assistance, Pakistan’s government can indeed reassert civilian control over the intelligence community. Luckily for Pakistan, there are predecessors to take notes from. Indonesia and Chile have both undergone transformations in the intelligence arena and have plenty to offer Pakistan by way of example.

    Intelligence agencies reform in Indonesia and Chile became a reality after media began exposing the atrocities and, people had the courage to reject authoritarianism. Reform of the murky Indonesian intelligence service, Badan Intelijen Negara (BIN), were spurred by revelations that emerged in the trial of the alleged killer of the country’s top human right activist.

    Munir Said Thalib, died from arsenic poisoning while on a flight on Garuda, Indonesia’s national airline, from Jakarta to Amsterdam via Singapore on Sept. 7, 2004. Indonesian media exposed the hands behind Munir’s murder.

    Extensive exposure by the mass media of the massive human rights violations and power abuse by the Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI), led to the abrupt breakdown in its public image. And, the abolition of “Dwifungsi ABRI” (the dual-function of the military) became a major demand of the pro-democracy movement.

    I am hoping Saleem Shahzad’s murder will prompt changes in Pakistan but for that to happen Pakistani media’s role is necessary to question the functioning of ISI. I hope others will join Mr. Haider ….Recommend

  • Roflcopter
    Jun 8, 2011 - 3:23AM

    God bless the ISIRecommend

  • Srinath
    Jun 8, 2011 - 3:25AM

    Kudos to Ejazbhai for letting his heart find the words this time around. His last piece understandably drew flak. If intellectuals and scribes muster a fraction of the courage that Shahzad did in uncovering the unholy links and dark deeds of the establishment, and engage the nation in a honest debate on the questionable role of the Army and spooks, that would be the greatest tribute to the slain hero and a signal contribution to the society. Recommend

  • Tauqeer
    Jun 8, 2011 - 3:42AM

    wow, salutes mr.ejaz you are the man, did you forget yourself, who you are??? what was you throughout your studies?? you were so shameless and pathetic and now you wanna teach others and tell them to be ashamed of theirselves. come on, you are the weapons of western interests, you are the black sheeps of media and enemies of pakistan. I don’t know how can i let others know about your reality. you and likes of you deserves a book to be written on, but a book which takes off the mask from the face of media…. hmm who is gonna publish that… you guys will live and live long and keep on driving people in the opposite direction. and at last destroy pakistan. syed saleem did something that should be stopped. approching to secret stuff of your own interest is never good for you mr. never.Recommend

  • Babloo
    Jun 8, 2011 - 3:45AM

    Too little. Too late.
    Mr Ejaz Haider, has spent years, propogating the theories and agenda of ISI/Aarmy, cloaked in the most estructive term invented , ‘national interest’.
    Its such conduct, which has contributed to national decay.Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 3:45AM

    General Pasha reads The News. Great article nevertheless.
    It is all about the fundamentals Reminded me of Mohsin Hamid.Recommend

  • Ali Wazir
    Jun 8, 2011 - 3:46AM

    Bravo Sir….. Do keep a ticket out of the country..these ppl dont appreciate honesty..Recommend

  • Emmon Khan
    Jun 8, 2011 - 4:00AM

    Simply majistic Ejaz Haider!!! You have really really marvolously spoken the heart of all Pakistanis! I wish these blind and deaf and dumb guys: the ISI and other so-called saviours of Pakistan will listen. Kindly keep safe after this!!!Recommend

  • Muhammad Tayyab Tayyab
    Jun 8, 2011 - 4:05AM

    Dear Sir/Brother,
    The Writer of this column, i am ordinary civilian, not linked to any govt. agency of dept … YES i do feel pain of Mr. Saleem brutal murder …

    kindly do not jump on to conclusion, before proper investigation of the case… We are in “Middle Of Terror” means multiple Anti-Pakistani forces are exercising there tactics to harm our beloved nation, since ISI is 1st line of defense of Pakistan so they are doing anything to break this defense line at any cost… (the only way to beat break ISI security, to make Peoples of Pakistan against this organization)

    We are humans, not puppets of anyone… your knowledge about ISI is good enough, have to made any research on CIA or RAW or MI6 ? (believe me they all do same type of tactics)

    Example: Real peoples 9/11 complainer or witness never been on “world Stage” which power has turned them down ? ……simply …CIA (in USA)

    People benefited by “Spectrum Scandal” are protected by RAW (in india)

    in simple words… every Intelligence Agency has history of “tasks” contradicted to own nations law or Internationale laws

    I just like to say, ISI and all Forces of Pakistan are responsible and professionals institutes, they do have self-diagnostic and self-Correction systems, which are 24/7 active and focused on officers and individuals working in respected organizations…

    Yes, each organization has self made limits of tolerance of errors, they do systematically act within that limits … for your information “killing/murder” is beyond limit of any security organization…!!!

    i know you are journalist, your vision might be more wider than my experience, i am somebody who has spent years on research on this topic….

    can you answer me following ?

    Q) What is Asia Times ? web based newspaper ?
    how many such newspapers can be made to “Hire” best journalist to assign “spy jobs” ?

    when Pakistan is target of Multi-Powers, we suppose to be careful to start “blame game” on national security organizations

    (i am deeply sorry if i had hurt you or might be my message has any error)

    Pakistan Zindaabad
    fi aman AllahRecommend

  • Imran
    Jun 8, 2011 - 4:53AM

    I can already see Mr Pasha peeing in his trousers after reading this piece………..NOT.Recommend

  • shair khan
    Jun 8, 2011 - 5:13AM

    Hats off to Ejaz Haider. I also hope Ejaz that you do not live in Pakistan.

    I DO NOT expect ISI to do any thing.

    Rumors are that all the phone record of his and his family before his killing are lost. Recommend

  • ahmed
    Jun 8, 2011 - 5:35AM

    He wrote exactly what we civilian thinks about them.i like it its not you G.Pasha.or Military
    its civilian who will make the policies and rules for you to obey and implement with the ordors of civilian .


  • Mir Agha
    Jun 8, 2011 - 5:49AM

    Seems like conspiracy theories against an ineffective ‘deep state’ are fine, but pointing out the complete failure of the ‘civilians’ and their leftists warmongers is not. Recommend

  • sundar
    Jun 8, 2011 - 6:02AM

    Mr. Haider I am really worried for your safety. Please take care.Recommend

  • K B Kale
    Jun 8, 2011 - 6:04AM

    You are absolutely right! Your comment “your abiding and unshakable faith in the army and ISI to “save this country” is somewhat bizarre” reminded me of another comment on Tribune. The writer had called Pakistan’s Armed Forces as a “bunch of self-glorified nincompoops who have yet to win a single war!”
    How true!Recommend

  • Dr. Aslam
    Jun 8, 2011 - 6:05AM

    Great article. ISI and army must change their mindset.Recommend

  • Syed Najam Uddin
    Jun 8, 2011 - 6:06AM

    What a self aggrandizing piece and a delusional indictment of ISI. Keep to writing Dear Mr. President emails Ijaz your much better there with the ponytail ofcourse.Recommend

  • Abbas from the USA
    Jun 8, 2011 - 6:13AM

    Mr Haider,

    Commendable recognition of your journalistic reponsiblity.
    As I said earlier, it will be only journalists like yourself and Syed Saleem Shazad willing to fullfill their sacred duty to the Pakistani people who will help possibly bring about this long overdue change.
    I wish someone like you had stepped upto the plate and spoken up in 1970-1971 when West Pakistani civilian politicians along with the Armed Forces chiefs had teamed up to deprive the elected majority of their right to form the Government.
    But nevertheless your courageous decision to speak up deserves applaud from the Pakistani nation as well as the diaspora.
    First of all these questions should have come from the civilian government, but their lust for power has disabled them from the discharge of their duties towards the Constitution of Pakistan. It is high time the the Armed forces were made subservient to civilian authority.
    Although your colleague paid for with his life in the quest for truth, I can only wish the best and hope Pakistani journalists will stand behind you.
    Thank you sir you have taken the first step.Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 6:33AM

    Eloquently put, Ejaz sahab! I wish it does not fall on deaf ears this time. Recommend

  • vasan
    Jun 8, 2011 - 6:56AM

    Ejaz Haider, Pl take care of your security, sir. ISI should be dismantled and prosecuted. No other solution for the salvation of pakistan. Recommend

  • oracle
    Jun 8, 2011 - 7:32AM

    i totally agre wuth your comments and analaysis. I would just like to add that it is of utmost importance that the armed forces of any country can only succeed in the discharge of their duties to defend the state ,if fro they are backed by the respect and love of the people for their soldiers.
    i ask if the people of pakistan have such sentiments ?

    a few years back an incoming army chief was asked his opinion on the threat perception from the pakistan army. his reponse was telling. he responded that the pakistan army was no longer in the business of war; it was in the business of real estate.

    And why has the army abdicated its primary role of defending the frontiers by out -sourcing its responsibilty to jihadee organistaions.

    and what about giving osama sanctuary within a kilometer from the kakul academy. do the expect us to believe that ,they were innocently ignorant. if indeed they did not know then they are guilty of gross incometence which is even worse.

    many people now believe that there no existential threat to pakistan fro india or
    other neighbours. its only projected to garner a major portion of the revenues of the state.

    and why shouldnt their budget not come under public scrutiny. arm purchases are no secret since long—pick up JANES and it will tell you all.

    at a time when the country is reeling under an economic crunch the armed forces continue to buy toys that we dont need. it has even increased its budget for the next year.
    they should pause and think and stop oppressing the people of pakistan by sucking up resources which can be utilised for the anelioration of health education clean drinking water.Recommend

  • paindo
    Jun 8, 2011 - 7:44AM

    bold and constructive, thank you ejaz hyderRecommend

  • White Russian
    Jun 8, 2011 - 8:04AM

    The good one.Recommend

  • Babar Khan Javed
    Jun 8, 2011 - 8:25AM

    The ISI are what stand between the peace you citizens have now and a macro scale invasion from our enemies.

    Your ungrateful stand has been noted.Recommend

  • AD
    Jun 8, 2011 - 8:27AM

    Writing letter to ISI head?Darn…..Situation has crossed the limits. Send an SOS to UN.Recommend

  • ghazni
    Jun 8, 2011 - 8:46AM

    Fantastic my honourable. In this article you have worked as our mouth-piece. We hope you will keep up this new style. Thanks Recommend

  • crime master gogo
    Jun 8, 2011 - 9:10AM

    execellent piece of writing. May Allah swt save you from the wrath of Intelligence Agencies if they were behind murder of Salim or those hidden hands that are trying to malign the image of ISI.Recommend

  • Muhammad
    Jun 8, 2011 - 9:15AM

    “I understand the theoretical and practical dimensions of statecraft better and more deeply than your entire agency.”

    An egoistic claim Ejaz! Put yourself in the same shoes and you will experience theory is far different than reality.

    Interestingly Washington Think Tanks like The Middle East Institute is also holding a session on “Inside Pakistan’s ISI” on 13 June. I hope such events are not linked with op-eds appearing in local media.

    Wish you sanity Recommend

  • Sanjeev Jha
    Jun 8, 2011 - 9:29AM

    The best respect for Saleem Sehzaad is to speak TRUTH and Ejaz bhai you have done the same.

    Two paralles – This is the first time i am seeing people in Pakistan asking question from their military masters, and in India people asking tough and truthfull question from politician on corruption.

    Both of the objectives needs to reach their conclusive ends, its worth coming on the street for the reason.Recommend

  • Thinking_mind
    Jun 8, 2011 - 9:43AM

    Irony, the agency which exists to protect Pakistan is doing exactly the opposite.

    Great job, Ejaz!!!! Keep it up…. Recommend

  • SAAwais
    Jun 8, 2011 - 9:43AM

    Times are indeed changing. The mere fact that such a piece could appear in the mainstream print media gives me unbridled hope that we soon would be able to turn the tide and finally make our motherland a truly democratic state as envisaged by the founder of this rather unfortunate nation. Well done Mr. Haider!

    Long Live Pakistan!Recommend

  • Shaukat Qadir
    Jun 8, 2011 - 9:44AM

    sometimes you surprise even me.
    Wonderfully, courageously written, well supported by the science of democratic norms, and yet not overboard.
    Extremely well done.

  • [email protected]
    Jun 8, 2011 - 9:54AM

    i hope Gen pasha reads it and learn somethingRecommend

  • ashok sai
    Jun 8, 2011 - 10:03AM

    At last, outburst from a fellow journalist.

    @ Ejaz & ET

    This is the first step, a pat on back to both of you as too much compliments makes you complacent. Continue with your good work. Recommend

  • Shahid Saeed
    Jun 8, 2011 - 10:08AM

    ISI in particular and Army in general has brought more misery to people of Pakistan than any outside enemy. This is time to call the spade a spade. ISI needs to be restructured and brought under civilian control. Nothing less will make citizens safe and Pakistan survive as a nation state. If there is no fear that these rouge defenders will join terrorists, better to dismantle agency altogether and give the task to MI for defense purposes. Recommend

  • Shahid Saeed
    Jun 8, 2011 - 10:15AM

    ISI in particular and Army in general has brought more misery to people of Pakistan than any outside enemy. This is time to call the spade a spade. ISI needs to be restructured and brought under civilian control. Nothing less will make citizens safe and Pakistan survive as a nation state. If there is no fear that these rouge defenders will join terrorists, better to dismantle agency altogether and give the task to MI for defense purposes.

    Who has given the mandate to these little educated men with IQ level below room temperature to define what ‘national interest’ is? This is we, the people to define. I do agree with Ijaz that we does so through our representatives. Not through these Duffers who always failed in performing their duty and are active to takeover the duty of parliament.

    If Pasha fails to handover his guys to face trial, we should hold a public trial and ask parliament to declare his agency ‘enemy of state’ and ban it. Enough is enough, either they should accept accountability and civilian rule or should cease to act as an organisation under state.

    . Recommend

  • ashwin
    Jun 8, 2011 - 10:15AM

    you are true centrist, well done.Hope fully you do not face any negative repercussion for your piece.Anyways Good luck with building a better and promising Pakistan. Recommend

  • Shahid Saeed
    Jun 8, 2011 - 10:32AM

    @Muhammad Tayyab

    Why you need to assure others that you do not belong to army or agency?

    Job of ISI is to identify threat and not to act as police, court and executor. They run terrorist camps, they kidnap and torture people and they do kill. Nothing of that is secret. Should not they be accountable for these crimes?
    Let us assume that Saleem Shehzad was bad guy (which he was not) and was working for a website which is against Pakistan, Is that enough to kidnap and kill him? Then we should shut the courts and policing system and give these funds to ISI to do the justice.
    3.If ISI is not involved in mirder and beliving your conspiracy theories, is not it agency’s job to being the murderers of a Pakistani to justice? ISI is rather threatening his family. There is evidence that they promised to HRW and his wife that Saleem Shehzad will be released.
    The major concern here is that ISI should not act as a court and executor but act under the law of land. It should not formulate policies but act on directions of civilians. Is it too much to ask?

    Your comments the mindset of ISI which itself is biggest threat to Pakistan and its people. We have to choose from Pakistan and ISI, certainly I will go for Pakistan as I do not have another country. Agency we can built, if we survived as a nation, which is more important. Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 10:39AM

    Sir jee! you have cha-ed… Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 10:41AM

    @Ejazhaider – Kia baat hai apki!
    This piece reminded me of that speech Khawaja Asif delivered during a session of the National Assembly tellin the Army- its generals in specific- how it was and how it needed to be… that speech was less factual and academic in its content …

    The insights on concepts of State/Public Policy/Publicadmin coupled with the elegant flow of this piece make it special…Bohat Ala!!
    Straight from the heart and for that I think this takes 5 out of 5 Jaleibis.
    Rating: @@@@@ – Job done great!!Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 10:43AM

    Dear Genl. Pasha: You may have done commendable services for Your Country and People for which you have been overloaded with Awards and Rewards..But its about time to PackUp and go Home…Recommend

  • Timur Beg
    Jun 8, 2011 - 10:47AM

    Gen Pasha,
    I hope you have read the article.Think deeply about it.Recommend

  • Khurram
    Jun 8, 2011 - 10:55AM

    Well said. We hope against the hope that Pasha will not order for your head.Recommend

  • narayana murthy
    Jun 8, 2011 - 11:05AM

    @ Mohammad Tayyab, who says “People benefited by “Spectrum Scandal” are protected by RAW (in india)”.

    I never read this in Indian news papers. Perhaps, you have people who have penetrated RAW.

    If you say CBI is protecting these people, is possible. Because, CBI is government’s puppet. However, most people who had direct links and evidences in spectrum scandal are behind bars.

    By the way, good article, however, these days (since Osama’s death), I’m reading many such articles. Some targeting the army and others targeting ISI. Has it made any difference? Time will tell.Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 11:07AM

    It’s really sad what happened to Saleem Shahzad, but I’m sure there’ll be no results…Recommend

  • narayana murthy
    Jun 8, 2011 - 11:09AM

    Mr. Agha says “Seems like conspiracy theories against an ineffective ‘deep state’ are fine, but pointing out the complete failure of the ‘civilians’ and their leftists warmongers is not.”

    I think, in Pakistan’s case, civilian government has been browbeaten by army ALL THE TIME. I don’t know if, Jinnah’s regime had to face this problem, but I’m 100% sure that the following civilian governments never had a free hand at governing the country. Recommend

  • Ali
    Jun 8, 2011 - 11:33AM

    Wow! In our country, every Tom, Dick and Harry is a statesman! No wonder we are such a successful and envied society…Recommend

  • Nasrat Baloch
    Jun 8, 2011 - 11:37AM

    I wish Ejaz Haider could go beyond Saleem Shezad and not been specific on journalists only.Recommend

  • Umair
    Jun 8, 2011 - 11:45AM

    I hope the author also realizes the irony that underlies the piece. He is asking the alleged tormentor to subject itself to justice. We wouldn’t have been in this mess in the first place, if the Generals and minions that run the ISI-military combine were that level-headed and fair-minded to subject themselves and their policies to self-criticism. I do agree with the point that military should not formulate policy but , in my view, the author is barking up the wrong tree. The ISI-military combine will never open itself to any accountability; whether it is about the murder of a journalist or the inner working of its wider policy making process, unless it is forced to do so by elements beyond its control. The current civilian setup is too week to be that force. We need a few more debacles at the magnitude of 1971 and Operation Geronimo to have any hope of making that happen. The irony!.Recommend

  • A. R.
    Jun 8, 2011 - 11:54AM

    For all those saying that ISI killed Saleem Shahzad, I simply ask if you have any proof? Even if circumstantial evidence points to the ISI they are innocent until proven guilty by the law of civilization. Second, how many of you have bothered to investigate Asia Times Online for whome SS worked? It is an Indian front organisation with the sole aim of defaming Pakistan. I wish the journalist community that is so quick to identify with SS would do some investigations. Third, 15 journalists were killed this year, why was none noticed by Secretary Clinton and UN Secretary General? Fourth, his last article in AsiaTimesOnline had the sole purpose of diverting attention away from India and towards Taliban while giving a stupid theory that mullah Bardar gave away the location of Osama Bin Laden in return for an American withdrawal from Afghanistan. Why was he writing such nonsense? Sixth, according to his own profile on AsiaTimesOnline, his speciality was the power sector and aviation. Doesn’t it seem odd that suddenly he was interviewing Ilyas Kashmiri, Hakeemullah and other militants who specifically target Pakistan? I wish people would do some investigation before jumping on the bandwagonRecommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 11:56AM

    Well done Ejaz, buck up Ejaz, great piece Ejaz, be careful Ejaz, salute to you Ejaz, bla bla. This is what all you wanted to hear? So heard it? Must be feeling happy now especially when the applauses are heard from the enemy gallery? In the whole piece I agree with only one thing that “If the people of this country feel proud to be Pakistanis, you will have that strength at your back. If they don’t, that makes you very weak too.” And you are polluting their minds so they should feel ashamed thus weakening the Army’s back. As one Babur Chughtai rightly commented that “For someone who has been writing with reason and logic, it is unfortunate to see you here riding the anti-Pakistani military wave, which has its roots outside Pakistan. Address the truth, not the gallery, Mr. Ejaz”.
    When the salvo comes via Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy Studies Program, when one points a direct and deliberate accusing finger at someone without any solid proof, when every member of a ‘Pack’ starts dancing on the same symphony and when the kettle starts calling the pots black then don’t expect that your ‘straight forwardness will have any worth, ‘Mr. Upright’. Bashing ISI and the Army has become a fashion these days and above all you are doing a fine job by pleasing your Masters. After all you have to return the favors. I am damn sure that now it will be said that this is written by some ISI agent because what you people say, qualifies as the freedom of press but what others say is always said by agents. Everyone knows the hidden links of Cafe Piyala, Bolta Pakistan, Daily Times, Apas ki Baat and many others but very few knows that this venom is spitted by a military academy thrown out disgruntle dude. Please do tell your fans that why you were booted out from PMA. Now don’t say that it was again for your straight forwardness.
    Saleem Shahzad’s death is no doubt a heinous crime and the culprits should be brought to justice but the lead and direction you people are giving shows the depth of your honesty, sincerity and respect for the forces.
    Muzaffar Ali Sial rightly pointed out that, “Is it not a strange thing that Ilyas Kashmiri was also killed in a deadly drone attack after a few days of Saleem Shahzad who had close links with Kashmiri as Shahzad was the only person who interviewed Kashmiri and his last story also confirmed there still close links?” Why don’t your honesty and bravery consider CIA or RAW as the suspected culprits? Simply, because they are orchestrating the notes that compel you to dance. Pity the Nation that has a media like a Bull in China Shop. By the way, well done Ejaz, keep it up. After all that’s what you desperately expecting from your readers.Recommend

  • Saad Durrani
    Jun 8, 2011 - 12:02PM

    I am not sure from which region you are but honorable peoples honor the death of their loved ones first. Last week, he wrote a plain obituary. This week, he played it to his strengths. Recommend

  • Nabiha Chauhdry
    Jun 8, 2011 - 12:05PM

    The class that Ejaz Haider is! Brilliantly done..Recommend

  • A J Khan
    Jun 8, 2011 - 12:05PM

    This is all rhetoric and public speaking. The courts have proved their independence. Media trial is frivolous and trivial. Remedy should be sought in the court and not through slander.Recommend

  • Aristo
    Jun 8, 2011 - 12:10PM

    I, personally fully endorse your letter and feel perhaps that it is indeed the voice of our nation. If we could just rally back on your letter and turn this into a movement but then reality hits and reminds that all of the things you said in the letter would fall on deaf ears, as no one can put sense in the mind of those who are headed towards self- annihilation. Recommend

  • Omer
    Jun 8, 2011 - 12:16PM


    There you go, you hand him/ISI the baton again…

    “That is also the only way you can save this country.”

    I think the idea of them saving the country on their own is where the problem started..?!Recommend

  • mind control
    Jun 8, 2011 - 12:25PM

    @Ejaz Haider


    A much needed and welcome departure from your take on the same issue in Pakistan Today.I hope the soul searching leads to some home truths. And lets hope the home truths lead to a different wotld view. And lets hope the changed world view leads to a better Pakistan.

    All the best.Recommend

  • Feroz
    Jun 8, 2011 - 12:38PM

    This letter is going to have the same effect as a dog barking at a wild Elephant. We can all pat ourselves on the back on writing such public letters but do little else when even the peoples elected leaders(Parliament) cower in fear and lack the courage to challenge the Khaki uniform.Recommend

  • sarim
    Jun 8, 2011 - 12:43PM

    excellent article. Pen without courage is like an impotent man. May God save you from the wrath of ISI and the mandarins of military.Recommend

  • Independent from UK
    Jun 8, 2011 - 12:59PM

    @asif chauhdary:
    I don’t think you are speaking from your own conscience.
    Your testimonial in favour of ISI and other agencies will not sway the opinion in favour of these hideous operatives who inflict pain on many with impunity. The people have broken taboo and have gathered courage to ask pertinent questions to these generals. The reign of generals is over. Rest assured who so ever you are.Recommend

  • Shahid Saeed
    Jun 8, 2011 - 1:05PM

    GREAT piece, Ejaz Sb.!
    Am reminded of Shaw: ‘But I dream things that never were; and I say, Why not?’

  • parvez
    Jun 8, 2011 - 1:10PM

    You have done the Press / Media proud.Recommend

  • sri
    Jun 8, 2011 - 1:16PM

    @Muzaffar Ali Sial:
    If people of Pakistan want an agency which can guide its democracy, then it is for them to decide.But trying to equate ISI with RAW won’t help. It can only help the Establishment in Pakistan to deny democratic rights to its people. Yes there are human rights violations in India too. But RAW’s operations do not even compare remotely with the ‘exploits’ of ISI .In fact, even in the days of Emergency, during the mid 70′s, when there was a spurt in HR violations, nobody blamed RAW. May be you should try better excuses. Recommend

  • Manoj
    Jun 8, 2011 - 1:19PM

    It seems Pakistani common citizen has finally come to the conclusion that most of their misfortune are created by the internal forces like power hungray, money sucking politician and army.

    Hence, I belive, time is ripe for all the honest, upright and people of repute to give voice to the anger of the people, and best way will be to go for a mass base non violent struggle to get rid of the present govt. They should force the govt. to call for a fresh election in which civil society get thier own candidates elelcted, write a new constitution with fundamental rights and relgious equality as the core values. Go for a no war pact with India duly guarnteed by P5 and UNO and gradually trim the armed forcess to the level of paramilitary forces.

    I think this is the only right cource for pakistan to come out of the present crisis.Recommend

  • Sheheryar
    Jun 8, 2011 - 1:24PM

    Such is the material in this piece that it has even touched a pro-ISI person to think. Beautifully articulated, Mr Ejaz.Recommend

  • sri
    Jun 8, 2011 - 1:26PM

    @Muhammad Tayyab Tayyab:
    Good stuff from IS’s PR Department. Small correction. Most of the culprits in Spectrum scandal ( of India) including the ex-Cabinet Minister are rotting in the Tihar Jail. Don’t compare oranges and apples.Recommend

  • Malik Rashid
    Jun 8, 2011 - 1:31PM

    Wonder how could one expect the government to act against transgressions and murders by the ISI. They can’t as much as nominate a fair-minded, powerful commission to investigate Abbottabad incident. Findings of Hammod ur Rehman commission have not been made public yet. So, ‘hope’ is a repeat of error in this case or plain BS. However, recent outpouring of condemnation against army and ISI is a positive movement. There could be another assault on media-freedom and democracy. But Pakistan’s rulers have committed grave crimes. Patronizing terrorism and nuclear proliferation will not continue unhindered. Chile and Indonesia broke out of fascist mold but Hitler’s Germany had to be defeated in a war. Since 1947, militarization, coerced patriotism and common enemy defines Pakistan. The state is owned by security establishment as well as all real estate and business enterprise within. Those not owned by army belong to their compliant politicians. Adding USA on the list of common enemy is like cutting the tree they sat on so far. Movement of history is ironic and it certainly is cruel. Worst part is collateral damage.Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 1:36PM

    Fully endorse your comments sirRecommend

  • Nadeem
    Jun 8, 2011 - 1:52PM

    @TightDhoti: They can read the constitution of Pakistan a hundred times, it is still ‘a bloody piece of paper that can be torn up and thrown in the trash bin anytime’Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 1:56PM

    The country is at war and all these journalists can do is keep clinging to one dead man and ranting on and on, ignoring the fact that Saleem was last briefed by DG FIA Tariq Khoosa, not the ISI. Recommend

  • Karim
    Jun 8, 2011 - 1:57PM

    as habib jalib said “yeh fauj apni qom ko mehsoor kar ke naz karti hay”, they take all the resources and like a cancer are destroying the country. I’ve heard since childhood that the army wont allow a strong democracy to be established to prevent its hold on all aspect of power to be eroded. Shame on them, shame on us (for allowing this to happen)…Recommend

  • ali
    Jun 8, 2011 - 2:01PM

    Jumping to conclusions….. is that what statecraft teaches. While gruesome killing of Saleem Shahzad is deplorable, Mr. Ejaz is cashing the event for self aggrandizement and self projection. I wonder how could he claim to “understand the theoretical and practical dimensions of statecraft better and more deeply than the entire agency.” After all what else one can expect from a person who was thrown out the military academy, other than vengeance, venomous allegations and maligning state institutions. Morality demands that he testifies before the judicial commission if he can prove his point, contrarily it manifests that he has been paid the price for dancing to the tunes of his masters (CIA)in advancing the ‘great game’. Recommend

  • saad chaudhary
    Jun 8, 2011 - 2:04PM

    “Wall Street Journal reporter Saleem Shehzad was investigating the man who allegedly planned the PNS mehran attacks on navel defense in Karachi. When he was kidnapped and murdered, according to two former ISI officials. A former case officer in the agency’s Directorate of Operations, said he provided Saleem with unpublished information about these attacks, who has since been discussed by media officials of being one of the masterminds of the PNS mehran attacks.Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 2:04PM

    @A. R.:

    Very true AR but trust me this is a planned campaign against the armed forces and ISI, though very unfortunate. This is a special class having vested interests, more oppropriately can be called ‘Liberal Fascists’. There is a saying in Punjabi for them “Chor naalay Chatar” sojust keep listening to them. I believe that whosoever has betrayed this Holy Motherland has seen the horrible end. Just look back at history. Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 2:12PM

    Mess with a Bull and you’ll get a horn. Recommend

  • shahzain
    Jun 8, 2011 - 2:29PM

    aoa pls be sure you are doing something good for your isolated ejaz i feel your imotion over took your professional obligations as ehixibitted by media persons of israel,india.asma jahanjir went to india to cover human rights voilation by pakistani troops and indian only turned up on the day when she roared on pakistani forces but remained absent next day when she had to talk on kashmir atrocities. Washington post.speigal,guardian,india today are few example where you find national interest supreme and they resort to social issues then just to sensitized masses.if you are sincere then you can get acess to him but if you want cheap popularity by writing open letter this will not serve the dear we need people like you but not at the cost of national interest.pls write something about those efforts of police,rangers,fc,army which are going unheard owing to no media projection.recently British journalist went on flight which was destined for pre-mission confirmation- to libya to project the efforts being put in by British armed one from British media discusses the atrocities in supplement i can give you american media example who have kept their eyes shut on the involvement of american troops in afghanistan brutal killings or treatment of prisoners of guantanamo bay,america supporting Saudi Arabia/Bahrain’s kingship as they serve their interests .their media is is not fame centric or have lust for handsome amount for writing something may have some truth but unwittingly supporting the cross frontiers interests.pls come ahead to give solutions to confronted challenges to our nation as a whole.your armed forces are not aliens some of them are my relatives and some of them are yours.when you write such baseless without evidence cooked stories spirit of soldiers fighting along western borders will go down.if they retreat then who will go to guard these territorial borders.your neighbouring enemies want to break the will of these soldiers.During Sri lanka fight against terrorists or Indian tropps in Kasmir their medi remained mature and did not write anything wrong about these poor soldiers.any complaint against your institutions has to be rooted throuhj right channel .if publicise it so wont be able to serve the purpose i.e to effect change for betterment.i appeal you all pls see international media ,they resort to national interest besides sensitizing already terrified nation.Recommend

  • Saleem
    Jun 8, 2011 - 2:43PM

    Dear Ejaz sahab

    what is probably required is an urdu or even better a punjabi translation to be understood by the real movers and shakers Recommend

  • ishrat salim
    Jun 8, 2011 - 2:44PM

    This is just great !…keep it up Ejaz Sb…may Allah swt protect you & yr family…may we hv more such courageous people & Ejaz Sb…do not worry …we are behind you all the way.

    It is high time…this sacred cow shud be held by its horn….enough is enough.

    However, it need courage & bold leadership in our civilian set-up to accept the challenge to bring this ” sacred cow ‘under civilian control….which I do not see at the moment.

    The present leadership has allocated Rs 150 b extra to the Armed forces in this budget which is over & abv its allocated budget…what does that mean ?? scratch my back & I will scratch yours…You give us money & we will not interfere in the civilian set-up…now how does this sound…??

    CC to Gen Kiyani Sb, President & PM & to all others who are still in the state of denial.Recommend

    Jun 8, 2011 - 2:57PM

    Great article Ejaz sab, Times has changed , ISI and Army cant control everything now. Social media has brought dictator husni mubarak down, it was a very brutal regim bring down by people through social media. People has started speaking against brutal ISI and Army now.Fear has gone.times has changed. ISI cant harass, torture and kill their own peolple anymore.They have been exposed.But i have a question , WHERE IS CHIEF JUSTICE? We pakistani people, specialy media struggled very hard for 2 years for the restoration of CJ.We were told by lawyers leaders, media people that once IFTIKHAR CHOUDRY get restored there will be complete rule of law, he will protect the weak.Why is he silent when the whole world knows who killed Salim shazad. what we struggled for? did we struggle for rule of law or only to get him his job back. He took notice of minor issue of 3 bottles of Atiqa odho but he is quite on this brutal murder of an innocent journalist.Why is he so selective?Journalist supported CJ very much in his restoration movment but when media needs him to protect them why is he silent?

  • Hamid
    Jun 8, 2011 - 2:58PM

    Do you Know the age of Pakistan?
    if not, its 64 years.
    If you are a Pakistani today, its because of ISI and Pak Army.
    I know you’ve got angry.
    You want to know How long more Pakistan will live.
    Give Pakistan to current politicians and you can have it too for as long as you want.
    You will know Paks life.
    Let politicians and ISI do their job as they are doing today.
    Pray for politicians onlyRecommend

    Jun 8, 2011 - 3:12PM

    Some pro-ISI comments here are of people from cyber wing of ISI. They are monitoring all websites and trying their best to divert the blame and spread conspiracy theories to save ISI. Sorry people its to late for you.

  • VLRao
    Jun 8, 2011 - 3:13PM

    Hear! Hear!Recommend

  • Umm Ayyanah
    Jun 8, 2011 - 3:29PM

    Very well said sir … From now on you and your family will be in my duas. May Allah (swt) protect you and your family. AmeenRecommend

  • Aftab
    Jun 8, 2011 - 3:32PM

    “The military-ISI combine has no business defining Pakistan’s interest. That is our job and we, the civilians, will do it through our representatives. Your job is to implement, not formulate, policies.”

    The summary of what must be done to avoid a collapse of Pakistan. Recommend

    Jun 8, 2011 - 3:40PM

    sorry ISI dont try to shape opinion in your favoure on different sites. You have been badly exposed. Cyber wing of ISI is no more helpful now. Time has changed, world has changed. You have to accept the face that you cant control everything any more. Recommend

  • Ishtiaq Ahmed
    Jun 8, 2011 - 3:44PM

    Bold and factual! Pakistan has slipped into a state like Chile did under Pinochet. Mid-night knocks and disappearances are not uncommon now. Pakistan today is battered not only by the terrorists but the also by the invisible agents of the state who act far and beyond their remit, all in the name of protecting the national interest. What next? The mass graves?Recommend

  • Mehmal
    Jun 8, 2011 - 3:52PM

    Thank you for writing this Ejaz. Recommend

  • fayyaz hyder mangi
    Jun 8, 2011 - 3:57PM

    Also…. it is for the misguided search of its own journalists and politicians that the agency is unable to find beforehand the perpetrators of GHQ and Mehran base attack ……..Keep up with such a good writing and keep away from TV.Recommend

  • Shahid Saeed
    Jun 8, 2011 - 3:58PM

    They had no idea that Osama Bin Laden was hiding outside their training academy.
    They do not know how American choppers reached Abbotabad and what they did there.
    They are clueless as to how a half dozen terrorists took over GHQ.
    They have no knowledge of how 6 terrorists seiged Naval Headquarters for 18 hours.
    They have no idea as to who killed Saleem Shahzad as they deny killing him.

    But sit with a General for few minutes and you will know the Real Estate prices all over the country.

    They proudly boast of ousting Benazir Bhutto’s govt as she was a traitor.
    They are proud to arrest and detain Nawaz Sharaif as he is a traitor.
    They killed Bhutto as he was a traitor.
    They think and have proofs of Asfand Yar Khan being Indian agent.
    They are sure that MQM is an extension of RAW.

    They are proud of making and breaking political alliances. They are distracting debate and bully intellectuals. They kidnap their own people and kill with impunity. They love killing Bhutto’s and popular leaders of country.

    All their incompetence in their professional duties comes for Rs. 800 Billion a year. They spend more in a single day than entire years budget for health and education and only thing they have are sex tapes of politicians while clueless about security issues.

    @Mr. Asif Chaudhary, Leave Saleem Shahzad’s murder aside, are all above baseless allegations. Please say YES if you have no conscious inside. How long they want to outsource their duties to terrorists and be engaged in Real Estate business and politics? Please say all about facts are false. Tell us that they did not FAILED in their professional responsible and never destroyed country for plots and kick-backs.

    Nation will only stand behind them when they confessed and changed. Beofre that they are nothing but a gang of thugs, an occupation force oppressing their own people. Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Jun 8, 2011 - 4:03PM

    What an audacious and brazen piece. I am so proud of you. You speak the heart out for the people of Pakistan. Today the biggest danger to the existense of Pakistan is not from outside but from inside. The mass weaponization in the country, the widespread jihadi network, corrupt and inept politicians, no rule of law, and limping democracy ; all are the precious gifts of our military establishment to us.

    The India-phobia has been carefully orchestrated and purposely continued to enjoy the greatest share of the pie without being accounatble to anyone.

    This is time for the politicians to act like men and take the rein under the control of civil administration to finally empower the people of Pakistan.

    Hats off to Mr. Haider and ET.Recommend

  • Shahid Saeed
    Jun 8, 2011 - 4:05PM


    Being thrown out of a military academy which for five long years remained clueless about presence of worlds top terrorists outside its wall’s, should be a pride not a shame! No doubt that academy produces duffers and throws out every little piece of brain. Do you agree? Recommend

  • Ashok Jha
    Jun 8, 2011 - 4:07PM

    My respect for Mr. Haider has only increased by many fold. i have been reading him wherever i find him. not everybody is audacious enough to say the truth as it should be said. you sir, deserve to be cheered and lauded. your article reflects the pain, the anguish and the worries of a common pakistani.though i do not think The Agency can harm you but better still, be on your guard.Recommend

  • Arif
    Jun 8, 2011 - 4:23PM

    What to talk about only one journalist………. who will take responsibility of thousands of missing persons in this country….even our FAMOUS supreme court has gone into suspicious silence……..our whole society has become corrupt from top to bottom because every Pakistani is pursuing either his personal gains to meet his earnings or harboring the interests of someone influential in his life. It’s going to be total failure unless we start thinking only as PAKISTANI irrespective of religious and cultural differences and practical support of TRUTH and only TRUTH.Recommend

  • hallaj
    Jun 8, 2011 - 4:34PM

    I fail to understand how the killing of Syed Saleem Shahzad is linked with writer’s claim that he knows more than the entire agency.
    True, it is not the army’s job to define national interest. But let’s face the reality: It’s the incompetence on part of politicians which led us to this stage. Do you think, Mr. Ahmad Mukhtar has the right knowledge of defining national interest? I doubt it. Recommend

  • mind control
    Jun 8, 2011 - 4:35PM


    “Second, how many of you have bothered to investigate Asia Times Online for whome SS worked? It is an Indian front organisation with the sole aim of defaming Pakistan.”

    A. Did your ‘investigations’ not show that Asia Times Online has its ‘ Head Office at Unit B, 16/F, Li Dong Building, No. 9 Li Yuen Street East, Central, Hong Kong’?

    B. Did you also miss out that Hong Kong is in China? Yes, the eternal friend China.

    C. Does this imply that India, the eternal enemy and China the eternal friend have come together ‘with the sole aim of defaming Pakistan’?


    D. ISI had called Late Saleem Shahzad for an interview in October,2010. Did ISI also miss out on the ‘Indian front organisation’ part due to a malfunctioning radar?Recommend

  • K B Kale
    Jun 8, 2011 - 4:42PM

    The most readable part of every newspaper is the Readers’ Forum because it represents how the literate people of a given country thinks & expresses.
    I read DAWN & Tribune regularly, particularly the Readers’ column. And as a Hindu Indian who hopes to see a good neighborly relationship between us, I clearly perceive a definite shift amongst the literate Pakistani people towards the advice given by your ex-PM Mr Nawaz Sharif who urged Pakistan to stop considering India as the biggest enemy. He also appealed Pakistan Government to re-appraise its relations with India to take Pakistan on the path of growth. That is real statesmanship.
    I am hoping for the day when Pakistan will realize that only India is its genuine & best friend, its other “all-weather”/”forever” friendship notwithstanding! Our experience with the ‘forever’ friendship has been “too maan yaa na maan, main teraa mehmaan“!
    So Pakistan, beware!Recommend

  • Safiya Aftab
    Jun 8, 2011 - 4:46PM


  • Dr Yousaf
    Jun 8, 2011 - 4:55PM

    Dear Ejaz Sb,

    A well articualted article truly expressing the pain and sorrow of everyone but then isn’t your tirade of frustration borne out of the national/international propoganda onslaught against the ISI? Aren’t your arguments and insinuations, especially your last para “I would expect that you would do everything to prove that Saleem was not murdered by the ISI” akin to “Guilty till proven innocent”?Recommend

  • Ali Sher Mussali
    Jun 8, 2011 - 4:57PM

    Lovely! god bless you long life and courage to your family and friends.

    AS Mussali

  • Latif
    Jun 8, 2011 - 5:07PM

    Well written
    Just to cite a case that this is nothing new ,how officers can be cruel
    Once in Sindh- tando Bahawal a major in army conspired with local influential and killed more than 12 people . This was telecasted in national media as killing of dacoits for three days.then local media investigated and found that poor farmers were killed due to dispute over land

    Finally that major was hanged after a lot of hue and cry by local civil society

    If some people don’t remember that incident, this is just reminder how officers can be flawed and cruelRecommend

  • Shahzad
    Jun 8, 2011 - 5:08PM

    . Find the courage Mr. Pasha to step down…if you still have some honor and grace left…Recommend

  • habib
    Jun 8, 2011 - 5:09PM

    Thank you for making public actual feelings of Pakistanis, especially second class citizens of Sindh, Baluchisgtan about the much dreaded ISI.Recommend

  • waqqas iftikhar
    Jun 8, 2011 - 5:10PM

    Every one who is gloriously looking back and defending the armed forces….when did they ever win? anything….’48, ’65 (stalemate), ’71 (horrible loss) ’99 (kargil, pretty much a lost cause), and yet you have the gall to come here and defend them – i suggest slashing their budgets, get the rear (sic) admiral outta his customized bling bling bmw….neither they nor the politicians deserve these perks….the problem is, only the ISI are strong, brutal and shadowy enough to actually go ahead and kill…..which they are doing with impunity, just look at whats happening to balochistanRecommend

  • KP
    Jun 8, 2011 - 5:18PM

    Simple, straight forward & courageous. Well done.Recommend

  • Babar Ayaz
    Jun 8, 2011 - 5:36PM

    Dear Ejaz,
    I have no hope that even a “straight-talking” General will hold an internal inquiry and take action against the killers of Saleem as these people protect their colleagues’ out-rageous actions. I have proposed in my article in Daily Times that PML N if it is realy serious should move a bill in the assembly proposing that ISI and Army should be under the parliamentary committees oversight and their funds should also be approved by these committees as it is done some democratic countries. You have also rightly said that they should be under the parliament. But the issue who will bell the cat, when our parliamentarian are made fools by them as they did on May 13?
    Babar AyazRecommend

  • Salman Abbasy
    Jun 8, 2011 - 5:41PM

    Powerful and audacious advocacy of a bold journalist and friend. Do be careful though, these out-of-control ISI goons are known to beat up teenage boys who defeat their sons in sports.Recommend

  • K B Kale
    Jun 8, 2011 - 5:54PM

    Write a new constitution with fundamental rights and relgious equality as the core values. Go for a no war pact with India duly guarnteed by P5 and UNO and gradually trim the armed forcess to the level of paramilitary forces.
    Bravo, Manoj!Recommend

  • pari
    Jun 8, 2011 - 6:03PM

    I appreciate Ijaz Sahib but writing wont help anymore,,,we need a courage to come out on streets like Algerians, Egyptians and protests against the army, corrupt rulers and people. Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 6:32PM

    64 years down the line and Pakistanis still unaware of the meaning of the term ‘national interests’.Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 6:33PM

    Oh and May God be with you Mr Haider!

    This might be accounted as high treason too! National Interests you know.

    Good job!Recommend

  • K B Kale
    Jun 8, 2011 - 6:37PM

    Never forget how the Chief Justice of Pakistan & his friends amongst lawyers community brought down the dictatorship of Musharraf and ‘re-liberated’ Pakistan. Also look at how the dictatorships in Tunisia, Egypt crumbled like cookies when determined people ‘meant business’ & also look at the other Middle-Eastern dictatorships slowly making way to democracy. Rest assured that this will also happen in Iran.
    In today’s information age, dictatorships will not be able to rule for long!Recommend

  • Suresh
    Jun 8, 2011 - 6:38PM

    Common people in India are ignorant about RAW, including many parliamentarian themselves. It is just one of the many government department under home (interior) ministry. It may have freedom in its area of operation, but it is fully answerable to the minister and parliament. It has no connection with defense ministry or military. Mostly, it is a white collar type intelligence think tank exclusively for external threats, instead of an armed, commando type outfit with license to torture and kill.Recommend

    Jun 8, 2011 - 6:44PM

    I congratulate ET and the writer for this bold article which would just tantamount of taking the bull by its horns. This agency has been totally unaccountable to civilian govt and judiciary of the state. Its complicity in hundreds of missing persons in Pakistan and more recently in Mumbai massacre by an American court are damning with far reaching implications. But the million dollar question is that who will control this raging bull ? Recommend

  • K B Kale
    Jun 8, 2011 - 7:21PM

    @Shahid Saeed:
    My dear Saeedbhai,
    For these ‘little educated’ men with an IQ below room temp, ‘national interests’ is defined as ‘the interests of the Top Brass of the Armed Forces’! And they are doing a good job in taking care of such National Interests, aren’t they?
    “Who has given the mandate to these little educated men with IQ level below room temperature to define what ‘national interest’ is?”Recommend

  • call me Pakistani
    Jun 8, 2011 - 7:24PM


    such senior writers also working on the enemy’s agenda to defame ISI and other agencies that protect the nation while the nation remains busy in serving the corruption, as its very basic raw material. You and all such writers and TV anchors should feel ashamed facing your own self in the mirror as you are doing what enemies could not do in decades …. damaging Pakistan’s line of defence. I have seen loads of people accusing ISI of killing saleem shahzad and what not but not one, I REPEAT NOT EVEN ONE, proof of this accusation has been produced.

    I am sure you do feel of your self as a heated brain that represents this society, but its about time you face the ground reality that you’re not authorised for this.

    I am not here to defend ISI but I can very well imagine that they must not have the time to get indulged in any sort of argument with media or journalist since their prime job is to protect the country from all threats …. both foreign and DOMESTIC. Now that’s a job that’s bound to keep ‘em real busy

    The nation does not need sensational writing that shows that we’re being destroyed by ISI and army and what-not. rather we need people who have the eye to see all the good aspect of this country as well. I am amazed how all of you writers find it ignorable that this country & its people do so much, but still not even one article appears to promote & motivate it. If you wanna stretch your writing muscles, may be you should look at the figures of what the farmers, indsutrialist and other scientists of this country are doing, without any support of reward. I am sure its bound to motivate many others to join hands in the good work of the country because afterall, its not the media, journalists or anyone else who keeps the country going…. its the common man and all the hard work a common man puts in everyday, and it he who deserves the space and efforts in all the writing columnsRecommend

  • Nissar
    Jun 8, 2011 - 7:38PM

    The only gud that Pakistan can now do is to speed up its own demise and let the people form secular and free dispensations.Recommend

  • K B Kale
    Jun 8, 2011 - 7:51PM

    @Shahid Saeed:
    Agency we can build, if we survive as a nation, which is more important.
    Bravo, Saeed bhai!Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 8:23PM

    Finally, people have started talking about Army and Agencies :)Recommend

  • SaudiRules
    Jun 8, 2011 - 8:52PM

    @asif chauhdary,
    You have spoken like a man who is about to have his gravy-train derailed. Also, looking at the current graduate of “crore commanders” from PMA, one can safely assume that PMA is nothing but a country club.
    OBL was hanging around the kakul PMA for five yrs while PMA students were learning how to play golf, derail an elected government, tapping of peoples phone (or erasing the phone record, like in SS Shehzad) or how to conquer the awam! Recommend

  • Asad Shairani
    Jun 8, 2011 - 9:06PM


  • Obsever from UK
    Jun 8, 2011 - 9:19PM

    There is no dearth of people who believe that military and its vile agencies are sacrosanct and above criticism. Times have changed. People can’t be fooled any more. Accountability must be in place. BTW, I should remind the commentator that it was because of military Pakistan disintegrated into two in 1971. Because of adventurism in Kargil Pakistan had to swallow its pride. The agencies in general and ISI in particular involved them in politics and the result is that innocent civilians had to suffer. Many went missing and many found but dead. The military showed its professional inefficiency in OBL and PNS Mehrsn debacle. Recommend

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