ISI boss hints at rethink on counter-terror plan

Published: July 9, 2010

Shuja Pasha talks of ‘readjustment’ to the Afghan situation

Pakistan’s premier spy agency, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), said on Thursday it was in the middle of a ‘review’ of its counter-terror campaign against al Qaeda and its local affiliates as a ‘readjustment’ to the situation emerging in Afghanistan.

“As the American policy in Afghanistan is changing…we are doing the same here. And we will do what suits us,” officials quoted ISI chief as telling a parliamentary panel that is preparing to furnish recommendations for the government on security issues.

In an hour-long powerpoint briefing to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security here on Thursday, Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha said ‘no pressure is being taken in the preparation of the counter-terror strategy’.

Though little details emerged out of the meeting that took place behind closed doors, some of the participants said the parliamentarians were given a comprehensive insight into how the military would be tackling the challenges to the national security in the future.

“There is definite change in the policy and in the mindset (of security establishment) as well. It looks indigenous factors are being given greater importance in the strategy,” said one participant, comparing the briefing by the ISI this time and the one given a couple of years ago.

“The national interest will our utmost priority in the formation of the policy…it is supreme,” another participant quoted Pasha as telling the parliamentarians whose queries were also responded by  the ISI chief.

According to the participants, a part of the briefing was devoted to ongoing military campaigns in various parts of Pakistan and the prospects of peace that could return to those regions after such offensive.

According to parliamentarians, the ISI chief said it would be up to Pakistan’s political and military leadership to decide whether and when to send in troops to take onto al-Qaeda-linked militants in the North Waziristan region.

“Any decision, if one is needed at all, will be our own,” Pasha was quoted as saying about the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan allegedly hosting the most dangerous Taliban group called Haqqani network.

Talking to the media later, the committee’s chairman Senator Raza Rabbani said the panel would seek further briefings from the foreign and interior ministries next month before finalising its recommendations.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is expected to brief the committee on Friday after he returned from an official visit to China along with President Asif Ali Zardari.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Jul 9, 2010 - 4:19AM

    “The national interest will our utmost priority in the formation of the policy…it is supreme,” Whose national interest? The people of Pakistan who are getting slaughtered while you give power point presentations and conduct reviews or your own interests? What about some insight on the COAS and DG ISI trip to Kabul last week. Or do “bloody civilians” better left in ignorance while unelected generals make decisions in their own interest. Recommend

  • Nick
    Jul 9, 2010 - 8:22AM

    The article seem to have missed the main point, the ISI is to look for new methods to get more money from US and fund the terror outfits and then claim to fight them. Recommend

  • Umar Mustafa
    Jul 9, 2010 - 10:27AM

    It is always sensible to think forward in the ever changing world. I dream my region to become peaceful again. Recommend

  • Ghulam Abbass
    Jul 9, 2010 - 11:02AM

    We are going through a period of transition….whether the military-haters or the politician-haters of this country like it or not….we all have to work together…..Recommend

  • Aristo
    Jul 9, 2010 - 11:15AM

    We all know who created these monsters in the first place, now it is entirely up to them how to cut their heads and make our environment free of these monsters. It is a matter of now or never for this agency.Recommend

  • Amna Zaman
    Jul 9, 2010 - 11:37AM

    @nadir. I wish every common man is aware of what you are saying. While the Taliban kill people ruthlessly these men sit and give presentations. Its been a decade to this war and still discussions are on counter terror strategy. God help us!Recommend

  • Zarghun Khan
    Jul 9, 2010 - 11:45AM

    It may look irrelevant here, but it seems that Pakistan intends to commit suicide in the process of “bleeding” the world. The world will recover, but our beloved country will vanish forever.Recommend

  • Abbas
    Jul 9, 2010 - 12:20PM

    Dear Nick, it is also missing one more thing that US is planning another massacre of its own people to justify any possible insurgency in NWA begging Pakistan Army for help. Whatever ISI does is in our national interest and this is how it should be..Recommend

  • Jul 9, 2010 - 12:29PM

    the ISI are such a sweet lot. Recommend

  • John
    Jul 9, 2010 - 1:00PM

    Unlike all you liberals, the primary aim and manifesto of the army is the interest of Pakistan and the people of Pakistan.
    Unfortunately, as liberals who just sit at home and get on your computers, you have no sense of compassion for our jawans who are fighting in the most challenging environments and landscape.
    Please go to GEO if your interested in bashing my country and my army.
    Pakistan ZindabadRecommend

  • Zulfiqar Haider
    Jul 9, 2010 - 5:08PM

    Perhaps this restructuring is necessary, because being an ally to US and ISAF, the shift in strategy is required, because an aligned strategy on both sides of the border will help achieve a coomon goal.Recommend

  • shahab
    Jul 9, 2010 - 7:21PM

    Abbas, love you great reply…. thanks broRecommend

  • Rabia
    Jul 9, 2010 - 7:30PM

    spot on Nadir sahib. 65 people are slaughtered and these shameless khakis still don’t consider it in our “national interest” to stop supporting their jihadi buddies. Recommend

  • Bunty
    Jul 10, 2010 - 9:51PM

    @Abbas…nicely phrasedRecommend

  • SUB
    Aug 6, 2010 - 11:57AM

    Army survives if Pakistan survives. There would be no army if the country is not there any more (God forbids). For the rest of them: the Shariffs, Zardaries, Gaddi Nasheens, Bilawals etc. They all have their assets secured in Europe/ US/ Briton etcRecommend

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