NAWABSHAH: The bill regarding bringing the ISI under the purview of parliament that was presented by Farhatullah Babar is a positive step and reflects a long-awaited demand of the majority of the people of Pakistan. Historically, the intelligence agency has earned a doubtful reputation because of its alleged role in matters of high sensitivity. In the political sphere, it has been accused of encouraging horse-trading in the past, and in more recent times, it has been blamed for disappearances in Balochistan. Therefore, this bill, if passed, will not only provide a shield to the ISI’s functions, but will also help appease the country’s citizens, who are often critical of the role it seemingly plays in various areas. The steps the proposed bill envisages are very necessary for they involve an increased role of the civilian leadership, with parliament supervising the ISI and an annual report by the agency to be submitted to parliament. This will help improve civil-military relations and would ensure that no state institution is above the law.
However, it is a fact that we are often hasty in devising laws and regulations but often fail in effective implementation. It is hoped that this trend is finally reversed and a much-needed bill sees the light of day.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2012.
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