The rhetoric against country’s top spymaster has increased in recent days – that too from a number of quarters.
Asma Jahangir, the counsel for former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani, said on Monday that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Shuja Ahmed Pasha “should have resigned immediately” after the May 2 raid in Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden.
Speaking to the media after the Memogate case hearing, Jahangir said she did not understand why the DG ISI felt the need to travel abroad in order to investigate the matter. Jehangir also questioned Pasha’s meeting with Mansoor Ijaz.
Asma said she was baffled by Pasha’s meeting with Ijaz. “I don’t understand his interest in the Memogate affair,” she added.
“Under whose authority did he go abroad?” she said, referring to the permission Pasha had required from the prime minister. Ijaz, in his reply, had stated that Pasha told him that he was meeting him with the knowledge of the Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
Petition against Pasha
Communist Party Chairman Engineer Jamil Ahmed Malik has also applied pressure on General Pasha. On Monday he pleaded with the Supreme Court to take action against the ISI chief for allegedly meeting Arab rulers.
Filing a petition in the SC on Monday, Jameel asked the court to remove Pasha, claiming he has lost the right to remain in service after his involvement in the Memogate affair.
Jamil said that, although reports regarding Pasha’s meeting with senior Arab leaders were carried in the press, neither ISPR (Inter Services Public Relations) nor Pasha had contradicted them. In the ‘Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto versus President of Pakistan’ case, the SC had decided that “facts given in newspapers, having not been denied, would be considered as undisputed fact”, Jamil said.
Jamil’s argument, therefore, is that news on the meeting indicated that Pasha and the army were involved in politics, which was contrary to their oath under Article 244 of the Constitution. He added that the SC in a 2004 case had barred all government employees from taking part in politics during service. “…the ISI chief has hatched a conspiracy against an elected government and the president and he deserves a court martial under the Pakistan Army Act, 152,” Jamil said.
Last week, a parliamentarian from the ANP, Bushra Gohar made a similar demand on the floor of the house – demanding that Pasha either resign or be sacked and face an inquiry on the coup plotting charges.
Abbottabad commission abuzz
Most of the political leaders interviewed by the panel have suggested that it should recommend removal of top individuals from the country’s security establishment if it is proved that slain al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden conveniently lived in Pakistan for years.
The most obvious of these ‘top individuals’ would be spy chief Lt Gen Pasha – given that the incident points in the direction of either an intelligence failure or collaboration.
Last week, top leaders from Awami National Party (ANP), Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) appeared before the body with recommendations by their respective political parties.
Headed by former Supreme Court judge Javed Iqbal, the commission is tasked to probe the exact circumstances surrounding the terror network leader’s killing in a night raid by American commandoes in the garrison city of Abbottabad in May this year.
The commission is currently seeking recommendations from the top leaders of political parties.
“The one question they (body’s members) asked everyone is what should be recommended if bin Laden living in the Abbottabad compound for years is proven,” said one of the political leaders who appeared before the commission last week.
“And we have told them some heads must roll…perhaps at the top. Why not?” said the political leader, who did not want to be named.
Another ‘hot’ issue under discussion revolves around what should be proposed if it was proved that Pakistan’s political leadership had prior knowledge of the raid by the US navy SEALs.
“They asked this but most of the politicians posit that apart from intelligence authorities, no one might have prior knowledge of the raid,” said the leader.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2011.