Retirement plan: ISI chief looking forward to golfing instead of spying?

Published: February 4, 2012
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Petitioner says Mansoor Ijaz’s right to record statement should be closed.

Petitioner says Mansoor Ijaz’s right to record statement should be closed.

ISLAMABAD: Arguably, it is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. Heading a spy agency that has more often been in the limelight for all the wrong reasons is certainly a tough task. And perhaps that is why the incumbent chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt General Ahmed Shuja Pasha does not seem keen to get another extension in his service.

Despite speculations that the government may extend his tenure for a third time in an effort to ease tensions with the military, the Director General ISI reportedly told a western diplomat in an informal chat that he wants to go home sooner rather than later.

After heading the country’s premier spy agency since October 2008, Pasha is due to retire on March 18. He was scheduled to retire in March 2010, but was twice given extensions.

“I have had enough of it … I want to get out of it,” Pasha was quoted as saying by the diplomat, who met the ISI chief recently.

The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Express Tribune that Pasha appeared to be “under a lot of stress over the developments that have taken place recently.”

However, the diplomat’s claim could not be independently verified nor was the ISI willing to speak on the subject.

During his tenure a number of events took place notably November 2008 Mumbai attacks, the Raymond Davis controversy, the Memogate scandal, the killing of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in an Abbottabad compound and then the NATO attacks on Pakistani checkposts in Salala.

The presence of Bin Laden in Abbottabad had raised questions about the ability, or intentions, of the country’s intelligence agencies, including the ISI, to hunt down the world’s most wanted man.

At a joint session of Parliament, convened after the Abbottabad raid, General Pasha had offered to resign over the debacle but the government didn’t accept it.

“That was a mistake. We should have accepted his resignation,” said a ruling Pakistan Peoples Party member, who was unhappy with the way Pasha pursued the memo issue.

He said that the government had already decided against giving him yet another extension in his service.

Recently, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani also dismissed reports that he was considering a proposal to grant another extension, but said a decision on this issue would be made at the “appropriate time”.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (55)

  • Roflcopter
    Feb 4, 2012 - 5:10AM

    Salute to General Pasha….He served the country well. I hope his replacement will be just as good.

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  • Ahmad
    Feb 4, 2012 - 5:27AM

    During his tenure a number of events took place notably November 2008 Mumbai attacks, the Raymond Davis controversy, the Memogate scandal, the killing of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in an Abbottabad compound and then the NATO attacks on Pakistani checkposts in Salala.

    Civilians have been hung for less, and yet this man didn’t have the decency to resign.Recommend

  • HoneyBee
    Feb 4, 2012 - 5:50AM

    A POLITICAL SPY .. .????

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  • Umer
    Feb 4, 2012 - 6:00AM

    I wonder how soon we will see him on tv as analyst.

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  • Noor Nabi
    Feb 4, 2012 - 6:15AM

    General Pasha is doing the right thing by preparing to spend more time playing golf and not digging his heels to seek another extension. It is time for him to go. No matter what the reasons – i.e., complicity or failure on the part of the intelligence agencies – surrounding Osama’s presence in Pakistan, the fact of the matter is that it happened on his watch; he will primarily be remembered for that.

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  • Imran
    Feb 4, 2012 - 6:40AM

    Good riddance… Like he had a choice!

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  • K B Kale
    Feb 4, 2012 - 7:05AM

    When an axe is sure to fall, it is prudent for Pasha to pose as if he is not interested. But Pakistan Govt should let him go in view of his ‘achievements’!

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  • Munnabhai
    Feb 4, 2012 - 7:16AM

    Both Kayani & Pasha are nincompoops & should have been shown the door on their due dates!

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  • Feb 4, 2012 - 7:36AM

    General Pasha has been a massive failure, name one actual accomplishment of his ?

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  • Akthar
    Feb 4, 2012 - 8:29AM

    He`ll share the stage along with Hamid Gul or probably, he can even join PTI. Pasha for President and IK for Prime Minister?

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  • Junaid
    Feb 4, 2012 - 8:33AM

    @bangash: Mumbai drama :)

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  • apolitically political
    Feb 4, 2012 - 8:43AM

    Is it any professional to say ‘I am tired of it’? Clearly, when your entire focus is on trivialities, and not the real task at hand, fighting the merciless home-grown jihadis, you end up being an epic failure since politics is what few Pakistani politicians do well. So well that you find yourself tragically dumb. So anyone who replaces him must turn his focus to deal with the pot-bellied bearded fighters.

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  • Cautious
    Feb 4, 2012 - 9:23AM

    Lets hope he’s a better golfer than he was a spy – otherwise other golfers are going to have to wear helmets.

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  • Feb 4, 2012 - 9:25AM

    ET: @Munnabhai: Really? You are a very big mind reader (telepathic powers).

    @Ahmad: He did offer to resign but the GOP did not accept it. Therefore, it was pointless writing it out.

    Yes! Many if not all Pakistanis will miss him. His is a very tough job indeed.

    Pakistan is not a ‘super power’ and for that matter, it will not be for another five years if the PPP is re-elected to the Byzantine corridors of Islamabad.

    In addition, all you critiques have a big heart. Salams to Pakistan.Recommend

  • Zaid Baloch
    Feb 4, 2012 - 9:32AM

    People looking for accomplishments here from Gen Pasha. I would rather say ” when the whole world is at one side and an agency belongs to Pakistan defends the rest’ isn’t it enough”.
    ISI is a protector of our country and serving us a long time. We are proud of you Gen Pasha and so as on ISI hope your successor will do the same.

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  • konaberwalla
    Feb 4, 2012 - 9:43AM

    @Roflcopter:
    Served the country well? Seriously?
    “During his tenure a number of events took place notably November 2008 Mumbai attacks, the Raymond Davis controversy, the Memogate scandal, the killing of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in an Abbottabad compound and then the NATO attacks on Pakistani checkposts in Salala.” Not counting the many terrorists bombings/attacks on civilian and military installations.

    I sure hope to god that his replacement is better.

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  • faraz
    Feb 4, 2012 - 9:54AM

    He had extremely poor record

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  • Feb 4, 2012 - 10:22AM

    Nice plan after retirement…Better take early retirement… Its good for the country….Spying is not your forte…. Let ISI choose right man for the right job.

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  • Basit
    Feb 4, 2012 - 10:26AM

    During Pasha’s tenure, ISI managed to stop 100s of terror attacks, which it will never get any credit for.

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  • Nadeem
    Feb 4, 2012 - 10:50AM

    He reminds me of the characters in the hollywood movie ‘Spies like us’

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  • wah wah
    Feb 4, 2012 - 10:50AM

    it has been a tenure of failures in spite of unprecedented support by a democratically elected corrupt to the core government. hope he as a better time playing golf on courses built for the very elite that he represents.

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  • Sarah
    Feb 4, 2012 - 11:08AM

    Instead of doing what they are supposed to do they spy on judges, politicians and journalists. It does not protect our country from anything. Recommend

  • Feb 4, 2012 - 11:16AM

    we may follow india – no extention retirement as and when due – opening chance to fresh entrates – lets do it! extention in service is chronic disease……!

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  • Munnabhai
    Feb 4, 2012 - 11:28AM

    @hameediK:
    I agree. In fact, Pakistan should take inspiration from India in many other spheres also. We are after all your ‘Bada Bhai’

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  • Alarm khan
    Feb 4, 2012 - 11:31AM

    He could have earned respect had he resigned for intelligence failure on obl.Recommend

  • Feb 4, 2012 - 11:43AM

    OBL Attack, NATO Attacks, more then 60 hundred drone strikes, Mehran Naval Base attack, Suicide Bombings, made ISI image worse in the world in his tenure SO What did Pasha do????

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  • Feb 4, 2012 - 11:52AM

    @Alarm khan:
    Agreed

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  • bravo
    Feb 4, 2012 - 12:00PM

    Its better he leaves and the earlier the better…..Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Feb 4, 2012 - 12:42PM

    Listen everyone , he hold the nation integrity and its independence , don’t forget he is defending a country in internal matters as well as on the borders , he is all doing this for a country with no economic stability , buried under debts , buried under the unjustified international treaties ,working with a huge army with tight budget , a country which have to defend on air,land (both east & west borders) and seas .
    with the given circumstances and PAK position globally , he has done a commendable job , I salute him ,I wish he can read the heart of PAK people

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  • Wellwisher
    Feb 4, 2012 - 1:15PM

    Can we expect a civilian to head the ISI

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  • Abdul
    Feb 4, 2012 - 1:54PM

    Well done Gen Pasha. When the whole world is on one side, everyone is trying to bash Pakistan, not even a single opportunity to humiliate the country is missed by the rivals, he has done a good job.
    @wellwisher: if you have a civilian heading the ISI, it would soon become like Railways, PIA, Steel Mill, Rental Power or the Parliment itself.Recommend

  • khurram
    Feb 4, 2012 - 1:58PM

    our silent guardian :)

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  • Abdul
    Feb 4, 2012 - 2:18PM

    Well done Gen Pasha. When the whole world is on one side, everyone is trying to bash Pakistan, not even a single opportunity to humiliate the country is missed by the rivals, he has done a good job.
    @wellwisher: if you have a civilian heading the ISI, it would soon become like Railways, PIA, Steel Mill, Rental Power or the worthless Parliment itself.

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  • Parvez
    Feb 4, 2012 - 2:49PM

    His big mistake was to accept his last one year extension.

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  • Salahuddin
    Feb 4, 2012 - 2:54PM

    @Abdul:

    Hey man, please get your records straight, khakis have headed most of the institutions like Steel Mill, Railways, Wapda etc. They are equally resposible for current state of affairs of these institutions.

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  • Tim Hover
    Feb 4, 2012 - 3:18PM

    @Salahuddin:

    and what the civilian government is responsile for?

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  • Munnabhai
    Feb 4, 2012 - 3:33PM

    @Salahuddin:
    I fully agree. When khaki is in charge, you get excuses for failure in more polished English, but they are no better as far as effective Management is concerned!

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  • Feb 4, 2012 - 3:33PM

    One request Mr.Pasha, at least after retirement we expect you reveal the secret of how Osama Bin Laden resided in a fortified building nearby a Military Academy without your knowledge.

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  • Feb 4, 2012 - 3:39PM

    I think ,it would be great loss to the state. He fought with CIA and defeated anti Pakistan Intelligence agencies while countering & unfolding their plans . He always have taken firm stand on Pakistan interests. Country still need his services.

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  • Feb 4, 2012 - 3:45PM

    A great soldier and brave spy who deated CIA & RAW. He unfolded anti Pakistan plans and took firm stand in table talks with his counterpart of CIA. Pakistan still need his services.

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  • Nadeem
    Feb 4, 2012 - 3:45PM

    A General with strength of character and moral courage.
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  • Naveed Alam Khattak
    Feb 4, 2012 - 4:33PM

    Well Done! Excellent job Gen Kayani & Gen Pasha. We salute you both.

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  • Feb 4, 2012 - 6:56PM

    munnabhai – thanks for appearciating my views.

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  • Cautious
    Feb 4, 2012 - 8:35PM

    @Colonel

    OBL Attack, NATO Attacks, more then 60
    hundred drone strikes, Mehran Naval
    Base attack, Suicide Bombings, made
    ISI image worse in the world in his
    tenure SO What did Pasha do????

    Because of the nature of his duties I doubt anyone will ever know what he really did – but since you asked here’s some of the things he was accused of. The Mumbai massacre, hiding/assisting OBL, outing CIA station chief, torture/execution of Saleem Shahzad, assassination of Rabbani, supporting attack on American embassy in Afghanistan, providing funding to Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai for illegal Kashmir lobbying. I am sure the complete list would take pages.
    .
    I would argue that much of Pakistan’s tarnished reputation can be directly attributed to alleged activities which took placed under Pasha’s watch – the damage is significant and it will take many years to undue that damage.

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  • kala judge
    Feb 4, 2012 - 9:24PM

    no one opposes a spy agency for Pakistan but it should be good
    apart from haunting politicians what else has it done? it is a protector of army interest and nothing
    Pasha should be tried for incompetence and misconductRecommend

  • Rt. Rev. Wrong
    Feb 4, 2012 - 10:20PM

    From “Strategic Depth” to hole in one?

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  • Aftab kenneth Wilson
    Feb 5, 2012 - 1:27AM

    I hope he writes a book on his tenure as ISI Chief.. Recommend

  • Jojo
    Feb 5, 2012 - 4:22AM

    Thats what they all say while they are scheming and consorting behind the doors to get another extension and more than a few plots!

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  • nnk
    Feb 5, 2012 - 1:42PM

    Lets not jump to conclusions. Gen Pasha has done his duty as expected from any head of a spy agency. Besides, individuals don’t matter, institutions do. ISI, according to one foreign survey, is a leading intelligence set-up in the world, and most feared. ISI is under tremendous pressure lately, being the only hurdle in front of those working against our national interests. Also, remember when CIA could not prevent 9/11, why blame ISI for what happened in Abbottabad, Mehran Base and so on. After all, it is not easy handling powerful forces working to undermine Pakistan. No effort was spared to defame ISI and we seem to be supporting their cause. What a shame as a nation. Pasha will not take another extension and will go home. Another person will replace him and he will do just as well. Lets focus more on good governance and other issues facing the nation and leave the Army and ISI alone. Long Live Pakistan Army/ISI

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  • PTIsupporter
    Feb 6, 2012 - 5:19AM

    I’m not fond of the current government, but Gen. Pasha was an equal failure. His tenure was marred with the inability to catch Bin Laden, Mehran base attack, HQ attack, etc. He should have been sacked long time ago.

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  • Sandip Khanna
    Feb 6, 2012 - 6:57AM

    It’s a great travesty of justice that people like Pasha are allowed to ease into a life of retirement, a la` Musharraf, while the victims of their institutional excesses carry the scars the rest of their lives. At times such as these one wishes there was some form of divine justice that would set the record straight for such people as these.

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  • K B Kale
    Feb 6, 2012 - 8:14AM

    @Aftab kenneth Wilson:
    And I hope it doesn’t become a bestseller! I also hope that laws exist in Pakistan that prohibits intelligence people from writing memoirs-fictional or factual. Remember “In the line of fire” which I consider as a readable work but of pure fiction!

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  • K B Kale
    Feb 6, 2012 - 8:18AM

    @kala judge:
    Apart from haunting politicians what else has it (ISI) done? it is a protector of army interest and nothing (else!)
    I fully agree!

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  • Somdet
    Feb 6, 2012 - 9:06AM

    where is his retirement home- US/UK/Canada?

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  • pak
    Feb 8, 2012 - 5:20AM

    In 2009 everyday a sucide bombing was happening. Who shoul et the credit for stopping that

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