The ISI and politics

Published: July 17, 2012
For too long in our history, the military and its intelligence agencies have pulled strings from hidden corners. PHOTO: FILE

For too long in our history, the military and its intelligence agencies have pulled strings from hidden corners. PHOTO: FILE

For too long in our history, the military and its intelligence agencies have pulled strings from hidden corners. These actions, in turn, have determined several political events at home and abroad. In many cases, we as citizens do not know how they have gone about this task or what events they have manipulated. But some things have risen to the surface from time to time, like scum over standing water.

It has become clear that the ISI played a part in influencing the results of the 1990 general elections through a mysterious political cell. The Ministry of Defence told the Supreme Court bench hearing the case — commonly called the Asghar Khan Case — that it was unable to find in its files a notification said to have been issued in 1975 while setting up this particular cell. Given the evidence put before it, the Court has declared that the political cell of the ISI stands null and void from the start. It has also made some strong remarks in its ruling in favour of the democratic order, criticising intervention of outside forces, welcoming the appointment of Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf as constitutionally correct and commenting that no model of a long-term interim government made up of technocrats should be put in place in the country.

The Court, of course, has spoken wisely. We need to do all that we can to push the ISI out of politics so that it can play its designated role fully and is made accountable to parliament for all its activities,so that the notion of civilian supremacy and democracy is upheld. The ISI has been able to alter the shape of events in the country through various means for far too long. This is essentially both unconstitutional and has inflicted tremendous damage on our democracy. The question now, however, is whether the clear-cut Court order will be implemented but there is a danger that this may not happen.

Let us hope that the military establishment and all the bodies that form a part of it are willing to follow the verdict delivered in good faith and ensure that the political wing of the ISI, in whatever form it exists, is genuinely shut down so that the Constitution can be adhered to.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Mirza
    Jul 17, 2012 - 10:03PM

    A great editorial and a very timely as well. The irony is we never find truth regarding the ISI. If there is no political cell in ISI then the SC has closed something that is not there! I do agree with you that ISI and army should be under the direct control of elected govt no matter what. There was a rumor that ZAB founded the political cell in ISI and that is why the ISI was distributing money in rightwing parties to steal the elections from PPP under BB! There cannot be a more ridicules argument and misinformation than this. It is like Mr. Jinnah founded Pakistan therefore all the corruption in Pakistan is due to him!


  • Ali tanoli
    Jul 17, 2012 - 11:09PM

    In the history of pakistan election only one election was fair and out of any intervention and it was 1971 when Mujib u rehman won and pakistan splite forever.


  • Jul 18, 2012 - 1:17AM

    The clandestine puppeteering has been existing so long that to do without it will be a great challenge to the people. It starts with the weaning from conspiracy theories and ends in innovative steadfastness.


  • Future_of_Pak
    Jul 18, 2012 - 6:44AM

    You guys seriously need to stop being so negative about the potential future outcomes of Pakistan, regardless of how messed up it has been. Please read contemporary politics and nation-building the world over. We have become a sad nation of self-haters. It does not have to be that way.


  • vasan
    Jul 18, 2012 - 7:04AM

    Ali Tanoli : Very well and correctly said , for a change.


  • Dr Pakhtun
    Jul 18, 2012 - 8:20AM

    Even now, Mirza would not say a single word in favor of the Judiciary or CJ -:)


  • Zeeshan
    Jul 18, 2012 - 9:41AM

    What a piece of crap and i was looking for something worth reading


  • Mirza
    Jul 18, 2012 - 11:20AM

    @Dr Pakhtun:
    Dear Doc, I have yet to see a real decision by the PCO SC which deals with the accesses of the generals, judges and known terrorists. When a decision would come out, I would be the first one to give credit when it is due. Every paid govt servant wants to be a politician and loves to make speeches but the courts should speak via their verdicts. The CJ is on extension and we are still waiting for a historic verdict against the people who threw them in jail with their families.


  • gp65
    Jul 18, 2012 - 11:37AM

    Ali Tanoli: One of the rare times I agree with you.


  • Butt
    Jul 18, 2012 - 2:26PM

    @Ali tanoli: Kudos for the first time.


  • huzaifa
    Jul 18, 2012 - 6:00PM

    So what will become of those politicians who relied more on agencies and less on people, being Pakistani, i am proud of SC. This path if followed ruthlessly will get us rid of the corrupt and incompetent politicians.


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