MI closes its political wing

The Military Intelligence closes its political wing on the decision of COAS Gen Pervez Kayani.

Qaiser Butt September 20, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Following in the footsteps of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency – the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) – the Military Intelligence (MI) has also closed its political wing, a reliable source told The Express Tribune.

The decision was made by Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, who had earlier ordered the closure of ISI’s political wing.

The secret agency has been told to immediately stop gathering information pertaining to the country’s politics, the source said. “MI is not involved in any kind of political business anymore.”

However, according to ISPR spokesperson Major General Athar Abbas, MI was always apolitical. “It is a totally baseless report. MI has nothing to do with the country’s political affairs. It deals purely with the military’s internal matters,” he said. According to sources, MI has been told to concentrate on its main task, ie, the country’s national security with a key thrust on counter-terrorism.

Both the MI and ISI, along with the Intelligence Bureau (IB), have their own specific responsibilities, but all of them are also assigned the task of countering internal and external terrorism.

General Kayani had strictly barred the ISI from political hobnobbing during the 2008 general elections in the country. The step was taken by the army chief in an effort to ensure free and fair general elections.

It appears that General Kayani, who had also served as the head of ISI during General Pervez Musharraf’s tenure, is clearing both the ISI and the MI of political dirt. But in his move to divert the military purely on professionalism, Kayani has managed to remove all those elements in the intelligence services who were not on board in the war against the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.

In February 2008, when General Musharraf was still the president, General Kayani removed the then MI chief Gen Nadeem Ejaz Ahmed, a close relative of Musharraf and one of his top aides. General Nadeem had played a key role when Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was forcibly removed by General Musharraf.

In January 2008, General Kayani through a directive had ordered military officers not to maintain contacts with politicians. On February 13, 2008 General Kayani ordered the withdrawal of serving military officers posted in civil departments.

On March 7, 2008, General Kayani confirmed that the armed forces would stay out of politics and support the new government. He told a gathering of military commanders in the garrison city of Rawalpindi that “the army fully stands behind the democratic process and is committed to playing its constitutional role.” These comments were made at a time when the majority party in parliament was in the process of putting together coalition governments at the centre and in the provinces.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th, 2010.


zahid bacha | 11 years ago | Reply Country being in its early 60's is extensively dependent on self-centered leadership hence it needs tobe under a healthy check, which must not be felt to the level of unnecessary interference, until various institutions strengthen their roots.
Javed Iqbal | 11 years ago | Reply good step for stabilizing the democracy of the country. However, a eye must be kept on the politician moves.
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