Chief of the Army Staff General Raheel Sharif has directed the country’s intelligence agencies – including the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) – to adopt a more proactive approach in order to counter the moves of the hostile spy agencies that are trying to destabilise Pakistan.
Gen Raheel’s statement came two days after gunmen massacred 44 members of the peaceful Ismaili community in a brazen attack on a bus in the Safoora neighbourhood of Karachi. It also came a day after the foreign ministry said that Indian military intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) was using Afghan soil to fuel terrorism in Pakistan.
Gen Raheel, who had cancelled his three-day pre-scheduled visit to Sri Lanka and travelled to Karachi to review the security situation in the aftermath of the Safoora massacre, visited the headquarters of the ISI, in Rawalpindi on Friday.
The army chief was given a briefing on the latest counterterrorism operations and the Safoora tragedy, a senior military official said. DG ISI Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar briefed Gen Raheel on the intelligence-gathering system in Karachi as well as in Balochistan, the official said, adding that the two generals pored over reports of RAW’s involvement in the volatile areas of Balochistan via Afghanistan.
“The chief of the army staff emphasised the need for more proactive and coordinated role of intelligence agencies for an effective counterterrorism campaign and to counter hostile agencies’ moves to destabilise Pakistan,” says a statement issued by the military’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
General Raheel also underscored the need to further coordinate and synergise a combined civil-military intelligence effort at the national level by providing all agencies requisite support and ever developing modern intelligence techniques, the ISPR said.
When briefed on the number of terrorist acts pre-empted by the intelligence agencies and successful intelligence-based operations, Gen Raheel appreciated ISI’s role in preventing numerous terrorist acts, it added. “The army chief said most of the achievements and successes of the intelligence agencies go unnoticed but their accomplishments for the defence of the country are phenomenal which deserve due recognition and acknowledgment.”
Gen Sharif asked the ISI chief to follow a more proactive approach while gathering intelligence pertaining to the military operations going on in the various volatile areas of the country.
Pakistan’s civil and military leadership asked Afghanistan’s top leaders during a recent visit to Kabul to stop RAW from using the Afghan soil for terrorist activities in Pakistan. “Pakistan conveyed its concerns to Afghanistan that the Indian spy agency must not use Afghan territory to create instability in the country,” foreign ministry spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah told a weekly news briefing on Thursday.
Though the Middle-East-based Islamic State, and its affiliate Jundullah, have claimed responsibility for the Safoora massacre, Pakistani officials doubt the claim. “The Islamic State has no footprint in Pakistan but our security forces stand alert to meet any threat,” Khalilullah told journalists.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2015.