Dr Mehmood-ul-Hassan Khan
THE Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is a strategic asset of Pakistan which should not be bashed because of any political deprivation, marginalization, isolation and enmity. There is an undue hot debate going on in the country about its significance, role and contribution by projecting wrong reference and concept of deep state. Frankly speaking, the ISI does not have any levers of ultimate control in the government. Policy formation and decision-making is the final prerogative of the political government. On the contrary, the term “deep state” is believed to have originated in the 1990s, and was first used in reference to Turkey and afterwards Egypt but finds increasing usage and propagated with special reference to the South Asian region. Most recently, it has also discovered renewed salience in the US in the wake of the Donald Trump Administration’s struggle to control the federal bureaucracy and institutions.
Moreover, even increasing political pluralism of India is inching towards orbit and total surrender to deep state in the name of patriotism and national security. Since the rise of the sick man of South Asia, Narendra Modi, who used religion, communal and racial cards to gain and grape more and more political power. The Rashtriya Sevak Sangh (RSS) has easy access and penetration in the Indian Intelligence Bureau and other national security organs with a purpose to silence its opponents, build narrative about the reality of Hindu nationalism and establish the sponsorship of Bharatiya Janata Party under Modi. So deep state is pushing so-called shining India into a wheel of ashes. Even, the CIA and FBI have the myth of America’s deep state. Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communist crusade in the 1950s was largely premised on the same paranoia about some establishment “deep state”. Similar views were voiced with lesser degrees of conspiratorial conviction by the Reagan and Nixon Administrations. The Arab Spring is another prime example of deep state where leaderless revolutions pushed the general masses to achieve its own goals. So specter of a “deep state” has served as a useful scapegoat in Donald Trump’s presidency.
Political morphing, denial to wishful list of accountability, relief from courts, government organs and parliament has de-shaped the so-called democratic trust of all the opposition parties in the country which are now trying to get some shelter, concession and political breath under so-called Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). The PDM’s personal frustration has forced it to a political suicidal mission wherein socio-economic prosperity and national sovereignty may also be in the line of fire. Politics is the grand sum of peaceful persuasion and such processions and protests will achieve nothing but create chaos, anarchy and uncertainty.
Self-exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif continued outburst against COAS General Qamar Bajwa and DG ISI, General Faiz is a sign of a defeated man. His so- called democratic narrative is a dead man walking. He has now committed a serious and irreparable personal and political loss. Corruption of the last 35 years has imbalanced spirits of rationality and logic. Genie and deity of corruption should understand that no one is greater than state and gone are the days of untouchable syndrome. He lashed out at the Army and the ISI saying that they manipulated elections and thus destroyed the country. Even in Gujranwala speech he crossed all limits and started a dirty blame game. He and Pakistan’s opposition leaders have expressed concern at the manner they have been embroiled in corruption cases by the National Accountability Bureau and believe that the deep state is responsible for their discomfiture. Now political courage demands that the exiled former Prime Minister should immediately get back and surrender to courts of the land to seek justice because oratory and blame game may not achieve anything but further division and destruction. Mr. Caesar you are not immortal please.
ISI is Pakistan’s premium intelligence agency (IA) having a great record of success against its competitors. It was founded in 1948. It outperformed others in Afghanistan, Iran, Bosnia, India and the USSR. In the line of duty it even confronted the US and achieved its desired goals. Prominent security experts outline the basic features of any intelligence agency which are not confined to collection of data, analysis and exploitation of information and intelligence. In case of Pakistan ISI provides complete security shield and has the ability for offence in case of any danger to the country and its important organizations.
It is one of the strongest and best intelligence agencies, functioning in the most deceptive and invisible fashion. It works in the shadows to neutralize threats to the country and protect our most valuable assets. Many conspiracy theories tagged ISI as friends/sympathizers of Afghan Taliban and cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan. Under the pretext of these false allegations, US top officials started bashing the ISI. The Government of Pakistan flatly refused and afterwards, a blame game was started.
Defence forces of Pakistan and ISI defeated foreign-sponsored war on terror in FATA and Swat which is highly appreciated. According to different reports, RAW, CIA, RAAM and Mossad from 2005 onwards tried their best to destabilize Pakistan. Weapons like Kalashnikovs, MI-4 American rifles, Israeli sniper rifles, 12.7mm, 14.5mm and 107mm guns, mortars, pistols, RPG-7s, grenades, explosives, equipment like remote control sets, jamming devices, sophisticated telephone and wireless sets, bullet proof and suicide jackets, kits and currency of different countries had been provided to the militants. Terrorists had been sent to Pakistan through Indian training camps located in Afghanistan. But the defence forces of Pakistan and ISI stood tall and defeated the ill- designs of its enemies. Inter-Services Intelligence is an invisible warrior. With very meager resources it has successfully proven its superiority while defeating CIA, RAW and Mossad. The US has been forced to resolve Afghan issue as suggested by Pakistan and its intelligence Agency. It is indeed a strategic asset to the nation.
ISI is a superior intelligence agency to protect national security. It not only copes with foreign anti-state elements, but also fights psychological warfare including internal enemies. ISI is the prime institution of the country’s defence and trustee of national security and solidarity which has always rendered invaluable services for the defence of the motherland. It is indeed the first line of defence. It is Pakistan’s formidable multiplier force. It defends Pakistan against any aggression and is fulfilling its patriotic duty. ISI is a Pakistani asset whose prime responsibility is to defend the national security interests within the parameters laid down by the Pakistani government.
—The writer is Director, Geopolitics/Economics Member Board of Experts, CGSS.
Dr Mehmood-ul-Hassan Khan