Reforming Pakistan’s security agencies

March 21, 2009

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has put out a paper on the need to reform Pakistan’s intelligence agencies just as army chief General Ashfaq Kayani is winning much praise for playing what is seen as a decisive role in defusing the country’s latest political crisis and saving democracy.

French scholar Frederic Grare says in the paper the reform and “depoliticisation” of the agencies, in particular the military’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), is imperative.

Grare says there is no magic formula to transform overnight an authoritarian regime into a full-fledged democracy but says there’s no excuse for the government to sit on its hands (“patience should not be an alibi for inaction”).

Among his recommendations is that the government stand up to the military whenever necessary: “There can be no soft substitute for the fact that the director general of the ISI is legally accountable primarily to the prime minister and the not the chief of army staff.” 

It’s no doubt a coincidence the paper came out just as the “long march” crisis was defused with Kayani’s help. He and by extension the military have not won so much praise for ages.

One Pakistani newspaper even had a headline  “Army rescues democracy” .  A confrontation between the civilian leaders and the top brass would seem to be the last thing on anyone’s mind. As far as the international community is concerned, Grare says the issue of democratic control of the agencies is primarily the consequence of its concern with international terrorism.

Western countries can either facilitate or inhibit the process, but they will be affected by the outcome through the persistence
or disappearance of terrorism emanating from the tribal areas, he says.

 ”The threat of terrorism will persist as long as the ISI continues nurturing a number of extremist groups operating within
and beyond Pakistan’s borders,” he says.

Grare also points out an interesting contradiction: “The same Western governments that today blame the Pakistani state for its
inability to control the agencies are maintaining working relations with these very same agencies, thus undermining their
own purpose and the credibility of the Pakistan government as well as its legitimacy.”

[File photo of former ISI chief Hamid Gul during a protest in Islamabad]

30 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

The French scribe is in the right direction in advocating changes in army organization. Thats again a window dressing at best.
More importantly their children are brain washed in regular schools and religious madarassas. The civic text books of elementary and high school students teach hatred towards other religions and countries.
Outright acceptance and tolerance of other religions is the only solution to remedy theocratic societies. World/universe is secular and every constituent country should adapt the doctrine .

1. Security agencies like ISI and FIA should be disbanded as they are the principal sponsor of terror in the name of jehad and islam
2. Pak army should be redirected to maintain peace and tranquility in the country , to create atmosphere conducive for the economic growth and promotion of foreign investment of the country
3. Pakistan spends a substantial part of its budget to defense, to protect from India, history is evidence that during last 60 years of independence of both countries, India has never attacked , it is Pakistan who always invaded India ,after having lost in all the previous wars, Pakistan has launched low intensity war against India in the name of islam and kashmir , as such Pakistan should divert its defense budget to the development of country
4. Weapons of mass destruction and other nuclear arsenals should be taken control by international community to prevent it from falling in the hands of islamic terrorists , and people like A.Q.Khan should be prosecuted in the international courts for crime against humanity
5. Pakistanis should be told to send their children to send to school to learn modern education for their as well as country’s development
6. Pakistan govt should be told to change the school curriculum to teach children about the development in science and technology , the texts relating to spread of hatred among different religions and nations should be removed from the text books .

Posted by anju2008 | Report as abusive

It is only a matter of time that the U.S. will have irrefutable evidence that the people that claim to be helping them with Terrorism, namely the Military Uniforms in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, are also those creating, nurturing, supporting and supplying it as a Jihadi Proxy Army stragetic “asset”. In fact in the words of Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, he called the Taliban leader in Pakistan, a “strategic asset”.

Eventually it will get to the point where it cannot be ignored and this may lead to a military confrontation with the U.S., as Pakistan’s state agencies panic, being finally cornered with a mountain of evidence and electronic evidence against it.

The U.S., may in its own cowboy style, threaten Pakistan in backdoor conversations that its ISI is now considered a rogue terrorist organization. Slowly, the U.S. will escalate its Drone Program against the ISI. It is only a matter of time until the U.S. will seek a conclusive “REGIME CHANGE” in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. This is the same type of regime change in Iran, Iraq, Panama, the South American Countries, which we have seen before.

Pakistani agencies are unreformable, but it should not be put past the U.S. to dismantle them by whatever means necessary.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

India has ‘proof’ of Pakistan role in Mumbai attacks: Associated Press

NEW DELHI (AFP) — India’s government says it has “overwhelming evidence” that “official agencies” of Pakistan were involved in the Islamist militant attacks on Mumbai that left 165 people dead.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/art icle/ALeqM5htklqoW4sUhLq_CvN6Oeme2empyQ

Posted by David | Report as abusive

Taliban chief Omar “not in Pakistan’s Baluchistan”: Baluchistan chief minister

So he knows where else and the exact location of Omar. It is time to send drones to this area and look for answers.

http://www.reuters.com/article/featuredC risis/idUSISL431839

Posted by David | Report as abusive

David Kilcullen: An Australian army reservist and top adviser to Gen. David H. Petraeus during the troop surge in Iraq

What is the real central front in the war on terror?

Pakistan. Hands down. No doubt.

Pakistan is 173 million people, 100 nuclear weapons, an army bigger than the U.S. Army, and al-Qaeda headquarters sitting right there in the two-thirds of the country that the government doesn’t control.

The Pakistani military and police and intelligence service don’t follow the civilian government; they are essentially a rogue state within a state.

We’re now reaching the point where within one to six months we could see the collapse of the Pakistani state, also because of the global financial crisis, which just exacerbates all these problems. . . . The collapse of Pakistan, al-Qaeda acquiring nuclear weapons, an extremist takeover — that would dwarf everything we’ve seen in the war on terror today.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con tent/article/2009/03/19/AR2009031903038. html

Posted by David | Report as abusive

ISI, created its own demise!

“The ISI also came up with the idea of recruiting Islamic militants from other countries to come to Pakistan and join the anti-Soviet force. Its director, Hamid Gul, later said his agency recruited 50,000 of these militants from 28 countries”

“One million Afghans died in the decade-long war”

http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/03/20/o pinion/edkinzer.php

Posted by David | Report as abusive

Officials link Kabul attackers to Pakistan: IHT

Mr. Ansari also suggested that Pakistani intelligence had a role in the planning of the attacks. “I would like to say specifically that the intelligence agency of our neighboring country is involved and behind these attacks and organizing these activities,” he said.

Afghan security officials have long blamed Pakistani intelligence for aiding the Taliban insurgency, and increasingly complex attacks on Kabul over the last year have indicated greater sophistication in planning and executing the attacks.

In particular, a senior Afghan security official has said that an organizer of the suicide attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul last year was in direct phone contact with a Pakistani intelligence official in Peshawar, Pakistan. U.S. intelligence agencies also concluded from intercepts that Pakistani intelligence officials helped plan that attack, American officials said later.

India has also blamed Pakistan’s main spy service, the Inter-Services Intelligence, or I.S.I., for being behind the Indian Embassy bombing and the attacks in Mumbai.

Pakistan has denied the allegations, blaming, at most, “non-state actors” for the attacks.

So, ISI is new non-State actor?

http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/03/19/a sia/kabul.php

Posted by David | Report as abusive

Pakistan in the frame over Bangladesh uprising

The Pakistani intelligence services are suspected of being involved last week’s Dhaka massacre of at least 77 Bangladesh Army officers.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnew s/asia/pakistan/4902794/Pakistan-in-the- frame-over-Bangladesh-uprising.html

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World  /Jittery-Pak-instigated-Bangla-mutiny/a rticleshow/4269149.cms

Posted by David | Report as abusive

Pakistan in the frame over Bangladesh uprising

The Pakistani intelligence services are suspected of being involved last week’s Dhaka massacre of at least 77 Bangladesh Army officers.

some ISI operatives posted at Pakistan’s Dhaka high commission had met a few senior BNP and Jamaat leaders on February 22, just three days before the BDR mutiny

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnew s/asia/pakistan/4902794/Pakistan-in-the- frame-over-Bangladesh-uprising.html

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World  /Jittery-Pak-instigated-Bangla-mutiny/a rticleshow/4269149.cms

Posted by David | Report as abusive

Crime list of ISI is too long and too wide

ISI, AQ Khan, Zardari should be tried under ICJ (International Court of Justice) in Geneva.

Make the US aid, IMF loan conditional to Pakistan’s cooperation at ICJ.

Posted by Amy | Report as abusive

“Army rescues democracy”

—Reminds me of the fairy tale
- ‘the wolf & little Red Riding Hood.’

Posted by anup | Report as abusive

Not Zardari, I meant musharraf above.

Choudhury is enough for Zardari.

Posted by Amy | Report as abusive

Pakistan, an international migraine: Madeline Albright

Too much of a Migraine!

Can’t we just flush Pakistan in the recession for once and get rid of migraine forever?

Posted by Amy | Report as abusive

“[File photo of former ISI chief Hamid Gul during a protest in Islamabad]”

—A rare sight indeed!

Posted by anup | Report as abusive

Summer 1996: British Authorities Complain about ISI Procurement for Khan Nuclear Network in London

Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to UK:

“I called up the ISI guys and asked them: ‘What are you doing?’ They told me to keep my nose out of it. Khan was not acting alone. He never acted alone. He was trading, using the ISI and the military. Both were untouchable”

http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp  ?entity=wajid_shamsul_hasan_1

Posted by Amy | Report as abusive

Isn’t this Gul guy in US watch list or wanted list?

Posted by Outsider | Report as abusive

Pakistan does not need such a huge military, intelligence agency and the money that goes into it. They have no external enemy, though they keep pointing at India to justify it.

India has not poked into Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives etc to destabilize them in the recent past. The only country that it got into and broke them up is Pakistan. This is due to strategic reasons and it was a good decision. India did indulge in Sri Lanka, but it has walked off from it since 1990. During the past 15 years, India has cleansed itself from such activities (read as a country without the influence of the Indira Gandhi’s family).

Pakistan has always been the aggressor on each occasion. Even now many of them have clouded vision and assume superiority over India. They have never accepted their defeats and keep believing that India was the loser. Such is their mind set all across the board.

When the Soviet Union invaded Pakistan, they were safe, other than the refugee problem. But they allowed the US to set up camp and fight their personal agenda war with the Russians. As a bargain they got a lot of goodies that they stashed up for use against India at a latter time. Until 1989, relative peace prevailed in India. In 1989 the Soviet Union left and Kashmir problems erupted during the same year.

Pakistan’s military and the intelligence agency have become the real epicenter of global terrorism. Their original intent was for use against India solely. But Al Qaeda and the Taliban hijacked that plan and turned it into a global terror network. Pakistan turned a blind eye to it even then, until the United States began to bomb the living day lights out of the Taliban.

In essence, the following needs to be done in order to put an end to Islamic terrorism:

1. Take out the nukes from Pakistan
2. Take out their missiles.
3. Take out AQ Khan and his scientists to a safe haven.
4. Destroy all madrasas and ship their mullahs to a prison inside a central asian nation.
5. Destroy all gun making factories inside Northern Pakistan.
6. Cut up Pakistan into 4 independent nations
7. Set up businesses in these countries. Set up modern schools and colleges.
8. Hold them under international control for 25 or more years.

Good medicine tastes bitter. These people are unable to help themselves. We need a new Marshall plan. What is done to Pakistan should serve as a warning to all other nations who are on the brink of disaster with terrorism.

Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies are focused on India for the following reasons:

1. India invaded Kashmir in 1948 and has violently repressed the people.

2. India attacked Pakistan in 1965.

3. India supported the Mukti Bahini rebels and then invaded East Pakistan.

4. India supported the Tamil Tigers who have ruined Sri Lanka.

5. India supported Baloch separatists feudal lords in 1970′s.

Sounds like good enough reason to focus on India.

Aamir Ali,
Good idea .. stay focused on India. Let the economy go down the toilet, let army surrender to Taliban and AQ everywhere, let US bomb every week and bring in bigger drones and let US put another 30K soldiers.

Who cares about Pakistan.. it’s non-state. Just stay focused on India. Wish I had your wisdom!

Posted by David | Report as abusive

David,

The various comments here show how obsessed Pakistanis are about India and imaginative threats from India ?

To us in India, development of India and its people are our priority , tomorrow, Tata Motors, India’s largest auto company is launching world’s cheapest car at USD 2000, a great moment of pride for every Indian in the world , for achieving this feat , accomplished by thousands of Indian engineers .

Posted by anju2008 | Report as abusive

India makes the world’s cheapest cars and Pakistan makes world’s cheapest terrorist .

Posted by anju2008 | Report as abusive

Reforming a criminal state, controlled by a criminal military/intelligence network is a terribly wasted effort. Direct war with Hitler liberated the world from Nazis. Direct war with Islamic terrorism in its heartland is the right way to do it. It is time an international alliance is made to go after it. Otherwise Obama will be sucked right into it. He has enough domestic issues to keep him awake all night. The last thing he wants is a rogue state that is bilking his country and the problem does not seem to show any signs of going away. Even the people of Pakistan are beginning to support their criminal state.

Mauryan barks:
“Even the people of Pakistan are beginning to support their criminal state.”
Yes they do, every criminal enemy of Pakistan will be crushed. People of Pakistan love their country and will always look after its interests. Criminals like you with criminal mentality must know that Pakistan is a responsible member of international community, highest number of Pakistan Army troops serve in UN peacekeeping missions across the world, Pkaistan is a major Non-Nato US Ally (MNNA), WTO member, UN member, SAARC member and Commonwealth member with good standing.
Next time show your criminality somewhere, your failed smear campaign is getting nowhere.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Umair writes:
Pakistan is a responsible member of international community, highest number of Pakistan Army troops serve in UN peacekeeping missions across the world, Pkaistan is a major Non-Nato US Ally (MNNA), WTO member, UN member, SAARC member and Commonwealth member with good standing.

Umair, please save your precious, sycophantic words for the diplomatic cocktail party circuit. What you have written nothing, but a self-congratulatory rant. The realities in the ground are quite different. Pakistan may be (in your words) a responsible member of international community. However, what has it TRULY been responsible for? Pakistan has time and time again denied and distanced itself from any form of responsibilities. Pakistan only admits to its wrong doings if it knows it will get something in return.

Example 1:
The surviving Mumbai attacker is Pakistani. Pakistan denies and denies and denies. Finally, it admits it to get into the USA’s good books for future aid.

Example 2:
Pakistan promised the Sri Lankan cricketers presendential security, but none was given.

Example 3:
Zardari vowed that the Lahore attackers will be caught with “Iron Hands”. However, to this day none have been caught.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

The IMF, the U.S., the UN, the World does not realize that with regards to fixing Pakistan, the situation is very ripe to be repaired, they are just too short sighted and meek to exercise those options.

In one hand, Pakistan has a nuke in the other hand, a near empty begging bowl, is it just me, or is it actually the WORLD, that has Pakistan by the b$lls?

Just think how much more leverage can be applied to denuclearize Pakistan.

Food for nukes sounds like a good program to me. Feed the poor for nukes. A price per nuke should be negotiated, and the cash from these proceeds can be used to stimulate Pakistan’s economy.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

Mauryan said:

“Reforming a criminal state, controlled by a criminal military/intelligence network is a terribly wasted effort. Direct war with Hitler liberated the world from Nazis. Direct war with Islamic terrorism in its heartland is the right way to do it. It is time an international alliance is made to go after it. Otherwise Obama will be sucked right into it. He has enough domestic issues to keep him awake all night. The last thing he wants is a rogue state that is bilking his country and the problem does not seem to show any signs of going away. Even the people of Pakistan are beginning to support their criminal state.”

Sometimes, I think the same thing, the U.S. should just start indiscriminately wiping out all Pak Army and ISI trained Jihadi-Proxy Army “Strategic” assets, and do it indiscriminately, without warning, without permission, without apologies. Sometimes I think the world has had enough, these Paki’s keep asking for money, while the terrorism structure remains unaffected. The world will come to reap Pakistan one day for its treachery and lies.

We have to remember that there is only 1-2weeks of fuel in Pakistan for the Army, they cannot run a sustained war campaign for too long, as most of their machines will eventually have empty fuel tanks.

The question, will the world start acting and using some force, once the next 911 happens? It shouldn’t have to come to that.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive

Global watcher,

The US had a golden chance in 2001 to take out the very root of terrorism – Pakistan and its sinister mechanism consisting of its military, intelligence, nuclear scientists, and madrasas. They remained ignorant and got fooled by the wily Musharraf. He managed to hide the ISI’s involvement up to its neck inside Afghanistan as a part of the bargain. 800 Pakistani soldiers were air lifted from inside Afghanistan and then bombing the place restarted. A part of the ISI building went on fire “suddenly.” I can bet they hurriedly burnt up all evidences of ISI link with the Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda up to their necks. I still do not understand why they made any deal with Pakistan at all. Their CIA knew who was behind the whole thing. I guess that idiot Bush was so obsessed with Iraq that he looked at the 9/11 aftermath as a drag to his plans. His action showed reluctance. Suddenly they stopped the chase in Afghanistan and turned their full attention on Iraq. Whatever Bush accused of Iraq, is in Pakistan – WMDs, dictatorships, terrorism, Al Qaeda, Taliban you name it. And they are dancing with Pakistan. And Pakistan is allowed to continue with its nefarious terrorist activities inside India as a bargain. Look at the news today. Spring has started. Pakiatani troops started their shelling across the LoC. Within 24 hours, the Indian troops are battling insurgents inside Kashmir. IPL is forced out of India due to the insecurity caused by Pakistan based terrorists. They are even trying to attack our democratic elections. India should get back with the US and its allies and tell them that beyond a certain time limit, we will have to get involved directly and if it invokes a nuclear war, so be it. It is time something concrete is done.

@David

Since India is hostile to Pakistan and sponsors terrorism inside the country, it is logical for the security agencies of Pakistan to focus on India.

Its not the job of security agencies to run economies or conduct foreign affairs.