Must the ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) sit down peacefully and observe silently the notorious activities of the forces hostile to Pakistan. What do the CIA, the MI6 and other intelligence agencies of different countries do when their country is in some trouble or facing some internal or external threat? Certainly silence becomes a crime when action is required; so this is what the ISI is doing; it is taking action to save its motherland from the cruel hands of intriguers, intruders and conspirators.
ISI is not a state within the state as some of our ‘well-wishers’ have been blaming since long, it in itself is a state and the name of this state is Pakistan. ISI does what it thinks is better in the larger interest of Pakistan. Its working is simply based on very sacred passions of love and of sacrifice. It is because of these passions that we always find the name of this intelligence agency among the list of the best intelligence agencies all over the world. Even the enemies of Pakistan admit the supremacy of ISI regarding professional perfection.
S. Dulat is the commonly known name of Amarjit Singh Dulat. He is a former special director of the Intelligence Bureau and former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing. He served as the Head of Research and Analysis Wing from 1999 to 2000. After retirement he was appointed as advisor on Kashmir in the Prime Minister’s Office and served there from January 2001 to May 2004. He is considered the brain and heart of the RA&W. Last year someone asked him which the most powerful intelligence agency is in his opinion. He abruptly replied, “The most powerful intelligence agency is either KGB which no more exists or the ISI, because they are very anonymous.”
Certainly A.S. Dulat is a true professional and his comments about the supremacy of the ISI count a lot but for most of the countries it seems difficult to accept the supremacy pointed out by A.S. Dulat. It may be a sense of fear or a feeling of insecurity of the forces hostile to Pakistan that this most powerful intelligence agency always remains under their criticism. Targeting the ISI and looking at it with suspicious eyes is nothing new; it is an old tradition of our friends all around us particularly in the USA. It is not only the desire of US, India and Israel, there are so many others including Afghanistan who wish that a ban must be imposed on the ISI because they feel this organization is a threat and a challenge to their hegemonic and notorious designs against Pakistan.
Almost seven years back in 2010, the Reuters published a report by Michael Georgy with the title, ‘Pakistan’s ISI, a hidden, frustrating power for U.S.’ The report said, “Top U.S. defense officials are concerned that some elements of Pakistan’s main spy agency may be interacting improperly with the Taliban and other insurgent groups. ISI is the most powerful intelligence agency in Pakistan, a country the United States sees as indispensable to its efforts to tame a raging Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.” The report further said, “The shadowy military intelligence agency has evolved into what some describe as a state within a state. It is believed to have a hidden role in many of the nuclear-armed nation’s policies, including in Afghanistan. The ISI is seen as the Pakistani equivalent of the U.S. Central Agency (CIA) — with which it has had a symbiotic but sometimes strained relationship — and Israel’s Mossad.”
Another report published by Wikipedia highlighted ISI’s activities in the US said, “The Inter–Services Intelligence has been alleged or previously documented by various authors of running an active military intelligence program in the United States, as well as operational activities related to America outside the country. The ISI has reportedly been suspicious about CIA’s attempted penetration of Pakistani nuclear assets, and CIA’s alleged intelligence gathering in the Pakistan’s tribal areas along the Afghan border. Based on these suspicions, it was speculated that the ISI was pursuing counter-intelligence against CIA operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan.” In short everyone including US admits that the ISI has always been doing all best possible in the larger interest of Pakistan, and certainly it is the job and duty of the ISI to keep an eye on the activities of the forces hostile to Pakistan and to counter every effort that may be harmful to Pakistan.
Why the world is so much worried about the working of the ISI, I could never understand. Every intelligence agency works for the safety and security of the country it belongs to. It must be appreciated that the ISI is performing its duty honestly and successfully same as the CIA, FBI, MI6, Mossad and other intelligence agencies do for their respective countries. As far as the allegation of being a state within the state is concerned, this allegation has been ‘awarded’ to almost all intelligence agencies of the world. In this particular reference, the term of Deep State is getting very much popular in US now-a-days. This term describes ‘a form of alleged cabal that coordinates efforts by government employees and others to influence state policy without regard for democratically elected leadership’.
Alfred W. McCoy, a Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison states that the increase in the power of the U.S. intelligence community since the September 11 attacks has built a fourth branch of the U.S. government that is in many ways autonomous from the executive, and increasingly so. An important point to be noticed here is that in USA, which is no doubt a country considered as the very center of democratic trends and traditions, where there is a lot of resources and which has no threat from any side and anyone, the intelligence agencies are playing a role stronger than the government; they are running there a state within the state but it is very ironical that our friends in America expect from Pakistani intelligence agencies a role which is totally inactive rather passive.