Original Articles

Power games: Army chief versus ISI chief

-Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro
-Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro

The tussle between pro ISI forces and pro Geo forces is paralyzing Pakistan at different levels. Worst of all the religious parties are once again being used to ignite further curbs on freedom of speech in them name of religion. A process the military establishment has been using to further their own power ambitions for a very long time.

In Pakistan there are three types of opinion leaders, politicians and journalists:

1) Those that are afraid of the ISI:

This group stays quiet on such issues and try to find a space to provide some input without taking names and speak in metaphors. They are hoping that someone else like LUBP will speak and bring about the space for them to speak. One can only sympathize with them as they risk their lives if they speak. What should be heartening to them is with the new information age, we are starting to do that.

2) Those that are working for ISI:

Most of the journalists and a good chunk of the politicians especially the religious parties fall in this catagory. There discourse is compromised and obfuscatory.  A good example is the Ossama Bin Laden raid by United States forces. The entire media and political elite focused a narrative on the violation of sovereignty of Pakistan and tried to find traitors. The real issue of who is responsible for the most wanted terrorist in the world living 10 miles from Pakistan Military Academy was never discussed.

3) Those that are hoping to for ISI favors:

This is the most sorry group of individuals. A good example is recent posturing by Shia and Brevli political parties and notably Senator Faisal Raza Abidi to side with the Deobandi Fascist parties for an expansion of the blasphemy laws. They are hoping that ISI will stop its Takfiri proxies from killing Shia and Sunni Brelvis in return for their support. They are of course sadly mistaken. The ISI has enormous need for their Takfir Deobandi terrorists. They are needed in Baluchistan, Afghanistan, India and sold to Syrian and other theaters for Riyals and Dollars. It is their religious belief to kill Shia and Sunni Brelvies, destroy Sufi Shrines and force convert Hindus and Christians. If the ISI needs them to do their killing. they will allow them to practice their religion. Without their armed wings the Takfirs Deobandis have no logical argument, this is another compulsion for them to continue to impose their will.

So with this perspective one should be clear that no clarity will ever be seen from Pakistani media or political elite. So what is really going on?

It is clear the crises generated with a change of guard. The Army Chief , the ISI Chief , the Chief Justice, the president and Prime Minister have all been replaced relatively recently. Power in Pakistan is simply concentrated in these offices, these new office holders are colliding. Let us be clear that ninety percent of the power is concentrated in Army and ISI offices.

The Current ISI chief is appointed by the longtime and powerful retired General Ashfaq Kayani, it would stand to reason the new Chief General Raheel Ashraf would want his own man. If we analyze the situation we see Zaheer ul Isalm is the biggest looser in this fight.  ISI and by association Army’s name is being dragged through the mud. This is always they way top Generals are made to resign in the Army. This was the case with Ayub, orchestrated by Yahya Khan, it happened again with Musharraf with Kiyani creating the lawyers movement.  Now it seems it is Zaheer Ul Islam’s turn. It is simply a question of time before his called to the office of the Chief and resignation is demanded for the good of the institution.

To play this game there is always a bag-man that helps. In the case of Musharraf it was Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry who sided with General Kiyanni, there can be various motives including but not limited to their common pro Deobandi Taliban thinking.

The bag-man today is someone who is least mentioned. It is General Zia uddin , the National Security Advisor of Mian Nawaz Sharif.  General Zia Uddin is possibly being made to look like the instigator of the attack on Hamid Mir in a fake intelligence report to  General Zaheer Ul Islam. This report is probably fabricated by his future successor. The result is a series of  bad decisions such as sending his goons to shut down Geo and gaining even worse press for the ISI.

So in the end there maybe no pro Geo or pro ISI forces, simply an internal power struggle within the Military establishment. Geo and others are simply actors on their stage, net result . Check and mate General Zaheer Ul Islam.

 

ISI Versus ISI

About the author

Taj

Ali Abbas Taj is the Editor of Let Us Build Pakistan.
@aliabbastaj on Twitter

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