Original Articles

Long March, Deal and Topi Drama? Asadullah Ghalib


External intervention by the US and the UK:

The officials said Clinton coordinated with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband to exert strong pressure for a deal. Clinton told reporters Monday that the decision to reinstate Chaudhry was a first step for much-needed reconciliation and political compromise in Pakistan, but she avoided answering when asked if she had linked continued US aid to a deal.

US officials said Clinton told both Zardari and Sharif that congressional lawmakers might balk at sending Pakistan more aid while the crisis persisted. “She warned them that congressional appropriations would be at risk,” said one US official, who asked not to be named. A senior State Department official said “many” in Congress had expressed concern over what was happening in Pakistan. “The secretary’s friendly advice to the Pakistani leadership is that we have got to get this situation under control,” the official said.

US special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, also spoke several times over the weekend to Pakistani politicians. “This was all done with great respect for Pakistan’s sovereignty and sensibility but with great concern for the strategic and political implications of a protracted confrontation,” a Holbrooke aide quoted him as saying.


Internal Intervention by General Kayani:

ISLAMABAD: Former military chief General (retd.) Jehangir Karamat said that different types of speculations and models were being discussed in media and elsewhere, including intervention of army, models of Bangladesh and Thailand to end this crisis. However, the role played by army to end the crisis should be called as “Kayani Model”.

“The military acted to avert, to correct and to clear the way for full democracy with the center of gravity where it should be — in Parliament and the people,” said Jehangir Karamat, a retired general and former Pakistani ambassador to Washington, in an article for Spearheadresearch.org, his Web site.

General Karamat called the new military approach the Kayani Model, after General Kayani, whom General Karamat is close to. During the crisis, the army chief had been “invisible but around, fully informed and acting through well-timed and effective influence in the right quarter,” General Karamat wrote. (The New York Times, 17 March 2009)

Daily Express, 17 March 2009

Sharif’s assurances to the USA?

Mr. Sharif, often held in suspicion in Washington because of his leaning toward Islamic conservatives, was more cooperative than had been thought, some United States officials suggested.

In Washington, there was an awareness that Mr. Sharif’s reputation from the Bush administration of being too close to the Islamists might be overdrawn, and that his relationships with some of the Islamic parties and with Saudi Arabia could be useful, said a foreign policy expert familiar with the thinking of the Obama administration on Pakistan.

Mr. Sharif has told people that he got along well with the Obama administration’s special envoy, Richard C. Holbrooke, during their meeting at Mr. Sharif’s farm last month.

He speaks admiringly of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom he met with former President Bill Clinton while in exile in Saudi Arabia.

Pakistani analysts, too, said Mr. Sharif could prove to be a useful partner as Washington tried to talk to what it considered reconcilable elements in the Taliban.

“Who from Pakistan can talk to a faction of the Taliban? It’s Nawaz,” said a senior Pakistani politician who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of alienating Mr. Sharif.

But Mr. Sharif has to play a delicate game because if he is seen as doing Washington’s bidding, he will be discredited among much of his constituency, the politician said.

And Mr. Sharif could also turn out to be unwilling to back some of the tough steps that Washington wants.

One encouraging sign for Washington was the role played in the crisis by the army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who let Mr. Zardari know that he could not rely on soldiers to confront the protesters who were threatening to descend on Islamabad to demand the return of Chief Justice Chaudhry.

“The military acted to avert, to correct and to clear the way for full democracy with the center of gravity where it should be — in Parliament and the people,” said Jehangir Karamat, a retired general and former Pakistani ambassador to Washington, in an article for Spearheadresearch.org, his Web site.

General Karamat called the new military approach the Kayani Model, after General Kayani, whom General Karamat is close to. During the crisis, the army chief had been “invisible but around, fully informed and acting through well-timed and effective influence in the right quarter,” General Karamat wrote.



Zardari says he was never against Justice Iftikhar

By Hamid Mir (The News, 17 March 2009)

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Zardari says he was only waiting for the retirement of Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar before restoring Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as the chief justice.

The president told this scribe on Monday evening: “I never said that I am against Justice Iftikhar. I was only waiting for the retirement of Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar, who took oath as the chief justice in the Musharraf regime. Dogar will retire on March 21 and Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry will become the chief justice again in his place. I had made it clear on March 9, 2008 after signing the Murree Declaration that no sitting judge would be disturbed. I said it in the presence of Nawaz Sharif to the media and that was why I never disturbed Dogar.”

He said: “It was a small thing but this small thing exposed many big people.” Zardari was more concerned about some people from his own party who resigned from their ministries last week rather than his political brother Nawaz Sharif. He recited the verse of poet Khatir Ghaznawi: “Go zara si baat par barson kay yaraney gaey, Lekin itna to hua kuch log pehchaney gaey!”

President Zardari said a political crisis was over but Pakistan was still facing an economic crisis and terrorism. He is right. The political crisis is over but some big challenges are still there before the people of Pakistan.


Winners and Losers?

In the words of General Jahangir Karamat:

The biggest folly would be to start identifying winners and losers. There were none. Everybody won. If the government had not acted at the outset to ensure security there may have been a tragic event as in the past. If it had not responded to the will of the people it would have led to violence. If it had not listened to the voice of reason it would have doomed democracy. In the end the government did what was best for the country and the people—that is what governments are there for.

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  • Shireen Mazari (Imran Khan’s spokesperson) writes in today’s The News:

    ….The notification that was expected on March 16 for the restoration of the deposed judges had still to come out by the morning of March 17. Some questions were also being asked about the restoration of the chief justice and other judges without restoration of the November 2 judiciary. A dampener was also the legitimation of Dogar’s chief justice-ship by restoring CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry only after the former’s retirement. As Aqil Sajjad put it, “the attempt is being made to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory”.


  • Problem exists despite resolution of crisis: Holbrooke
    By Anwar Iqbal
    Wednesday, 18 Mar, 2009

    The Zardari government is less than pleased with how the intervention unfolded —especially the contacts with Sharif: Washington Post.—AP

    WASHINGTON: The United States not only used the threat of an aid cut to defuse a potentially explosive situation in Pakistan but also had doubts about the Zardari government’s ability to fight terrorism, US officials and lawmakers said on Tuesday.

    Senator Patrick J. Leahy, who chairs the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds US foreign aid programmes, said there’s a strong desire in the US Congress to provide economic assistance to Pakistan.

    ‘But if Pakistan is in such a state of internal political turmoil that US aid can’t be used effectively, that’s going to limit what can be done,’ he warned.

    The US media also quoted senior Obama officials as saying that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had exerted strong pressure on Pakistani leaders for a deal when she called them over the weekend.

    The officials said Mrs Clinton told both President Asif Ali Zardari and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif that US lawmakers might balk at sending Pakistan more aid while the crisis persisted.

    The statements caused an interesting reaction from Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington, Husain Haqqani, who, until recently, snubbed those who said the United States were interfering in Pakistan’s internal affairs.

    ‘As an ally of Pakistan, the United States may have concerns about domestic developments but it has no role in our domestic politics,’ he said.

    ‘Pakistan’s domestic politics are a matter for Pakistanis alone. US support and aid should be for the Pakistani people and should remain unaffected by developments in domestic politics,’ he added, causing diplomatic observers in Washington to note that the Zardari administration was not comfortable with this change in US attitude, particularly with its friendly gestures to Mr Sharif.

    The Washington Post also quoted US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan as warning that while the resolution of the judicial dispute prevented a political meltdown in Pakistan, the underlying problem still existed.

    ‘While resolution of the immediate problem bodes better than the alternative outcome’ of political meltdown, ‘the underlying problem still exists,’ said Mr Holbrooke who played a key role in defusing the situation.

    The Post also quoted another senior State Department official as saying that the Obama administration ‘understood from the beginning that the current government is not wildly popular.’

    The Post quoted a senior Pakistani official as saying that Washington’s changing attitude ‘has lasting implications for how much the Zardari government is going to go out on a limb for the US, for how much we will trust them.’

    At a public appearance at the State Department, Secretary Clinton acknowledged that she spoke with both President Zardari and Nawaz Sharif to avoid a potentially disastrous clash between the two leaders.

    But what she said next may increase worries in the corridors of power in Islamabad.

    ‘We are going to continue our very close working relationship with the government and a number of Pakistani leaders in the days and weeks ahead,’ she said. ‘So there will be an ongoing effort to make our services available.’

    ‘The Zardari government was less than pleased with how the intervention unfolded —especially the contacts with Sharif,’ the Post noted.

    But a senior Obama official said Washington believed, ‘If we’re going to sustain a civilian government that can be a counterpart, we need one that has enough basis of support.’

    (Daily Dawn)

  • Shireen Mazari (Imran Khan’s spokesperson) writes in today’s The News:

    Reality of Ms. Shireen Mazari’s [ISI Agent]Boss Imran Khan and his support for General Musharraf’s Referendum and then Talibani Mullahs:

    Mullah Imran Khan supported the Rigged Referendum 2002 of General Musharraf 2002, so much for the Judicial Activism!!!

    A rigged referendum : What next? May 13, 2002


    Chinks in Musharraf’s armour

    Former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan G. Parthasarthy says despite the outward bravado, Musharraf knows that the referendum has exposed the chinks in his armour. The world has seen that the emperor has no clothes and the claim that he enjoys massive public support is false. Further, while refusing to annul his referendum plan, the Supreme Court had held that its verdict has been given in terms of the Provisional Constitutional Order under which the country was being ruled after the military takeover. The court implied that as the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan was presently under abeyance, it would be in a position to rule on the constitutional validity of the General’s actions only when the constitution is restored after the elections to be held in October. He is, therefore, now in a weak position domestically. With the assistance of political figures like Imran Khan, former President Farooq Leghari and disgruntled Muslim Leaguers, General Musharraf will spare no effort to keep Ms Benazir Bhutto’s PPP and Nawaz Sharif’s PML from winning the elections. He cannot afford to permit a free and fair election. More importantly, his own Punjabi colleagues in the Army would not be too pleased with how they were dragged into a none too successful or credible political exercise, to help further the political ambitions of their Muhajir chief.

    Critics of Musharraf’s victory in referendum by hook or crook say the question of legitimacy haunts every dictator and Gen. Musharraf is no exception, however benign his attitude towards the Press or however cooperative his response to the international community’s war against terrorism. Thus, the common perception is that an overwhelming “yes” in the Presidential referendum gives Gen. Musharraf a degree of civilian legitimacy that is sorely lacking in him. This was buttressed by the fact that the Supreme Court said he was entitled to hold such a referendum. But, the facts belie this argument. As remarked by the Editor of Friday Times published from Lahore, Najam Sethi, the Supreme Court has not said that this referendum can be a constitutional substitute for a presidential election, leaving that issue to be debated and resolved by Parliament that comes into being after the general election in October. Nor does a referendum, however credible or successful, under a provisional constitutional order legitimising a military coup [which is the legal umbrella under which Gen. Musharraf is operating], eliminate the requirement for a parliamentary endorsement after the constitution has been fully restored. Indeed, every action that Gen. Musharraf has taken in the last three years will require constitutional sanction by a two-thirds majority in the next Parliament. So, Najam Sethi asks, what is the point of a referendum, if in the ultimate analysis, Gen. Musharraf’s fate lies in the hands of a Parliament that is yet to be born? The answer is that the referendum was never meant to be an exercise in acquiring legitimacy. It is an attempt to flex muscle and browbeat intransigent political opponents to join the Musharraf camp so that a king’s part or alliance can be cobbled to win the next general election and become a dutiful parliamentary appendage to President Musharraf.

    Gen. Musharraf admitted as much when he told a group of Pakistani editors shortly before he announced the referendum decision that he was conducting this exercise because he wanted “to get the fence-sitters off the fence” alluding to the many political stalwarts in the country who had not yet deserted the two mainstream parties led by the two ex-leaders in exile, Ms Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif.

    Political observers in New Delhi say although like late President Nkrumah of Ghana and the disgraced President Suharto of Indonesia, Gen. Musharraf did not declare himself President for life and confined the referendum mandate to seeking power for just five years, Musharraf is going to be there for a long time. From October, when he would have completed three years in office, he would get another five-year term thanks to the April 30 referendum. He has also said that he proposes to bring a constitutional amendment to reduce the life of the National Assembly from five to four years. He clearly intends to oversee not only the October elections but also the next Assembly elections as President. He would then get another five-year term from that National Assembly. All together, it would be a fair guess that the General intends to stay on for at least 13 years.

  • Imran Khan supported Musharraf’s Bogus Referendum of 2002 [declared bogus by European Union and many Human Rights watchdogs]and one of the leading figure of this Movement used to lead campaign from USA [below] Samad Khurram was a member of Imran Khan’s Party.

    Musharraf Wins Nearly 98 Percent In Presidential Referendum Thursday, May 02, 2002


    Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who took control of Pakistan in a military coup in 1999, won overwhelming support to extend his leadership for another five years, according to final election results yesterday. A representative of the country’s independent Human Rights Commission, however, called the referendum a “humiliating fraud.”

    Ballot counts showed that 97.7 percent of the 43.9 million votes cast during Tuesday’s election favored keeping Musharraf in office, Associated Press reported yesterday. Information Minister Nisar Memon called it “a massive victory” for Pakistan’s 140 million people, saying voter turnout was “much higher than the government’s expectations,” and dismissing allegations of gross irregularities.

    U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions and Human Rights Commission representative Asma Jahangir, however, said her organization had evidence of irregularities, including people who voted more than once and others who had been coerced. Pakistani opposition forces accused the government of stuffing the ballot box, while the editor of the independent daily The Nation criticized the election commission for being too lax. “There was no voters list, no polling agents, no question of verifying identities’ eligibility to vote,” said Arif Nizami (Alexander Higgins, AP/Yahoo! News, May 1).

    An editorial in the Dawn today says that despite arguments over the referendum’s fairness, Musharraf “becomes Pakistan’s third serving army chief to claim to be an elected head of state — a clear violation of the Constitution.” The newspaper calls on Musharraf “to prove by his actions that his victory would tend to strengthen democracy and lead Pakistan towards political stability and economic growth” and to ensure that the general election scheduled for October is “fair and free” (Dawn, May 2).

    Two bombs exploded today in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, indicating the challenges Musharraf faces as he tries to curb violence and extremism, AP reports (Paul Geitner, AP, May 2).

    UNICEF Representative Calls For Greater Female Participation

    UNICEF special representative Jemima Khan, wife of former Pakistani cricket player Imran Khan, addressed 3,000 Musharraf supporters Sunday, urging greater female participation in politics. Khan was recently appointed to Musharraf’s special task force for human development.

    “No change can be brought without the participation of women,” she said. “I have entered into politics mainly to mobilize women” (Zahid Hussain, London Times, April 30).

    International Donors Say Progress Made In Pakistani Reform

    International development donors expressed support for Pakistan’s reform agenda on the final day of a two-day forum Tuesday, saying the government is on track and calling for more comprehensive and accelerated efforts. The donor community, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and, for the first time, nongovernmental organizations, said the country’s track record so far, particularly given the unforeseen shocks of 2001, had been “no mean achievement.”

    “We have made significant progress over the last 2½ years, but we do not think it provides any room for complacency,” said Pakistan’s Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz. “It is our firm belief that without improving human capital, we cannot achieve higher and sustainable economic growth or reduce poverty effectively” (World Bank release, April 30).

    The bank’s latest country report says Pakistan’s reform efforts from March 2000 to August 2001 — among the boldest yet launched — resulted in the successful launch of a plan to decentralize politics, which it says has the potential to deliver better services and open political participation to a greater number of citizens. Given the wide-ranging nature of reforms, however, the bank said it is inevitable that the system is facing operational challenges. “What is important — and for which Pakistan deserves worldwide recognition — is how much has been accomplished so quickly,” the report said (Dawn, May 1).

    Mr Samad Khurram of Restore the Judiciary Movement who refuse American Award in Pakistan but study in the same USA whose Military bombs Pakisan and same Mr Samad Khurram enjoys Photo Session with a Key US Democrat John Kerry whose vote was a part of Bush Campaign against Iraq [do you know how many Iraqi died?]


  • Will the Real Imran Please Stand Up

    By Amir Zia

    Imran Khan’s vote for the MMA candidate for PM leaves his admirers wondering if he is actually a mullah at heart.



    Imran Khan’s choice of candidate for prime minister has left many of his ardent fans, especially women, dumbfounded. The cricketer-turned-politician voted for Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s nominee for premier, against the advise of many liberal and progressive members within his Tehrik-e-Insaaf (TI).

    Imran used his solitary vote in parliament in Rehman’s favour, forwarding the argument that the MMA is the only political force that is independent and does not take dictation from abroad. He maintained that he found himself ideologically and politically close to the MMA, which denounces President Pervez Musharraf’s support to the international coalition in the war against terrorism, especially in neighbouring Afghanistan.

    “Khan has more than a soft corner for the ousted Afghan Taliban,” a senior leader of his party said on the condition of anonymity. “He thinks that the orthodox religious militia did a great service to Afghanistan and Islam before they became a target of the Americans.”

    Also, the MMA’s firm stand against Musharraf, especially his series of controversial constitutional amendments, won the heart of Pakistan’s former speedster, he added.

    Imran’s protracted bitterness towards the Pakistan Peoples’ Party and anger against the Pakistan Muslim League left him with no alternative other than the MMA, which secured 86 votes, including those of the Pakistan Muslim League (N).

    Khan’s vote for the pro-Taliban cleric has added to the political confusion within his party, which performed poorly in the October 10 elections. “It would have been understandable, had Imran voted for a candidate that was nominated jointly by the opposition,” said a senior Tehrik-e-Insaaf leader. “But by voting for the MMA, he most certainly has lost his standing among the liberal, democratic and progressive elements in society.”

    Human rights groups and the majority of the moderate and liberal Muslims have been extremely critical of the MMA’s narrow interpretation of Islam and the conservative views of its leaders on women, education, fine arts, television and sports. By voting for the MMA, the Tehrik-e-Insaaf chief has, in effect, endorsed the religious alliance’s stand on these issues as well.

    Will the women’s wing of the Tehrik-e-Insaaf, led by Jemima, Khan’s British-born wife, endorse the Taliban-like interpretation of Islam? That remains a moot point.

    Mairaj Mohammed Khan, the Tehrik-e-Insaaf’s secretary general who has spent a lifetime advocating socialism and secular politics, finds it hard to defend the somersaults of the party leader, who has drifted from one extreme (of being pro-Musharraf) to the other extreme (of being anti-Musharraf) within a short span of time.

    “Even we are finding it difficult to figure out the real Imran,” quipped another of his Karachi-based leaders. “He dons the shalwar-kameez and preaches desi and religious values while in Pakistan, but transforms himself completely while rubbing shoulders with the elite in Britain and elsewhere in the west.”

    Many in the Tehrik-e-Insaaf would have preferred to see Imran abstain from the voting like the veteran Pakhtoonkhawa Milli Awami Party leader Mahmood Khan Achakzai.

    “But such political maturity is perhaps too much to ask or expect of Imran,” says a Karachi-based Tehrik-e-Insaaf leader and a close aide of Mairaj Mohammed Khan’s. “It is understandable why people do not take Imran and his party seriously in politics,” he said. “His self-righteousness and high-flying principles fail to explain the contradiction between his strange fondness for the maulanas and his passion for all the good things in life which have come from the west.

  • Shireen Mazari (Imran Khan’s spokesperson) writes in today’s The News:

    Reality of Ms. Shireen Mazari’s [ISI Agent]Boss Imran Khan and his support for General Musharraf’s Referendum and then Talibani Mullahs. She was appointed by General Musharraf as Director General Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI)

    Non-thinking tanks

    With the change in the government, the head of govt institutes are also changed. Dr Shireen Mazari’s ouster is a case in point

    By Nadeem Iqbal

    It looks like a revenge scene from a movie but it has actually happened. After eight long years, Dr Tanvir Ahmed Khan, a former foreign secretary, reclaimed the title of Director General Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI), a post he lost to Dr Shireen Mazari in August 2002.

    Despite the fact that Dr Shireen has been unceremoniously removed from the post at least 15 months before the expiry of her contract in August 2009, she has earned the distinction of being the longest serving DG of the Foreign Office-controlled think tank.

    Dr Tanvir’s held the post between 1998-2000. He was appointed around the time of the May 1998 nuclear detonation, and was in the lead of the pro-bomb lobby in Pakistan. However, after Gen Musharraf took over he lost favour with the military and was replaced by the hawkish Shireen Mazari.

    Shireen Mazari reacted angrily on the termination of her contract on May 14. She told the media that the news of her removal was conveyed to her by the new foreign secretary Salman Bashir. She likened her removal to the sacking of former foreign secretary Riaz Muhammad Khan. She claimed the United States government had influenced her removal as she was writing hard-hitting articles highlighting US intervention in internal Pakistani affairs.

    Riaz Mohammad Khan who took over as the Foreign Secretary in Feb 2005 was sacked by the PPP government last month. His term in office was due to end on Oct 1, 2008

    Mazari also claimed that on May 15 she was ordered to leave the office in 15 minutes as the new DG was to take over.

    Clarifying, a foreign office spokesman said: “Dr Shireen Mazari had been Director General of ISSI since August 2000. She has been the longest serving Director General of the Institute. There is no particular reason to replace Dr Mazari. Dr Mazari was a contract employee and had served with great distinction. All her contract terms will be honoured. Dr Tanvir Ahmed Khan, who is a distinguished scholar and former Foreign Secretary, will take over as the new Director General (ISSI).”

    During her stint in ISSI, Mazari was more recognised for her hard-hitting views reflecting some portions of the establishment.

    She has close relations with Mushahid Husain Syed, PML-Q secretary general and his wife Dushka Syed, a professor in Quaid-e-Azam university. Mushahid, a confidante of Nawaz Sharif was briefly detained after Sharif’s removal but later he became an ardent supporter of Musharaf’s regime.

    Along with Dushka Syed, Shireen was also seen leading civil society protests in 2006 against conversion of a public park into a mini-golf court by the Capital Development Authority and in 2007 against Jamia Hafza dubbing it ‘MullaGardi’. Recently she was seen openly criticising US policies and visits of PPP co-chairperson to the residence of the American ambassador.

    Dr Tanvir, who had served in Benazir Bhutto’s first government as foreign secretary in the late 1980s, has gradually shifted from his PTV-friendly hawkish views to a more diversified outlook on security issues. In fact after his removal as DG ISSI he gradually became a leading critic of the military-led government.

    Last year he was present at the launch of Ayesha Siddiqa Agha’s controversial book Military Inc. at a time when the government forbade all hotels and clubs not to give a place for the function.

    In December last year, while opposing the Musharraf emergency, he was part of 20 former ambassadors and foreign secretaries who called upon Musharraf to restore the rule of law and reinstate senior judges.

    Later, he also supported the PPP position that Benazir Bhutto’s murder investigations should be done under UN.

    Dr Khan said the government had offered him four positions including that of DG ISSI. Out of those, he must have preferred going back to his old job.

    Islamabad has three think tanks — Institute of Regional Studies (IRS), ISSI and Islamabad Policy Research Institute. Their functions are not much different from each other. Over the years these think tanks have failed to produce any original work that could influence or change the country’s regional or domestic policy. Most of the research done by these institutes is based on secondary sources. They are mainly following the official line on controversial issues.

    ISSI is mainly seen as a think tank made for retired foreign secretaries who are accommodated as its DGs and Chairmen. During Dr Tanvir’s first stint, there was no chairman but later Aga Shahi became its chairman. After his demise now former foreign secretary and minister Inamul Haq has been serving as its chairman. ISSI has two directors and seventeen research fellows.

    IRS, controlled by federal information ministry, is considered a post-retirement place for military officers. Since its inception in 1982, many retired military men have served it as its president. Many of them developed the required academic credential while on the job.

    The incumbent president Maj Gen. (Retd.) Jamshed Ayaz Khan took over in April 2002. Before joining the Institute, he served as Additional Secretary Defense Production (DP) Division of the Ministry of Defense from 1999-2001.

    The nascent IPRI was established by a group including Shireen Mazari, Mushahid Husain and Gen Syed Rafaqat, who was also the founder president of the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI). But soon controversy struck and the president was replaced by Brig (Ret) Sahukat Qadir who was also forced to resign.

    Since Oct 2000, Dr. Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, a academician who previously served as the Chairman of International Relation’s Department as well as Defence and Strategic Studies Department of Quaid-e-Azam University, has been working as IPRI’s President.

    It has been a tradition that with the change in the government the head of these institutes are also changed. No wonder Shireen’s ouster was seen as the first in line.


  • Musharraf’s fictitious account of the Kargil conflict has hardly been supported in the past even by Pakistani analysts except Ms. Shireen Mazari, who is believed to have ghost written at least part of Musharraf’s book [In the Line of War]. She is a shameless admirer of the General. For her, the truth in any matter is what the General says. The two are greatly attracted to each other because they admire each other’s capability for lie and deception.

  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has scored her first international hat-trick. She delivered googlies that sent the three back to the pavilion. The lady walked off with the ‘man of the match’ award from President Obama. The three batting were President Asif Ali Zardari; Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Mian Nawaz Sharif. Zardari was clean bowled; Gilani was caught behind the wicket; and Sharif was run out. The ball used in the match was no ordinary made-in-Sialkot glob. It was a multi-million-dollar musket ball made-in-USA. Her words, not exact, were: “Now you listen to me Mr President” hectored Hillary “either you yield to Mr Sharif’s demands or we cancel your next aid instalment.” The threat worked. Next to be bowled out was our prime minister. “Mr Prime Minister, get before the TV camera pronto and make the announcement or else…” Gilani straightaway went to work on the speech dictated from DC. With three dry runs on the teleprompter – cut, paste and edit – several hours later when the muezzin had already called the faithful for morning prayers and daylight had arrived, the PM made his ‘historic’ speech stumblingly to millions of bleary eyed Pakistanis. Last but not the least was the phone call to Nawaz Sharif. “Mr Sharif, call off the long march” said madam secretary. “President Zardari has accepted all your demands.”

    Hillary’s hat-trick
    Thursday, March 19, 2009
    Anjum Niaz


  • Gen Kayani has earned laurels, it appears, for this role. His taciturn visage graced the front page of a major national paper, flanked by that of the relieved prime minister and the revived chief justice. Many commentators have been effusive in their praise. According to one, “the role played by the army chief guaranteed the continuation of democracy in the country”. Another article notes that the army is “the ultimate protector of the external and internal security fronts”. Yet another analyst commends “the nuanced and calibrated approach” of the army chief.

    Such counselling (or interference) by the army is extremely regrettable — and unwarranted. One party and its partners, constitutionally elected and recognised as such, wanted to use the levers of the state to thwart an agitation. Another party and its partners wanted to use the levers of the street to drive home a legitimate point. Both were fighting for a share of the public mind — what political parties are supposed to do. If things would not have been resolved, as appeared to be the case, there would have been a stand-off. It would have ended with either forced dispersion, or a compromise, or a mixture of the two.

    What was so undemocratic — or indeed apocalyptic — about that? In any case, what grounds, if ever any, can be made out for the army playing a productive role in national politics?
    A similarly adjudicating role also appears to have been played by the United States. As a concerned state with stakes in Pakistan’s stability, it has the right to be interested in Pakistan’s affairs. But, as has been the case in the past and appears to be the case now, this interest, often exercised through powerful clients, can amount to much more than that. Again, this is regrettable.

    The Charter of Democracy categorically stated that no party would ask for any interference by the third party. And indeed, in this case, no one asked, at least publicly, for any assistance. But neither did the agitating parties explicitly ask all the third forces to refrain from any role, overt or covert. Today, at least, the PML-N should openly criticise the role played by the army chief, even if it was helpful to its cause. This is unlikely to happen, thus constituting an implicit endorsement. Very disappointing indeed.

    Clouds in the silver lining
    By Zubair K. Bhatti
    Thursday, 19 Mar, 2009

  • Gen Kayani has earned laurels, it appears, for this role. [Raazi]

    Forbidden Fruit – Military & Politics by Hamid Hussain Posted: April 25, 2003



    Politics and profession of soldiering has nothing in common. They are totally different but essential elements of any society. Politicians and soldiers have an interesting relationship in all societies. In societies where civilians are in control, military officers act in accepted boundaries though ready to defend their turf against civilian encroachment. In societies where political institutions are weak and there is lack of consensus on legitimate course of succession, soldiers gradually expand their area of influence. They gradually restrict the role of civilians in various areas and sometimes directly take over the state replacing the civilians. This generally accepted model does not mean that military as an institution has no relevance to the important policy decisions. Even in countries where the tradition of civilian supremacy is well established, military has a political role relating to national security, albeit a different one. One commentator has correctly pointed that “the military’s political role is a question not of whether but of how much and what kind”. [1]

    This article will evaluate soldier’s attitude towards political activity and how it develops. This will be followed by the details of Pakistani experience of politicization of officer’s corps and how repeated and prolonged military rules have militarized the politics. In the end, the complex relationship between soldiers and politicians will be summarized.

    Soldiers & Politics

    Soldier’s disdain for politics and politicians is universal. Soldiers by nature of their training and job requirement place high value on discipline, recognized chain of command and espirit de corps. These values are essential for any professional army. Soldiers generalize these values and attitudes to the whole society without appreciating the difficulties and various conflicting demands by interest groups in a modern nation state. In under-developed countries, the problems are compounded by host of other negative social and economic factors. Discussion, debate and arguments about different points of view are essential ingredients of politics in every society. The nature of political activity is more chaotic on surface. Soldier’s concept of political order is based on the model of discipline, which he has learned in his barracks and daily life. “Institutions that permit disorder are condemned. The men who purposefully encourage disorder, as well as those whose inactions inadvertently allow for disorder, are dangerous”.[2] This is how soldier sees the political activity of his society. Political activity is seen as undermining of the discipline of society and politicians as opportunists and self-seeking demagogues. This thought process is at the root of how a military first withdraws respect and later support of any civilian government which is followed by kicking the quarrelling politicians out of the corridors of power. The chaos and instability caused by the weak civilian institutions is blamed for paving the way for military to take over the state. This is the universal justification used by all military rulers. Once the politicians are condemned as useless bunch, the question arises then who is competent to run the state? Now the self-righteous attitude of officer corps comes into play. In under-developed countries, military sees itself as the most modern institution of the society. In addition, being a member of a well organized and disciplined force and overdose of patriotic and nationalistic symbols reinforces the notion that soldiers are more competent than civilians. In countries where military is the dominant institution, the military leadership considers itself as ‘final arbiters of political process, final judges as to whether a particular turn of events is acceptable from their standpoint as the guardians of national integrity’. [3]

    Modern military is essentially a large bureaucratic organization. The negative attitude of soldiers towards politics is partly related to this fact, which is shared by the civilian bureaucrats. Soldiers look at the policy decisions and difficult conflicts of the society in administrative and technical terms. In case of Pakistan, this thought process is deeply rooted in the colonial past of the country. British colonial policy makers in twentieth century thought that natives were not educated enough or mature enough to run their own affairs. What they needed was a good administration. Make sure that law and order is maintained and there is peaceful environment for economic activity. Natives were allowed to run the municipalities and serve at Viceroy’s Council as advisors but had no role in vital decision-making process. This colonial model of running the state was based on the notion of ‘administration’ rather than ‘governance’. The ‘sword arm’ and ‘steel frame’ of the Raj was the real government. Politicians were men who were allowed to run only ‘certain’ affairs and could be send home anytime when it was determined by British that they were not doing their job. The armed and unarmed bureaucrats of Pakistan who took control in the first ten years after independence were the product of this system. From soldier’s point of view, military’s direct control of the state was aimed at ‘lifting government above politics’.[4] The general negative attitude of Pakistani officer corps towards political activity is not different from any other military. [5]

    The soldier has replaced the civilian. What to do next? Due to the nature of their ethos and training, military leaders run a tightly controlled and highly authoritarian model of government. The decision making process is not seen a ‘political enterprise’ but ‘an apolitical, problem-solving exercise’. [6] Military leaders disdain political activity and mass participation as it causes disorder. In the early part of the military rule, this can be achieved easily without excessive use of force. The circumstances under which Ayub Khan in 1958 and General Musharraf in 1999 took over gave some transient room for personal charisma of the coup leader. Unstable political activity from 1954 to 1958 (the main cause of which was the authoritative intervention and intrigues of Governor General) and charisma of Ayub resulted in initial welcome of coup by general public. Similarly, complex problems of a soft state like Pakistan in 1999 had caused sufficient apathy of general public and personal charisma of Musharraf worked in favour of military. Both cases proved once again that ‘legitimation through charisma alone tends to be unstable and transitory’. [7] The military men should know better. Even genuinely populist civilian leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto could not last more than four years as he was unable to address the fundamental issues facing the society. Once the military rule is prolonged some kind of participation becomes essential. This means that the reluctant military leader has to embark on a course, which he hates. He has to indulge in ‘the demeaning and distasteful business of compromise and bargaining’. [8] This confusion in soldier’s mind, believing that the particular course is harmful but then he has no choice results in a very confusing and complicated situation. Ayub Khan had extensively spoken and written against politics and politicians. Once his rule was extended, he had to shed his uniform (a fatal mistake which his successor would not repeat), patronize a political party named Conventional Muslim League and had to work with political entities. He ruled long enough to see the futility of his exercise when he has to sit with quarrelling politicians of Pakistan in a round table conference and to his utter dismay had to accept their demands. General Zia-ul-Haq experimented with a non-party election in 1985 but it proved to be a non-starter. In less than three years, he had wound up the whole facade of democracy without politics. General Musharraf confident of his abilities to sort out the national mess also held the simplistic notion. He declared the democracy, which he has kicked out, was ‘sham’. In three years, he was recycling the same politicians he had denounced and propped up a shaky coalition of diverse interest groups on the shoulders of military. The chances of present civilian set up to last even two years are very slim. If it lasts longer than that it will be only due to the corruption of the politicians and deliberate decision of the parliamentarians to work under the benevolent patronage of the GHQ and never to question the will of the generals. Cont/P…2

  • Gen Kayani has earned laurels, it appears, for this role. [Raazi]

    Page 2

    Forbidden Fruit – Military & Politics by Hamid Hussain Posted: April 25, 2003


    Politicization of Military

    When military takes over the state, it needs ‘civilian allies or backers for reasons of legitimacy, expertise, or policy implementation’.[9] Military attempts to address the legitimacy dilemma by arranging for an electoral process which is closely monitored and if needed adjusted by the soldiers. Ayub’s experiment of Basic Democracies, Zia’s holding of elections in 1985 on non-party basis and present civilian set up carved by General Musharraf are examples of attempts of military leaders to give some semblance of legitimacy. In all these cases, army chief was the final arbiter of all major policy decisions. Military governments use civilians in areas, which need special skills like economic affairs. Military leaders usually choose non-political technocrats for such jobs. Veteran bureaucrat Aziz Ahmad worked with Ayub, Mian Muzaffar Ahmad with Yahya Khan, Ghulam Ishaque Khan and V. A. Jafri with Zia and Shaukat Aziz with General Musharraf to run the economic sector and planning for development programmes. In case of Pakistan, military rulers have used civilian bureaucrats for policy implementation at all levels. All these measures inevitably involve soldiers with political decisions.

    In case of Pakistan, the political role of the military has been institutionalized over the last fifty-five years. The methodology has been redesigned according to the prevailing circumstances. Pakistan army like any other army is a hierarchical organization with a visible chain of command and proper methodology of carrying out the orders of the military leaders. The military leaders have used what is called a ‘managerial approach’.[10] Army chief works with Corps Commanders and Principle Staff Officers (PSOs) about carrying out the will of the organization. At higher level, chief informs and consults his colleagues with reasonable amount of debate and discussion about various decisions. This approach actually strengthens the command and control of the military as an institution. This helps the chief when he is negotiating or dictating to civilians and when military is in direct control of the state helps to implement policies with least friction.

    Politicization of army officers is the natural outcome of military intervention although the degree may be different depending on the methodology of the ruling regime. Once the military becomes the dominant institution, a new class of officers emerges which elaborates military’s political role. This is the ‘military intellectual’ class. In case of Pakistan, this class of officers (exclusively senior officers) has attended Command and Staff College at Quetta and National Defence College (NDC) in Islamabad. Increasingly, officers belonging to two military intelligence organizations, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) are visibly found playing plain politics. In Pakistan, the most vocal proponents and defenders of military rulers are the most politicized officers who have been directly involved in political intrigues. When the military’s role is expanded to nation building tasks, the political role of the military is not seen as a defence of specific class or ethnic interest but as the autonomous representation of the ‘national interest’. The external threat from a larger neighbour was seen only in military terms, which resulted in no meaningful dialogue about defence issues as generals kept everybody else out of this area. To this, external threat was added the issue of internal subversion by dissatisfied citizens. In this background, the expanding role of the state’s intelligence and security apparatus is a logical outcome as ‘internal threat’ is a significant one and military assign itself the mission “to prevent the ‘internal enemy’ from threatening the economic, social and political order”.[11] In 50s and 60s Pakistan was closely allied with United States through various defence pacts. A large number of officers were trained in United States and it was quite natural for them to view the world through the prism of cold war. The ‘anti-communist’ stand of the officer corps was almost universal. Progressive and left leaning officers were gradually eased out of the armed forces especially after the failed coup attempt in 1951. This didn’t mean that ‘religious’ officers replaced them. The senior brass was thoroughly westernized and secular in outlook. The military brass came to the conclusion that the country’s strategic interests will be served better with alliance with United States. In 60s and 70s, there was close cooperation in defence areas with China. Although China is considered a reliable friend by defence establishment, they are not anxious to implement Chinese model for armed forces or society. In 80s, Pakistani military intelligence agency, ISI worked closely with Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in not so covert operations in Afghanistan against Soviet Union.[12] This interaction was a bit different than earlier cooperation in 50s and 60s. There were limited number of officers (mainly from intelligence and military police branches) who were trained in US institutions and role of CIA operatives inside Pakistan was limited. Different weapons and explosives experts from various branches of US armed forces trained their Pakistani counterparts. Since 1980s, more officers are from middle and lower middle class due to shrinking employment opportunities for youth. In addition, after the disintegration of Soviet Union and retreat of leftists, the links between Pakistan defence establishment and US first became estranged and later completely cut off. This new generation of senior officers, which is now at the senior posts, is trained at facilities inside Pakistan. The general trend of the society towards closer look at Islam has also touched the armed forces. Many senior officers are practicing Muslims like civilians. This does not mean that these officers have turned extremists. They are more nationalistic and concerned about issues affecting other Muslim communities and consider United States as an unreliable partner as far as Pakistan’s interests are concerned. This trend is reflective of the change, which has occurred in the society in the last two decades. This change further reinforced the self-assigned role for the military to directly administer the state. The army was now not only responsible for the state of Pakistan but as a nuclear power has some obligation to the imaginary Muslim community (Ummah) all over the world. September 11 and its international aftermath forced the military brass to think more rationally and take into account the ground realities which had been conveniently ignored in the past.

    Military officers generally blame civilians for politicization of the armed forces and Pakistan is no exception. A former close associate of General Zia-ul-Haq, blaming the civilian politicians states that it is due to ‘immaturity of political parties’ that show ‘lack of vision in politicizing the defenders of the country’.[13] General Musharraf after his coup in 1999 also accused Nawaz Sharif of trying to politicize the senior brass. The issue is not that simple and one sided as generals try to put forward. Even a cursory look at the fifty-five year history of the country gives a totally different picture. It is actually the military rule, which politicizes the army officers. Repeated military intervention has lowered the threshold for the involvement of army officers in civil affairs. The fragmentation of boundaries between civil and military life has resulted in now even middle rank officers uttering partisan political statements. In Pakistan, with each successive coup, the number of officers involved in political activities has gradually increased. Ayub Khan after initial consolidation co-opted various civilian groups to run the state, although various political programmes of the regime were discussed in the armed forces. When Ayub decided to introduce the Basic Democracies, the Navy Chief at a navy commanding officers meeting discussed the programme.[14] Yahya Khan’s tenure was too short and traumatic (separation of Eastern Wing as independent country in 1971) to ensure entrenchment of army officers but some of them became adept to playing politics. Zia’s long haul gave enough time for gradual spilling of army officers in political arena. Over the last three years, many officers of present military government have gradually got their feet wet in the art of politicking. When senior officers hob knob with politicians and involved in making and breaking of political parties, it is quite natural that these officers will make their own alliances for personal or institutional reasons. This creates a very complex situation, further embroiling them in political intrigues. Major General Rao Farman Ali was sent to East Pakistan as political advisor of the Yahya regime and in this capacity was involved in political manoeuvring. During 1970 elections, the Director of IB, N. A. Rizvi collected Rs 4 million from ten leading industrialists to help the candidates of different political parties. The money was given to senior army officers in East Pakistan for election purposes. Farman was the main link between politicians of East Pakistan and military government. After the 1977 coup, General Zia brought Farman to his newly established election cell to make use of the political intrigues he had learnt in East Pakistan. Similarly, Zia brought Major General (later General) Khalid Arif as his Chief of Staff (COS) due to his previous experience with Martial Law duties. Arif had served as President of a summary Military Court when he was Major in 1962. In March 1969, as Lt. Colonel, he worked at GHQ and was part of the team, which finalized the details of Yahya Khan’s take over. After 1969 Martial Law, he worked under Brigadier (later Major General) Rahim Khan in the nerve centre of military regime at GHQ. In his long military career, in the senior position, Arif had commanded only a brigade for two short years. It is quite natural that such experiences will result in sharpening of political rather than military skills of an officer. In 1988, when Zia died in a mysterious plane crash along with top military brass, the military decided to work behind the scene. The blatant interference of senior army brass in domestic political intrigues further complicated the situation rather than solving problems. Army Chief, General Mirza Aslam Beg summoned Provincial Chief Ministers to GHQ. He plainly told his audience that, “the PPP must not win the forthcoming elections and Benazir Bhutto will be unacceptable to the Army as Prime Minister”. He also reassured his audience that Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM — a relatively new party representing interests of the descendants of Muslim refugees who emigrated from India in 1947. General Beg belongs to that community) was in his pocket.[15] The task was assigned to Brigadier Imtiaz who served as Additional Director of Political Wing of ISI in 1988. In this capacity, he worked to cob an alliance called Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (Islamic Democratic Front) against Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). A former aid of Nawaz Sharif admitted that Brigadier Imtiaz helped even in coining Punjabi slogans for the alliance.[16] He became close to Nawaz Sharif during this time. PPP got most of the seats and due to various factors military had to allow Benazir Bhutto to become Prime Minister with significant limitations. In late 1989, opposition parties at the encouragement of military brass started to work on a no-confidence motion against Benazir. In November 1989, Brigadier Imtiaz and Major Amir (heading the Islamabad section of ISI) in a clandestine move offered large sums of money to two members of PPP (Rao Rashid and Arif Awan) to encourage other members of PPP to support no-confidence motion. Brigadier Imtiaz who was no more with ISI was sufficiently politicized and had his own interests at play that he participated in this plan. The government with the help of Intelligence Bureau (IB) trapped the two officers and recorded their conversation and gave to army chief, who simply retired the two officers and no action was taken against them.[17] When Nawaz Sharif became Prime Minister, he rewarded the two officers by giving them prestigious posts. Brigadier Imtiaz was made Director of IB while Major Amir was made Special Advisor to the Chief Minister of North West Frontier Province. The question whether these two officers were acting on their own on a personal agenda or had support of some in the GHQ has never been answered. Lack of accountability of politicized officers by military brass sends a wrong signal to the officer corps. Some officers may want to play the game of political intrigue as it may bring rich dividends. In 1990, when Benazir government was dismissed and new elections were scheduled, ISI collected Rs 140 million ($6.5 million) and distributed to various politicians to influence the outcome of the elections.[18] It is inevitable that officers who are involved in the political role of the military will have different perceptions about various issues facing the country. Few examples will show how the views of politicized officers are influenced by their assignments and perceptions can change so quickly when they have to deal with complex problems themselves. During Pakistan National Alliance’s (PNA) agitation against Bhutto in 1977, one of the demand was withdrawing cases against Pushtun and Baloch leaders who were being tried in Hyderabad on secession charges and winding up of military operations in Balochistan. Bhutto referred this particular demands to General Zia and military brass. There was a unanimous opinion of military commanders against accepting this demand. Zia had a meeting with leaders of PNA and vehemently opposed the idea. DG ISI Major General Ghulam Jilani Khan also gave a presentation giving the evidence against the detained leaders to Maulana Mufti Mahmud. After Martial Law in 1977, when Zia himself had to handle the complex situation, he dissolved the Hyderabad Tribunal, set everybody free and gave general amnesty to Baloch insurgents. Arif calls this ‘Zia’s political understanding and statesmanship’.[19] When civilians are running the government (with all limitations), military brass accuses them for being soft with India and any attempt of reconciliation is seen with suspicion. The view takes a U-turn when army is in charge of the country. Arif calls Zia’s decision to attend the funeral of Indira Gandhi ‘an act of considerable acumen and foresight’.[20] General Musharraf did not approve of Nawaz Sharif’s attempts to negotiate with India and skipped the function of reception of Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Vernacular press hounded the Prime Minister for his ‘soft’ position towards India. When Musharraf took over, the difficult situation of the country now dawned on him and in next two years, he went out of his way to try to open a dialogue with India.

    Assignment of political role to serving officers is not a simple and straightforward of normal military chain of command issue. It raises an important question of how a junior officer is supposed to act when asked by the senior to perform an essentially political activity? The officer is professional and does not believe in political role but ordered by the senior. Can he refuse the order? If yes, then can he be punished through military law? If he obeys the order, is he liable for his actions, which are carried out on the orders of senior officers? Where lies the responsibility? These are the critical issues, which need an in-house dialogue and discussion at the highest level at GHQ. If military continues to perform the task of running the state, they have to come up with a working formula, otherwise it will further confuse the situation. The officers, who have joined politics after retirement, have become highly politicized during their service and have been accused of many transgressions. Most of these officers have been at senior positions during 1971 crisis or have served with military intelligence organizations. Just like politicians, when the politicized officers are accused of some wrongdoing, it is quite natural that they will defend themselves. Due to the nature of their profession, the accusation will be related to defence or national security area. In their defence, the officers tend to use arguments by using the rhetoric of patriotism and try to label their accusers (usually politicians) as non-patriotic. This is done to portray them in favourable light and cast doubt about others. Recently, the over use of Islamic symbols and themes by these officers to divert the onslaught against them are becoming more prominent. A few examples will illustrate how this activity confuses the situation and polarizes the society further. It is damaging not only to the political process but also the institution of armed forces. When Gul was heading ISI, three important events directly relating to the institution he was heading occurred. In April 1988, the huge ammunition dump at Ojhri Camp in Rawalpindi (a large amount of arms and ammunition was stored in the centre of a major city against all normal military safety rules for onward supply to Afghan resistance fighters) blew up resulting in huge loss of life and property. In August 1988, army chief and President of the country General Zia-ul-Haq along with top military brass died in a mysterious plane crash. In February 1989, the ill-planned Jalalabad offensive was launched which was a dismal failure with a large number of casualties. Gul has been criticized on professional grounds about the Jalalabad operation but he countered by blaming the civilian government of Benazir Bhutto and using ideological rhetoric. The result was that critical evaluation of a military operation gone wrong got bogged down into personal accusations and counter-accusations. Nobody has yet even asked the question of any responsibility about Ojhri Camp blast and Zia’s plane crash. Later, when he was sacked, he added the anti-American flavour to the debate. After retirement, as a private citizen, he has the right to express his opinion about different issues, with which one may agree or disagree but that should not cloud the basic concept of responsibility for one’s actions while in service. Pakistan’s Afghan policy (run exclusively by ISI and army) of the last two decades has been embedded in the rhetoric of ideological and Islamic symbolism, preventing any rational and critical analysis and lessons learned. The political and ideological camouflage by various politicized officers have prevented any meaningful dialogue and serious debate about various military operations and national security policies, let alone any accountability. A very curious and strange phenomenon has been operational in Pakistan, where wearing two, three or four stars with associated perks and privileges is considered an achievement without a grain of responsibility. The perverted logic, which is used is that the officer deserve the lofty appointment but is not responsible if something goes wrong during his watch.

    In any society, the relationships between armed forces officers and various civilians including politicians are not an anomaly as long as the armed forces are not vying for direct power. In case of Pakistan, due to repeated military interventions, both politicians and senior army officers have used this relationship to mutual advantage. When one looks closely, a very interesting picture emerges. Lt. General Fazal Haq had close relationship with political leaders of all parties including Wali Khan (Awami National Party), Mufti Mahmud (Jamiate-Ulamae-Islam) and Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao (PPP). Chief of National Democratic Party (NDP) Sardar Sherbaz Khan Mazari used to be personal guest of Fazal Haq in the Governor House whenever he visited Peshawar. Major General (Retd) Naseerullah Khan Babar is a close friend of former Sindh military governor Lt. General Jahandad Khan during Zia rule. As a senior leader of PPP, not infrequently, arrest orders of Babar were issued. He would spend the night in the Governor House and when he would come out in the morning, the police will take him to another comfortable place. This pathetic exercise was done when ordinary PPP workers were being tortured in different jails and publicly flogged. Zia’s Air Force Chief Air Marshal Zulfiqar Ali Khan had differences with Zia. This automatically brought him close to Benazir Bhutto and PPP. He served as ambassador to Washington during PPP government in 1989. This mutually beneficial relationship prevents any accountability of politicians who have close personal ties with military elite during military rule and any accountability of military brass during civilian rule. This mutually corrupting influence has long-term negative effects on the development of responsible political culture and has eroded professionalism of the armed forces. On the other end of the spectrum, mutually hostile relationship between some officers and politicians has also unwanted consequences. When the differences between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and General Musharraf became apparent after Kargil operations in 1999, a very difficult situation emerged. Several senior officers aligned themselves according to the prevailing situation. Sidelining of two Corps Commanders (Lt. General Tariq Pervez and Lt. General Saleem Haider) by Musharraf who were perceived as having sympathies with Sharif resulted in total breakdown of any trust between the Prime Minister and army chief. Musharraf saw this act essential to keep cohesion of the senior brass to confront civilian leaders while Sharif saw this move as a deliberate effort to isolate him by removing all officers who may have some soft corner for the civilians. Pakistan may have to wait a decade before the details of October 1999 coup and the role of different civilian and military players come into limelight. If past is any guide, one can fairly easily visualize the scenario. While the initial takeover by the military could be camouflaged under patriotic and idealistic symbols, ‘but too often the military’s custodianship of government degenerates into factionalism, extravagant defence budgets and corporate featherbedding, and social irresponsibility’.[21] Despite lofty ideals, this is unfortunately the legacy of military rule.

    The rise of intelligence and security apparatus is the inevitable outcome of prolonged and repeated military domination of the society. The political armies for effective control use increasing internal and external surveillance for systematic information gathering. It painstakingly builds up ‘the organization of permanent supervision through informants or political commissars, and widespread practices of repression, intimidation and political blackmail’.[22] In case of Pakistan, there has been a meteoric rise of the intelligence agencies in the last two decades. The clout of intelligence officers in the society and military has dramatically increased.[23] This has further complicated the political scenario. The effect on military itself can be judged from the fact that a large number of heads of MI and ISI have been sacked/retired before completing their terms. The list of generals includes Hamid Gul, Asad Durrani, Javed Ashraf Qazi, Javed Nasir, Ziauddin Butt and Mahmud Ahmad. In addition, increasing role of officers with intelligence background in different sections of the society after retirement is another landmark of the complexity of the problem. Cont/P…3

  • Gen Kayani has earned laurels, it appears, for this role. [Raazi]
    Page 3

    Forbidden Fruit – Military & Politics by Hamid Hussain Posted: April 25, 2003


    Militarization of Politics

    Once the domination of the military in a society is complete, the polity undergoes a radical change. ‘Military leaders are thus wooed not only by incumbent elites but also by their oppositions, each group seeking to advance its own interests by allying to itself the managers of organized coercion’.[24] The politicization of military, the sole legitimate arm of state coercion further complicates an already confused environment. The politicians who are against the incumbent civilian government, knowing the real source of power, hobnob with the military brass to achieve their objectives. They see the major source of support and potential threat from the military. This means that they will look for officers who are loyal to their political party and try to influence the promotions, postings and transfers of these officers when they are in power. This results in undermining of the cohesion of armed forces. Politicians, rather than fighting their political duels at polling booths and in the legislative assemblies, tend to take the short cut by creating such a situation where military steps in to remove the civilian foes. In addition, the political parties seeing the odds against the entrenched army officers in all areas try to woo army officer to their ranks. This helps them in two ways. First, it makes them acceptable to military brass as they have a fair number of former army officers in senior positions. Secondly, it gives them ammunition and legitimacy in criticizing the ruling military regime to extract maximum concessions from the military rulers. Criticism by Benazir Bhutto is generally labelled as unpatriotic activity by defence establishment but the scathing criticism by the military member of PPP, Major General (Retd) Naseerullah Khan Babar does not get similar treatment. Pakistani politics has seen an interesting phenomenon where disproportionately large number of retired officers of armed forces are finding place in political parties. A close look at the career of officers who have joined the much hated and despised political arena gives an insight into the dynamics of power politics in Pakistan. Major General Akbar Khan (former Chief of General Staff — CGS) was convicted in 1951 for the conspiracy to overthrow the civilian government and sentenced to fourteen years imprisonment but was released after four years. Later in his life, Akbar talked about his thinking in 1951. He stated that ‘we had disagreement with the government about Kashmir independence, agreement on ceasefire and delaying the formulation of a constitution by Liaquat Ali Khan’. He added that although we have fought in Kashmir, the government agreed to ceasefire ‘without asking us’.[25] After his release in 1955, he joined Awami League of Hussain Shaheed Suharwardy (he was member of central working committee). In 1958, he was organizing a new political party named ‘Millat Party’, when Ayub Khan took over and banned all political activities. In 1968, he joined Pakistan Peoples Party and served as the member of Central Working Committee. He lost the election in 1970 for the National Assembly but served as Bhutto’s National Security Advisor and later Minister for Internal Security. He also served as ambassador to Czechoslovakia and labour advisor. Major General Sher Ali Khan who was sacked by Ayub served as Minister of Information and National Affairs during Yahya Khan’s government in 1970. Lt. General Umrao Khan (a close confidant of Ayub Khan) joined Jamaat-e-Islami briefly after his retirement. Lt. General Muhammad Azam Khan was a close confidant of Ayub Khan and served as minister and Governor during first military regime. After his disagreements with Ayub, when he was sacked, he openly supported Miss Fatima Jinnah during 1965 elections against Ayub. Later, he led his own faction of Muslim League called Jinnah League. Major General (Retd) Tajjamal Hussain Malik (former General Officer Commanding of a Division who was convicted for conspiracy to overthrow Zia government in 1980 and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was released when Benazir took power) joined Tehreek-e-Istiqlal (headed by former Air Force Chief Air Marshal (r) Asghar Khan). In six months, he got fed up and announced the formation of his own party, Islami Inqilab Party (Islamic Revolution Party). Lt. General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi (Commander of Eastern Command in East Pakistan in 1971, where he surrendered to Indian forces and became prisoner of war) when he came back from India at one time became head of another faction of Muslim League (Qayyum Group). Major General (Retd) Rao Farman Ali was in-charge of Political Affairs in East Pakistan in 1971. The reason he was assigned this task that he had done an administrative staff course which qualified him for political intrigues. His official appointment was Chief of Staff to Governor. In this capacity, he had close contacts with political leaders of East Pakistan. After his return from India, he served as Chairman of Fauji Foundation. After Zia’s coup, he was member of the election cell set up by Zia and was involved in meetings with politicians. He lost the election bid in 1985 non-party elections. Later, he joined National Peoples Party (NPP), a splinter group from PPP orchestrated by the military government of Zia and headed by Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi (a former colleague of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto). Lt. General Khawaja Muhammad Azhar had served in ISI during Ayub regime as Colonel and at one time was acting DG of ISI. In this capacity, he was involved in surveillance of political and military foes of the regime, especially during the crucial early part of Martial Law when Sikandar Mirza was ousted. He had personally interrogated many prominent people who were not considered loyal to Ayub. During Yahya regime he served as Quarterm/aster General (QMG) and military governor of N.W.F.P. Later he became Secretary General and Vice President of Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Pakistan. Major General Muhammad Hussain Ansari was GOC in East Pakistan in 1971. After the surrender he spent few years in India as prisoner of war (POW). This traumatic experience for many soldiers had its effects. A number of officers during their sojourn as POW in India looked towards religion for solace. A number of these officers joined Sufi organizations. When Ansari came back from India, he was made Director of Lahore Development Authority. He joined Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Pakistan and was elected to national assembly in 1988 elections. He is in charge of Accountability Cell of the party. Air Marshal Noor Khan was Air Force Chief when Yahya Khan took over in 1969. In the loot for ministries during that time, he ended up taking four ministries (Education, Health, Labour and Social Welfare) under his wings. When the internal conflicts between ruling junta started to strain the relationships, Yahya retired him and sent him as Governor of West Pakistan (the Naval Chief, S. M. Ahsan was also retired and sent as Governor of East Pakistan). He was elected to National Assembly in 1985 non-party elections from Attock. Colonel Abbasi was heading Azad Kashmir Jamaat-e-Islami in 1977. In 1985, Lt. General Faiz Ali Chisti, former Corps Commander and close confidant of General Zia who was retired in 1980, toyed with the idea of forming a new political party (with the help of Justice (Retd) Shaukat Ali who was head of Liberal Muslim League), but seeing no response shelved it. Lt. General Fazal Haq was a close confidant of Zia who served as Corps Commander and military Governor of N.W.F.P.. He retired in 1985 and in 1987 was elected to Senate. In 1988 when Zia sacked Junejo government, Haq became caretaker Chief Minister of N.W.F.P. In 1988 elections, he was elected to National Assembly. Lt. General Abdul Majid Malik during Ayub regime as Major was involved with Martial Law work as staff officer. He retired in 1976 and served as ambassador to Morocco. He was elected to National Assembly in 1985 and 1988 elections and served as Chairman of Anti-Corruption Committee. He joined the resurrected military supported political party, Muslim League but later joined the Nawaz Sharif faction of Muslim League. After the ouster of Nawaz Sharif by military in 1999, he joined the splinter faction of Muslim League named Quaid-e-Azam, organized by intelligence agencies of Musharraf government. He is now member of National Assembly after the 2002 elections.

    Lt. General Javed Nasir worked closely with Nawaz Sharif both during active service and after his retirement though he was not a formal member of Muslim League. He is also actively involved in the non-political, proselytizing Tableeghi Jamaat. Nasir is not known for his intellectual brilliance or political acumen but he was kept on board as he was the former super spy of Pakistan. It is quite natural that he will have soft corner for Nawaz Sharif. After the nuclear tests in 1998, he gave all credit to Sharif. He stated, “Allah was very kind and put in his heart a momentous decision”.[26] Even a common man on the street knows that no civilian leader has any clue about the nuclear programme let alone making any important decision regarding this area. Lt. General Hamid Gul is head of his own small party while former army chief Mirza Aslam Beg leads another small party called Awami Qiadat Party.

    The working relationship between officers of armed forces and political parties is an interesting area of study in case of Pakistan. A closer look at Pakistan Peoples Party, a party, generally viewed as against military rulers gives an interesting insight into the dynamics of this equation. Former Army Chief General Tikka Khan was for a long time Secretary General of PPP. Major General (Retd) Akbar Khan worked closely with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in various capacities and was member of Central Committee of the party. Major General (Retd) Naseerullah Khan Babar (former Inspector General of Frontier Corps — a paramilitary force responsible for defence of western border of the country with Afghanistan) was the right hand man of Benazir Bhutto and served as her Interior Minister during her two stints as Prime Minister. Babar played a significant role in Pakistan’s Afghan policy (1988-1990 and 1993-96) despite that his responsibilities as Interior Minister were restricted to internal law and order of the country. The former Provincial head of ISI in Sindh province, Brigadier Aman is Secretary to Benazir Bhutto. Another member of Central Committee of PPP is Major (Retd) Masud Sharif Khattak who has served as Director of Intelligence Bureau (IB), a civilian intelligence agency of the country. Major General (Retd) Ahsan Ahmad served as Minister of Health and Population in Sindh during the military government of Musharraf. In October 2002, he joined PPP. Government alleged that he had been removed due to his malpractices and corruption while Ahmad in a press conference criticized Musharraf for destabilizing the country.[27] Interestingly, after diligently serving as provincial minister with all perks for a long time in a military government, the change of heart was so quick that he resigned/sacked in the morning and joined PPP in the afternoon. Major (Retd) Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao served for a long time the PPP head in N.W.F.P. before deciding to venture into a solo flight.

    In 1977, after the military take over, Zia faced a difficult dilemma and he had to postpone elections as pre-coup conditions could not be allowed to come back. For obvious reasons, PPP could not be allowed to come back in power while assessment by various people aligned with Zia was that in case of elections, PPP would win despite recent setbacks. Zia established an election cell run by two serving generals (Lt. General Faiz Ali Chisti and Major General Jamal Said Mian) and two retired Major Generals (Rao Farman Ali and Ehsan-ul-Haq). In this capacity, these officers held meetings with different political leaders. Military regime has to work on re-engineering of the social and political scene before it could give back some of the powers to civilians. It was with this aim that the Muslim League was resurrected during Zia time. The DG of ISI Major General (later Lt. General) Ghulam Jilani Khan started to work with a large number of politicians who were opposed to PPP. He was instrumental in connecting a large number of politicians with Zia regime. Later, as Governor of Punjab province, he was solely responsible for grooming a new political elite under the direct patronage of military rulers. Nawaz Sharif along with most of his colleagues was the product of this experiment. He gradually worked his way up from provincial finance minister to chief minister and finally Prime Minister of the country twice before being booted out by the army itself. Many colleagues of Nawaz Sharif were retired army officers. Lt. General (Retd) Majid Malik (served as federal minister for Kashmir Affairs), Lt. General (Retd) Javed Nasir (former DG ISI who served as special advisor), Brigadier (Retd) Imtiaz (served as Director of IB), Major (Retd) Amir (special advisor to Chief Minister of N.W.F.P.), Major (Retd) Nadir Pervez (served as Minister of State for Interior after 1985 elections and Minister of State of Water and Power after 1990 elections), Colonel (Retd) Mushtaque Tahir Kheli (political secretary). In addition, many relatives and sons of senior officers have worked closely with Nawaz Sharif. During the present military government, the Corps Commanders held regular meetings with all political leaders. The political wing of ISI headed by Major General Ihtesham Zamir was instrumental in the formation of the Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam) group before elections in October 2002, which consisted mostly of former colleagues of deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. After the military take-over, almost all of his former colleagues gathered under the benevolent patronage of military, made a new party and got elected to new assembly in 2002. After elections, several senior officers were involved in political manoeuvring to instal military’s nominated political party. The party, which Nawaz Sharif led, had two third majority in the National Assembly in 1996 with 140 seats. After cleansing and restructuring, Nawaz Sharif’s party has now only 14 seats in the assembly. This tells a lot about the sham called democracy in Pakistan under the guidance of military. After the 2002 elections, the military has used the carrot of perks and privileges and stick of accountability to line up politicians of different hue and colour to support its nominees. After the October 2002 elections, ten members of PPP rebelled and voted in favour of General Musharraf’s nominee for Prime Minister (Zafarullah Khan Jamali). Out of ten dissident members, six were awarded with cabinet posts out of which two were retired army officers (Major (Retd) Tahir Iqbal and Major (Retd) Habibullah Warraich). The exercise has been done in such a clumsy manner that it has created a hilarious situation. Pakistan is the only country in the world the Interior Minister of which is on the Exit Control List published by his own ministry and wanted in cases of corruption. Two more Federal Ministers (Minister of Power Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao and Labour Minister Abdul Sattar Laleka) are also forbidden to leave the country, as they are wanted by National Accountability Bureau in various corruption cases. Another interesting phenomenon, which has emerged in Pakistan, is that family members of former senior military officers are increasingly finding place in the political arena. Ayub Khan’s son Captain (Retd) Gauhar Ayub has been elected member of national assembly and served as foreign minister during Nawaz government). Ayub’s two sons-in-law were also members of national and provincial assemblies. General Akhtar Abdur Rahman’s (former DG ISI and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee) son Humayun Akhtar is a multimillionaire businessman and now minister of commerce and General Zia-ul-Haq’s son, Ijaz-ul-Haq was member of National Assembly. The last fifty-year experience of Pakistan has given ample proof that military’s guardianship has a ‘debilitating and corrosive’ effect on the political system of the country. ‘In many instances it stifles sorely needed change and reinforces social inequality and injustice’.[28] The reason is that all military take-overs have been geared toward maintenance of status quo rather than attempts to change fundamental anomalies of the structure through radical reforms. Even the prospects of success of radical reforms by the military without any popular participation are very limited. The best-case example of such failure is that of Egypt under Gemal Abul Nasir.


    The political role of the military has its negative effects in long term, which may not be visible, in short term. In case of Pakistan, there has been no radical coup and no violent showdown between different interest groups (with the exception of Bengali nationalism which resulted in separation of Eastern wing with the help of Indian arms). Even military rulers understand the limitations of overt coercion and repression. They use ‘parallel power mechanisms provided by intelligence services, paramilitary, private or criminal armed entities’.[29] Over the last two decades, Pakistani military leadership has used informal types of coercion. Private armed groups run by religio-political parties were not only used in the military’s foreign policy agenda in Afghanistan and India in 1990s but were selectively used to pressurize the civilian governments. In 2002, the military leadership has learnt the hard lesson of futility of such shortsighted policy decisions. The role of intelligence apparatus has been institutionalized while paramilitary force (Rangers) has been rapidly expanded. This approach has resulted in two negative consequences. First, it has eroded the cohesion of armed forces and damaged its institutional integrity. Second, the political entities have become more polarized making any reconciliation very difficult.

    In the last fifty-five years, repeated military take-over have added new complexities into the already fragile state of Pakistan. After every coup, political manoeuvrings of military brass becomes essential, as pre-coup conditions cannot be allowed to stage a come back. This had resulted in two unfortunate consequences. One is politicization of the officer corps and second is militarization of the politics. Military guided civilian governments are neither more clean nor efficient than any other government. Political institutions of a country are reflective of the society. They do not prop up in vacuum. They are formed by interaction of various forces including general public, judiciary, press and other segments of society. They evolve with the evolution of the society and are carefully nurtured and pruned according to the needs of the society to serve its purpose. Painstaking efforts by a select group of self-righteous senior officers to implant a model on the nation from above based on their thinking and training has never been successful in the modern history of the world. The fifty-five year history of Pakistan has amply shown that such attempts have further polarized the society and added new complex factors on national scene rather than solving old problems. Some fundamental dilemmas facing the nation have to be discussed at various forums to reach a ‘minimum’ consensus about basic elements of running the state with some agreement on legitimacy, rules of succession and role of various groups in this setup. Both civilian and military leaders have to accept the fact that for smooth running of the state ‘the areas of exclusive policy authority for each’ and ‘the areas of shared policy authority’ needs to be agreed upon.[30] The balance between these two authorities constitutes civil-military relations. Without addressing these issues simultaneously, it will be very difficult to break the cycle of crisis, which is plaguing the country. The establishment of effective political authority has two main ingredients:

    1. the aggregation of consent and

    2. control over the means to organized coercion.[31]

    Even if the political parties are able to achieve the difficult task of aggregating the consent which will bring political organization and legitimacy but the armed forces are not subordinated to the direction of state, the stability of the political process will be a mirage.


    [1] Claude Emerson. Welch and Smith K. Arthur (Ed.) “Military Role and Rule: Perspectives on Civil-Military Relations” (North Scituate, Massachusetts: Duxbury Press, 1974), p. 6

    [2] Eric A. Nordlinger, “Soldiers in Politics: Military Coups and Government” (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1977), p. 54

    [3] De Kadt, Emanuel. The Military in Politics: Old Wine in New Bottles? in Koonings, Kees & Kruijt, Dirk (Ed.). “Political Armies: The Military and Nation Building in the Age of Democracy” (London & New York: Zed Books, 2002), p. 315

    [4] Welch & Smith. “Military Role and Rule: Perspectives on Civil-Military Relations”, p. 65

    [5] For details of the attitude of Pakistani officer corps towards politics, see Hussain, Hamid. Back to Barracks – Pakistan Army’s experience of withdrawal from active control of the state. Defence Journal, September 2002

    [6] Nordlinger. Soldiers in Politics: Military Coups and Government”, p. 118-19

    [7] Welch & Smith. “Military Role and Rule: Perspectives on Civil-Military Relations”, p. 66

    [8] Nordlinger. Soldiers in Politics: Military Coups and Government”, p. 59

    [9] Koonings. “Political Armies: The Military and Nation Building in the Age of Democracy”, p. 339

    [10] Nordlinger. Soldiers in Politics: Military Coups and Government”, p.

    [11] Koonings. “Political Armies: The Military and Nation Building in the Age of Democracy”, p. 23

    [12] For details of cooperation between CIA and ISI, see Hussain, Hamid. Forgotten Ties: CIA, ISI & Taliban. CovertAction Quarterly (Washington, D.C.), Number: 72; Spring 2002), pp. 3-5

    [13] Arif, M. Khalid. General (Retd). “Khaki Shadows: Pakistan 1947-1997” (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 366

    [14] Quadir, F. Iqbal. Vice Admiral (Retd). Pakistan — A Political Experimental Station. Defence Journal, May 2002

    [15] Lt. General Fazal Haq’s (who attended the meeting) interview with General Khalid M. Arif cited in Arif, Khalid. Khaki Shadows, p. 352-53

    [16] Lodhi, Maleeha. “Pakistan’s Encounter With Democracy” (Lahore: Vanguard Books), p. 139-40

    [17] PPP Information Secretary Salman Taseer released the tapes to public in August 1992.

    [18] Former Army Chief General Mirza Aslam Beg and former DG ISI Asad Durrani have admitted this in an affidavit submitted to Supreme Court of Pakistan. The Supreme Court has not given its decision about the case which has been pending since 1997

    [19] Arif. “Khaki Shadows: Pakistan 1947-1997”, p. 196

    [20] Ibid, p. 420

    [21] Welch & Smith. “Military Role and Rule: Perspectives on Civil-Military Relations”, p. 72

    [22] Koonings. “Political Armies: The Military and Nation Building in the Age of Democracy”, p. 339

    [23] For details of Pakistani intelligence organizations, see Hussain, Hamid. Lengthening Shadows. CovertAction Quarterly, Number: 73; Summer 2002, p.18-22

    [24] Welch & Smith. “Military Role and Rule: Perspectives on Civil-Military Relations”, p. 54

    [25] Interview of Major General (Retd) Akbar Khan in Hassan, Ali. Generals aur Siyasat. Urdu (Generals and Politics) (Lahore: Vanguard Books, 1991), p. 292-93

    [26] Nasir, Javed. Lt. General (Retd) After The Nuclear Fever is Over. Defence Journal, July 1998

    [27] The News (Online Edition), October 24, 2002

    [28] Welch & Smith. “Military Role and Rule: Perspectives on Civil-Military Relations”, p. 72

    [29] Koonings. “Political Armies: The Military and Nation Building in the Age of Democracy”, p. 343

    [30] Welch and Smith. “Military Role and Rule: Perspectives on Civil-Military Relations”, p. 16

    [31] Ibid, , p. 53.

  • Gen Kayani has earned laurels, it appears, for this role. [Raazi]

    Those who are considered “The Power That Be” should avoid this:

    Undercover Chaos – Role of Pakistani Armed Forces Intelligence Agencies in Domestic Arena Dr. Hamid Hussain is an independent analyst based in New York. For corrections, comments and critique humza@dnamail.com Published Defence Journal, December 2005


    In every country intelligence agencies of armed forces have a reasonably well defined role in the overall security paradigm of the country. The scope of this role is different in each country depending on the prevailing norms and specific development of the state and society in each case. In most countries, there is some overlap, where military intelligence agencies have some limited role in domestic arena in the context of national security of the country.

    In countries like Pakistan with a tradition of a dominant military which has frequently stepped in to remove quarreling politicians to directly administer the state, the role of military intelligence agencies have invariably expanded to different areas of society. There are two major intelligence organizations of Pakistan armed forces. One is Directorate of Military Intelligence (MI) and the other Directorate of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). Over the last sixty years, the role and operational environment of both organizations have undergone a dramatic change. This article will only look at the domestic role of these organizations in Pakistan. It will review the background of evolution of these two organizations and highlight how this has evolved over the years depending on changing circumstances. The article will also look at the meteoric rise of military intelligence officers and its negative impact on society in general and specifically on the inner dynamics of the armed forces. It will be concluded with a summary and some recommendations.


    At the time of country’s independence in 1947, MI was a small organization with very limited resources and influence. ISI was established in 1948 after poor performance of existing rudimentary military intelligence structure in the country’s first war with rival India over the disputed territory of Kashmir. However, it remained a small entity and until 1971, a Brigadier was heading the agency with no significant advanced technology which is essential for modern espionage. The original task of MI was related to battlefield intelligence and discipline and order in the armed forces. The primary task of ISI was collecting intelligence about hostile countries and groups and counterintelligence. Over time, both during civilian and military rule, the area of operation of both organizations expanded which now involves many areas of the state and society. Initial encroachment of military intelligence agencies in domestic arena started in the context of discontent among different ethnic groups of the country. Prior to the separation of the eastern wing in 1971, Bengali grievances against central government prompted ISI to keep tab on Bengalis. This involvement was more pronounced during 1970-71, which by all accounts was essentially a civil war where ISI was directly involved in arresting and interrogating Bengalis.

    After the separation of East Pakistan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto took control of the truncated and demoralized country. In his quest for absolute rule, he formally established a political cell in ISI. It is ironic that a civilian political leader gave a formal political role to serving armed forces intelligence officers. In early 1973, when Bhutto dismissed provincial assemblies of Baluchistan and N.W.F.P. an open armed rebellion erupted in Baluchistan and a military action was ordered. This was seen as an insurrection; therefore it was natural that ISI was involved to some extent in the interrogation of Baluch rebels. In N.W.F.P., there was no armed struggle but some Pushtun nationalists were detained and interrogated by ISI. (1) During 1977 elections, Bhutto not only asked for ISI’s assessment of political developments but special cells were established at ISI detachments in provinces to monitor elections. DG ISI Major General (later Lieutenant General) Ghulam Jilani Khan personally briefed Bhutto on updated election results. (2) When massive agitation started against Bhutto, ISI also regularly informed him about changing political situation in the country. Fearful of army, Bhutto also established a separate cell in the civilian Intelligence Bureau (IB) to keep an eye on what was happening in the armed forces. Colonel Mukhtar, a retired army officer was made in charge of this cell under whom several retired officers reported on army affairs. After 1977 Martial Law, the cell was disbanded and all records seized by military authorities. (3)

    At present, ISI is headed by a serving Lieutenant (Lt.) General and each provincial detachment is headed by a Brigadier. DG ISI reports to the executive head of government, whether Prime Minister or President. Currently, MI is also headed by a serving Major or Lt. General who is appointed by army chief and reports to his chief directly or through Chief of General Staff (CGS). Each provincial MI section is headed by a Brigadier. (4) Different tiers of ISI officers keep a liaison with provincial police and civil administration depending on the nature of the assigned case. Junior officers are trained at School of Intelligence in Murree. There are no career military intelligence officers and junior officers with intelligence training are posted to MI or ISI for a limited time period. Some officers who develop their own interest in intelligence may serve longer terms. Senior officers do not have a structured training for intelligence operations and when posted to intelligence agencies, they learn from their juniors on the job.

    General Muhammad Zia ul Haq Era 1977-1988

    Lt. General Ghulam Jilani Khan was DG ISI from 1971-78. He served under Bhutto but intriguingly he was kept by General Zia after the coup in 1977. Some speculate that Jilani kept Zia informed about Bhutto’s moves during the critical last few months of his rule and that is why Zia not only kept him at the helm of ISI but later rewarded him with the post of Defense Secretary and Governorship of Punjab. During his stint at ISI, Jilani had hired a number of retired officers on contract basis. These officers kept an eye on others which is a normal routine in every country. However, there was complete lack of trust between serving and retired officers which had an impact on the performance of ISI. These contract officers were called ‘Jil Snoopers’ by their serving colleagues. (5) During Jilani’s tenure, on domestic front, ISI was involved in limited surveillance of politicians and limited support to an Election Cell established by Zia. The Election Cell was headed by X Corps Commander Lt. General Faiz Ali Chisti and its members included Major General Jamal Said Mian, Major General ® Rao Farman Ali and Air Marshal ® Ehsan-ul-Haq. Jilani’s successor Major General Muhammad Riaz Khan was a low key officer and a gentleman who was not good at political intrigues which would become hallmark of some of his successors. He died from a heart attack.

    It was under the guardianship of Lt. General Akhtar Abdur Rahman (1980-87) that ISI underwent a dramatic transformation. In this, arrival of Soviet forces in Afghanistan, availability of huge amounts of money and active involvement of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) were instrumental. (6) Several factors were responsible for the rapid expansion of ISI; however Afghan factor was a critical one as Zia assigned the task of handling Afghanistan to ISI. Availability of huge sums of money from a variety of sources, active support of United States to boost Pakistan’s intelligence capability to thwart Soviet covert measures and wide ranging contacts with intelligence agencies of Britain, France, China and Saudi Arabia resulted in the emergence of a robust, confident and expanded intelligence outfit seeing itself as the player on international filed. Technical advancement of ISI also occurred during this time when advanced instruments of espionage were provided by United States. All these new capabilities were now equally available for internal monitoring in addition to handling external threats as military ruler also had his domestic political adversaries and disgruntled officers in the armed forces.

    Zia was shrewd enough not to put all his eggs in one basket. Although Akhtar was his eyes and ears and served him faithfully, however Zia gradually gave some assignments to MI in mid 1980s. MI then headed by Major General (later Lt. General) Hameed Gul was given the task of establishing Survey Sections which were mainly relegated the task of keeping an eye on internal political development. (7) In 1987, Zia promoted Akhtar to four star General and made him Chairman Joint Chief of Staffs Committee (JCOSC). Akhtar’s replacement at ISI was Hameed Gul (1987-1989). During this time, Afghanistan was the major focus of ISI. Zia era ended abruptly on August 17, 1988, when he along with senior military brass died in a mysterious plane crash.


  • Gen Kayani has earned laurels, it appears, for this role. [Raazi]
    Those who are considered “The Power That Be” should avoid this:

    Undercover Chaos – Role of Pakistani Armed Forces Intelligence Agencies in Domestic Arena Dr. Hamid Hussain is an independent analyst based in New York. For corrections, comments and critique humza@dnamail.com Published Defence Journal, December 2005


    Civilian Rule 1988-1999

    After Zia’s death Vice Chief of Army Staff, General Mirza Aslam Beg took command of the army and decided to work behind the civilian façade rather than direct rule. This was the time when General Head Quarter (GHQ) and intelligence agencies started blatant political maneuvers. In 1989, the newly elected Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto leery of ISI’s close association with her political rivals appointed a retired Lt. General Shamsu ur Rahman Kallu to head ISI (1989-90). This decision was made without taking army high command into confidence; therefore Kallu was blacked out by his own organization. In addition, army Chief Mirza Aslam Beg transferred the political role of ISI to MI (then headed by Major General Asad Durrani) which was directly under GHQ control. When Benazir government was dismissed in 1990, Durrani was given the task of running both MI and ISI for a while before he became Director General of ISI (August 1990-March 1992). After his departure from ISI, Durrani was serving as Commandant of National Defence College. However, he kept his channels open with politicians without informing his chief. He had unauthorized contacts with then opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto. Benazir was under the impression that Durrani was negotiating on behalf of GHQ. In May 1993, during her meeting with army Chief Abdul Waheed Kakar, she talked about issues discussed by Durrani. Although Kakar had some information about Durrani’s contacts but Benazir’s revelations stunned him. However he kept quite and got all details. Durrani was struck off Duty (SOD) and his dismissal orders were served to him when he landed after an overseas trip. (8) Later, during her second term (1993-96) Benazir rewarded Durrani by appointing him ambassador to Germany.

    During his first term (1990-93), Nawaz Sharif picked Lt. General Javed Nasir to head ISI (March 1992-July 1993). Nasir was part of an informal link with Nawaz Sharif’s father Mian Muhammad Sharif through the non-political proselytizing religious organization, Tableeghi Jamaat. A retired judge Rafiq Ahmad Tarar (who gained notoriety for bribing judges of Baluchistan High Court to remove Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and later rewarded with the Presidency of the country) was also part of this informal group. Sharif used ISI and IB as a cushion when his relations with new army chief General Asif Nawaz Janjua (1991-93) soured. Janjua’s sudden death set in motion a new cycle of intrigues and new army Chief General Abdul Waheed Kakar had his hands full from day one. After sending both Prime Minister and President home in 1993, Kakar sacked both the serving DG of ISI Nasir and a former DG of MI and ISI Durrani. New DG ISI Javed Ashraf Qazi was assigned the task of cleaning up ISI and he was followed by Lt. General Nasim Rana. During Benazir’s second term (1993-96), she tried not to stir the intelligence pot. At that time, both ISI and her own Afghan hand Major General ® Naseerullah Khan Babar were on the same page as far as Afghanistan was concerned which prevented any serious clash.

    During his second term (1996-99), Nawaz Sharif was initially busy with his showdowns with opposition, President and Judiciary and cleverly kept working relations with army brass. Once securing his other bases, he confronted army Chief General Jehangir Karamat about a speech which Karamat gave suggesting establishment of a National Security Council consisting of civilian and military decision makers to tackle difficult issues. To the whole military’s astonishment and disgust, Karamat tendered resignation. On October 12, 1998, Sharif chose then Adjutant General (AG) of army, Lieutenant General Ziauddin Ahmad Butt to head ISI. Sharif didn’t take Mussharraf into confidence about this crucial appointment and moved Butt to ISI before the new Chief could get his team of confidants into place. Mussharraf countered this move by promoting Deputy Director General (DDG) of ISI Major General Muhammad Aziz (later General and Chairman JCOSC) and giving him the second most important job after Chief by appointing him Chief of General Staff (CGS). Aziz was in charge of Afghan affairs in ISI as DDG and he moved some of the Afghan Cell activities to MI, which is under GHQ control. It was a de ja vu of 1989, when Benazir had tried to bring her own man to head ISI. Over a decade, Afghan Cell activities have invariably expanded into domestic arena as a number of state and non-state actors of the country were actively involved. This re- shuffle helped Mussharraf to keep firm control over overall intelligence activities; however it set the stage for more intrigues.

    Political leadership of Pakistan is essentially a family business and rather than following a political code of conduct, politicians have always looked for the shortest route to power which goes through the GHQ. Rather than fighting their battles at polling booths and in assemblies, civilian politicians hob knob with army to get to the positions of power and privilege. Without exception, all political parties and their leaders have worked with military brass in one or another capacity. Civilian leaders insecure in their own political arena and deeply suspicious of the army leadership have tried to play their own little games. When allowed to run the affairs of the country, they try to influence the appointment to intelligence agencies and cultivate sympathetic officers. Helpful officers are duly rewarded for their services. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s reliance on ISI increased as he was increasingly coming under pressure from domestic opposition. He would get regular briefing from DG ISI about domestic political scene. Benazir Bhutto during her first term (1988-90) appointed a retired Lt. General Shamsur Rahman Kallu as DG ISI. However, when Kallu was completely shut out by his own organization and GHQ, she relied more heavily on IB to counter military’s moves. Deputy Director of IB Masud Sharif Khattak was instrumental in laying the trap for ISI officers, Brigadier Imtiaz (by that time Imtiaz had left his powerful position in ISI and was posted in Risalpur) and Major Amir (he was in charge of Islamabad detachment of ISI). The scandal known as ‘Operation Midnight Jackals’ was about involvement of active duty military officers to bribe Benazir’s party members to switch loyalties and help in passing the no confidence motion against her. Nawaz Sharif during his first term (1990-93) tried to cover both bases by appointing Lt. General Javed Nasir to head ISI and Brigadier ® Imtiaz to head IB. However, when he created a constitutional crisis by directly confronting an equally stubborn President Ghulam Ishaque Khan, army Chief forced both of them to resign. Both Nasir and Imtiaz were removed immediately from their powerful positions after the ouster of Sharif. During his second term (1996-99), Sharif kept tabs on then army Chief Jehangir Karamat. A senior officer of ISI and some junior officers were assigned the task to track down the details of Ukraine tank deal. It is not clear whether then DG ISI Lt. General Nasim Rana had any information about this. There have been no allegations of any wrongdoing on part of Karamat in defense purchases; however, some sources suggest that when Sharif confronted Karamat and asked for his resignation, he had these files at his table. Sharif used the change of guard at army leadership in 1998 after resignation of Karamat to appoint his favorite Lt. General Ziauddin Ahmad Butt as DG ISI before new chief could bring in his own team of confidants. Both Sharif and Butt met their Waterloo in October 1999 when Sharif tried to appoint Butt as army Chief.

    Civilian leaders reward those officers who help them in their political maneuvers. Sharif appointed the sacked DG ISI Nasir as his intelligence advisor and later Chairman of Evacuee Property Trust Board (EPTB). Two officers of ‘Operation Midnight Jackals’ fame who were sacked from the army were properly compensated by Sharif. Brigadier Imtiaz was given the coveted directorship of IB while Major Amir was made special advisor to N.W.F.P. Chief Minister and later given a job at Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). Benazir Bhutto rewarded former DG ISI Durrani with an ambassadorship to Germany. In addition, former DG IB Masud Sharif and a former head of Sindh detachment of ISI are now members of central committee of Pakistan Peoples Party. Many Colonel and Brigadier level intelligence officers have developed mutually beneficial relationships with political and business elites of the country. Such measures set a very bad precedent as sacked officers become more rich and influential after they shed their uniform giving the signal to future mavericks that intrigues may be quite rewarding. This mutually beneficial and sometimes corrupting influence created the instability which never allowed a smooth working relationship between highest decision makers of the country. Mutual mistrust and fear gave way to more intrigues and rumors ruining even any semblance of a well informed coordinated effort to tackle complex issues of the country.

    The most damaging effect of mutual suspicion and manipulation of intelligence positions by civilian and military leaders was on the country’s image and severely jeopardized some important areas of national security and foreign policy. Adversaries were fully aware of these differences and used them to their advantage. One example will show the negative impact of such maneuvers. DG ISI Ziauddin Butt was close to Nawaz Sharif and not trusted by GHQ. Army chief was dealing with some crucial matters through his own intelligence officers. Taliban of Afghanistan were getting two sets of emissaries and they were fully aware where the real power centre was in Pakistan. Butt’s ISI emissaries were in contact with Taliban while representatives of army chief were telling Afghans not to listen to Ziauddin Butt. On October 07, 1999, Butt went to Qandahar and confronted Mullah Omar with the evidence of presence of training camps of some extremist religious organizations involved in sectarian killings in Pakistan. Mullah Omar gave Ziauddin cold shoulder telling him to go back to Pakistan to find the terrorist camps there, as Afghanistan had none. Normally ISI delegations were entertained with a feast but on this occasion Mullah Omar called in one of his boys and asked him what was on the menu of the ordinary kitchen and made his point by serving okra dish to Butt and his entourage. (9)

    General Pervez Mussharraf Era 1999-Present

    After the 1999 coup, Mussharraf chose his close friend Lt. General Mahmud Ahmad to head ISI. Mussharraf chose another close friend Major General Ehsan ul Haq (later General and Chairman JCOSC) to head MI. In the aftermath of September 11, when Pakistan was caught in the eye of the storm, Mussharraf appointed Ehsan to head ISI in October 2001. Ehsan’s two deputies, Major General Muhammad Akram and Major General Ehtasham Zamir Jafri serving as Deputy Directors of ISI took care of the domestic front. Akram contacted Pakistan Peoples Party leader Makhdoom Amin Fahim and offered the deal that if Benazir steps down from party’s leadership, army may be willing to accommodate Pakistan Peoples Party under the leadership of Fahim. An elated Fahim arranged for a meeting in Dubai with Benazir through a third party to discuss army’s offer. Knowing the ego of Pakistani political leaders, one should have expected the explosive nature of this offer. Benazir got furious and an embarrassed Fahim fumbled with his cellular phone and ran out of the room. (10) Jafri and Akram managed the political agenda of GHQ and helped to get support from various segments of political elite for the referendum of legitimizing Mussharraf’s elevation to the office of President. Later, they also worked to wean off politicians from different parties to support new set up under the guidance of the military and micromanaged 2002 elections. Brigadier Asad Munir served under Ehsan in MI and when Ehsan became in charge of ISI, he brought Munir from MI to head the crucial North West Frontier Province (N.W.F.P.) section of ISI. In 2002 elections, Munir managed the provincial political sector for the military government. In this capacity, he was instrumental in lining up various elected representatives to support Commander ® Khalil ur Rahman for Senate seat. Khalil was later appointed Governor of N.W.F.P. and he paid back Munir (now retired from army) by bringing him as his principle secretary. However, due to various reasons, Munir quit this position shortly afterwards.

    In previous military governments, only a small number of senior officers were involved in political maneuvering. The most unfortunate development in the present military set up is the fact that a large number of senior officers in various capacities have been interacting with politicians. Officers in different positions are directly involved in the political restructuring. In addition to the intelligence officers, several senior officers around General Mussharraf, Principle Staff Officers at GHQ, officers posted at National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Corps Commanders and even Major Generals are directly dealing with politicians. After 1999 coup, Corps Commanders met with several political leaders to gauge the mood. (11) Later in preparation for elections, senior officers helped to cob a new political set up consisting mainly of political turn coats of two major political parties. In this exercise, the major instrument which was used was threats to open the files of these politicians lying in NAB. One example will show the extent of this phenomenon. Immediately after 2002 elections, the framework for a new pliable political set up was organized at different levels. In Punjab, one newly elected member of National Assembly was summoned by Director General (DG) Rangers Punjab, Major General Hussain Mehdi to his official residence. DG Rangers was flanked by a General from NAB. Referring to the Punjab Rangers who are posted at Pakistan-India border and usually wear tall head gear in ceremonies, Mehdi threatened the newly elected member in these words, ‘while coming inside the house, you may have noticed the guards. Beware of them because sometimes they throw the people to the other side of the fence’. (12) Such open involvement of a large number of senior officers in political intrigues may prove to be fatal for military’s cohesion. It is incumbent upon General Mussharraf to think about the long term negative fall out of such measures on the discipline of armed forces and come up with a different approach.

    Coming Out of the Shadows

    A very disturbing trend has emerged in Pakistan over the last two decades where former intelligence officers have entered the major decision making process about different issues. This is not limited to the military matters or during direct military rule but extends well beyond all normal bounds. Pakistan has the unique distinction that not one but several of its former heads of military intelligence agencies regularly write about various issues and appear almost daily on television networks giving their pearls of wisdom. This has given the country and the world the shocking truth about the very limited intellectual horizon, restricted knowledge base and serious personality flaws of these gentlemen. One may have to do serious inquiry to try to find even the names of the former heads of Indian intelligence, Research and Analysis Wing or Israeli intelligence Mossad, but Pakistan is so lucky that half a dozen of its former chief spooks are seen everyday bragging and throwing their half baked theories and ideas right and left in front of the camera and in print.

    ‘Once the military becomes the dominant institution, a new class of officers emerges which elaborates military’s political role. This is the ‘military intellectual’ class. (13) Due to increased reliance of military leaders on military intelligence, over time, intelligence officers have also entered this ‘military intellectual’ class. Former DG ISI Lt. General Hameed Gul, Asad Durrani, Javed Ashraf Qazi and some mid level officers are the intelligence representatives of this class. It is ironic to see that intelligence officers like Durrani, who have been sacked by none other than the army chief for indulging in political intrigues giving sermons about effect of politicization of officers on military discipline. In one of his articles, Durrani states ‘the institutional consensus on the subject is that whatever else the military’s dabbling in politics did or did not do, it never did any good to the army’. He further elaborates that ‘what causes the gravest concern is that meddling in politics muddles up the military culture’. (14)

    A cursory look at the careers of some senior intelligence officers gives an interesting insight into the working of the military. Lt. General Ghulam Jilani Khan served as DG ISI from 1971-78. He later served as Governor of Punjab and in this capacity was instrumental in cultivating and grooming the new political elite. Industrialist Nawaz Sharif was the most prominent member of this new elite who served as Prime Minister twice before being ousted and then exiled by military. General Akhtar Abdur Rahman who was DG ISI from 1980-87 became Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Lt. General Asad Durrani, another former DG of MI and ISI served as ambassador to Germany and Saudi Arabia. He was a major player in the exile deal of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Saudi Arabia. His close contacts with Saudi intelligence from Afghan Jihad days were a vital asset in these assignments. He has also served at the Board of Governors of Institute of Strategic Studies. He is quite active in the military’s ‘think tank’ community. Lt. General Javed Nasir after his sacking from ISI served as special intelligence advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chairman of Evacuee Property Trust Board.

    Many close advisors of General Mussharraf have intelligence background and served in various capacities in the intelligence outfits of the military. Former DG of MI and ISI, General Ehsan ul Haq is now Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Another former DG of MI and ISI Lt. General ® Javed Ashraf Qazi is currently Education Minister of the country responsible for the overhauling of the education system of the religious schools (madrassas). Earlier he served as Railways Minister. Lt. General ® Asad Durrani who served as DG of MI and ISI was appointed ambassador to Saudi Arabia by Mussharraf. Another former DG, Lt. General ® Nasim Rana served as Secretary Defence. Former Deputy Director of ISI, Aziz rose to become CGS, Corps Commander and then full General and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Lt. General Ghulam Ahmad who served as Chief of Staff (COS) to President Mussharraf headed the political wing of ISI in 1993. Current CGS, Lt. General Tariq Majeed has served as DG MI. Current DG ISI Lt. General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani has served as Director General Military Operations (DGMO) and Corps Commander of important X Corps. Three other senior officers who served in ISI (Lt. General Faiz Jeelani, Lt. General Jamshed Gulzar and Lt. General Muhammad Akram) rose to become Lt. Generals and Corps Commanders. Lt. General Iftikhar Hussain Shah who has also served in ISI as Deputy Director was appointed Governor of N.W.F.P. during the crucial days after September 11 coordinating the damage control efforts to prevent spill over effects from neighboring Afghanistan and later during military operations in tribal areas. Brigadier ® Ejaz Shah served as head of ISI Punjab and later served as Home Secretary of Punjab, responsible for the law and order situation of the province.

    Previously, intelligence assignments were not considered coveted appointments among Pakistani army officers. However, with increasing clout of the intelligence agencies in decision making process and enhancement of career opportunities now make these jobs very attractive and lucrative. The influence of a stint in intelligence can be gauged from the fact that a large number of officers who served in armed forces intelligence agencies rose to senior ranks. On the other hand, in an unprecedented move, some officers after serving at prestigious appointments as Corps Commanders have accepted the jobs to run intelligence agencies (Lt. General Mahmud Ahmad and Lt. General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani). Importance of intelligence to national security cannot be underestimated and good professional and trained officers manning these important posts are vital. However, for optimal functioning of the intelligence agencies of armed forces, it is critical that they should be divested from the political role which they are currently playing.


  • Gen Kayani has earned laurels, it appears, for this role. [Raazi]

    Those who are considered “The Power That Be” should avoid this:

    Undercover Chaos – Role of Pakistani Armed Forces Intelligence Agencies in Domestic Arena Dr. Hamid Hussain is an independent analyst based in New York. For corrections, comments and critique humza@dnamail.com Published Defence Journal, December 2005


    Slippery Slope

    The invariable involvement of intelligence officers in the domestic political scene can have wide ranging negative impact on the professionalism of the armed forces in addition to subverting any meaningful political process. There are several examples of intelligence officers becoming entangled in political rivalries. Many intelligence officers have been accused of taking political sides for professional advancement and monetary benefits. There have been serious allegations of misuse of secret funds by intelligence officers at every level. Many such officers have been sacked by the army Chiefs because of their corruption. The life style of many mid-level former intelligence officers clearly shows that they have acquired money from sources other than their salaries.

    Pakistan army’s involvement in Afghanistan changed the dynamics of relations between army high command and intelligence agencies. The spill over effect on domestic arena was inevitable due to complex relations between military, intelligence and civilian players. In 1989, Hameed Gul was transferred from ISI to head a Corps at Multan. He kept his links with Afghan players. In 1992, Pakistan government promised the visiting Russian Vice President Alexander Rutskoy to free a Soviet Prisoner Of War (POW) held by Afghan resistance fighters on Pakistani soil. Gul prevailed upon Hikmatyar not to release the Russian POW thus embarrassing Pakistan government then led by Benazir. After his retirement, he kept his connections with Saudi intelligence open and was helping them in dealing with some Afghan clients. Even if one argues that he didn’t have any bad intention, however the consequences of involvement of former senior intelligence officers with foreign intelligence agencies can have far reaching consequences for the country. In 1993, newly appointed DG ISI Lt. General Javed Ashraf Qazi embarked on the ‘cleansing’ of ISI. ‘A large number of officers, including those in Afghan Bureau were retired or posted back to their units. However, many of them found their way back on the Afghan scene as military attaches and consulars in different cities of Afghanistan’. (15) Several of them have been again hired by Pakistan government on contract. A small number of mid-level officers continued to fish in the troubled waters of Afghanistan following their own agendas after leaving ISI. A former officer of Afghan Cell of ISI, Squadron Leader Khalid Khwaja gave details of his activities after his removal from ISI in an interview. He admits that he was dealing with his former boss at ISI, Afghans, Arabs and Pakistani political leaders. (16) Even if one argues that these officers have good intentions, the very nature of such activities is going to have an impact on national security. It does not matter what political spectrum such officers belong to, any state which allows such ‘loose canons’ to work unhindered does it at its own peril.

    Expanding role of intelligence agencies invariably affected relations between senior officers. The relationship between some senior officers and intelligence agencies deteriorated very rapidly, affecting the smooth functioning of the army. When Zia’s close confidant, Lt. General Faiz Ali Chisti came under a lot of criticism, he thought that ISI was behind it. Chisti was brash and arrogant and would openly talk about his role in the coup and ridiculed Zia. He had the audacity to even talk about throwing Zia out of office openly during telephone conversation. (11) He even complained to then DG ISI Jilani. When ISI representative went to Chisti’s office to clarify ISI’s position, Chisti personally body searched this officer and looked in his briefcase. (18) Total lack of trust can be judged from the fact that Chisti was using his own Corps intelligence units to sniff about ISI’s plots. When General Akhtar took charge of ISI, the relations among senior officers took another downward trend due to Akhtar’s close relationship with Zia. In 1980, Chisti was retired in a humiliating way and his successor Lt. General Jahandad Khan was briefed by Akhtar telling him the anti-regime activities of Chisti and told him to take the command immediately. (19) Vice Chief of Army Staff, General Khalid M. Arif one week before his retirement disclosed to Zia that ISI was following his movements. Then Corps Commander Raja Saroop Khan had investigated the case and when the ISI officer was confronted, he told them that he was acting on orders from his seniors. (20) In some cases, surveillance of people at highest level is a norm in many countries, however specific procedures are followed. In case of Pakistan, lack of accepted norms and mutual mistrust has created more complexities. A military ruler relying heavily on his intelligence agencies for managing his own senior officers can create a lot of problems. The most damaging effect of this essential element on military’s discipline was during the long rule of Zia. A Lt. General who served as Corps Commander during Zia’s time commenting on the role of intelligence agencies during that time states that ‘merit unfortunately was no longer the only criterion for promotion to senior ranks; rather, it was loyalty to the regime. The ISI had already acquired a major say in promotion to senior ranks’. (21)

    Genuine differences of opinion are one thing but when professional and personal jealousies cloud the thinking of the intelligence officers, the working relations can breakdown very quickly paralyzing the whole organization. One outgoing Director of Counter Intelligence Bureau of ISI (Tirmazi) has these words for his successor (Imtiaz), ‘I would personally inclined to agree that General Akhtar, to square-off some of his personal grievances against General Chisti, could have asked my successor, Brigadier Imtiaz to place General under occasional watch. Imtiaz was the kind who was always on the lookout to undertake such dirty jobs’. (22) Immersed in self-righteous attitude, deterioration of professional codes and clouding of perspectives of intelligence officers can occur quite dramatically. One example will show the slippery slope of such intelligence matters. Colonel Shuja Khanzada served in ISI for 12 years. In the last two years of his service, he was posted to a cushy appointment in Pakistan embassy in Washington. He had some differences with the ambassador and was called back to Pakistan in 1994 on orders of then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. His interview given in 1999 gives some insight into the thought process of these officers. First, he embarked on describing his own virtues by stating that ‘they were looking for a very professional officer’ and that ‘I was the most professional officer of the ISI’. Explaining his posting to Pakistan’s embassy in Washington, he states that ‘I was given that because of all my operations, because of my professionalism’. Then he went on to portray the Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington Maleeha Lodhi and Benazir as unpatriotic and selling Pakistan’s interests. Used to unhindered power and clout, the Colonel was so upset with his transfer that he met then army Chief General Kakar, CGS Jehangir Karamat, DG ISI Javed Ashraf Qazi and DG MI Lt. General Ali Quli Khan. He told Kakar that ‘you guys let me down’ and that if ‘General Beg been there, or General Janjua been there, how dare they pull me out from there. I would have seen that. Or if somebody like Mussharraf had been there, how could anybody put their hands on me and pulled me out’. (23) These words tell a lot about the thought process of a mid-level intelligence officer who has been just transferred from a cushy assignment abroad by a civilian Prime Minister. He may have a genuine grievance and Prime Minister may have been wrong or acted maliciously towards him, however the language of ‘national interest’ and patriotism which this officer used to give his side of the story clouds the whole argument. Off course, all these complaints and changed perspective of this officer may be solely due to the anger which he felt after his removal but it gives some insight to the readers.

    Politicization of intelligence officers in inevitable when they are tasked with political duties while wearing the uniform. After shedding their uniform, these officers align with various political actors for political and personal reasons. Lt. General Khawaja Muhammad Azhar served in ISI during General Muhammad Ayub Khan’s Martial Law. In this capacity, he personally interrogated many prominent people who were not considered loyal to Ayub. After retirement he joined a religio-political party Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Pakistan and served as the party’s Secretary General and Vice President. Former DG ISI Hameed Gul, former Additional Director of Political wing of ISI Brigadier Imtiaz Ahmad and head of Islamabad section Major Amir were involved in cobbling the opposition to Pakistan’s Peoples Party. Later, they were implicated in trying to organize a no confidence motion against first Benazir government (1988-1990). All three later aligned with the right leaning political parties. It is not clear whether they did this for political or personal reasons. Similarly, another DG ISI Nasir though not formal member of the Muslim League was a close associate of Sharif after his sacking.

    Majority of intelligence officers fade away from the scene after performing their task. However, a small number of officers have carried their personal, political or ideological agenda after leaving intelligence agencies. It is this group of officers which have done the greatest harm to their own organizations and country’s national security. One mid-level officer admitted that after removal from armed forces, he was still involved with ISI and its then DG Hameed Gul. He candidly admitted his own role in the political intrigues of ISI in these words, “After General Zia’s death in a plane crash (1988), elections were announced and there was a possibility that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led by Benazir Bhutto would win, which would be a great setback for the cause of jihad. We discussed this situation, and all the mujahideen thought that they should play a role in blocking the PPP from winning the elections. I joined my former DG Hamid Gul and played a role in forming the then Islamic Democratic Alliance comprising the Pakistan Muslim League and Jamaat-i-Islami”. (24) Intelligence business is a bit different than other military functions. If an officer of Army Supply Corps is caught with his hand in the cookie jar, the negative impact may not be very significant, however if an intelligence officer is caught with a financial, discipline or political digression, the negative fallout can be far reaching for country’s national security. Even if actual damage is small, the image of the whole organization takes a major hit which negatively affects the morale and performance of even good officers.

    To be fair, there are numerous officers who served with dignity, honor and professionalism in these intelligence agencies. These are the unsung heroes who performed their assigned duties without favor or fear. After leaving the organization, they quietly settled down in their retirement life living with dignity and earning genuine respect from their colleagues. They have decided not to climb to the rooftop to sing their own praises, pontificate or put forward ‘delusional’ ideas. One must give credit where it is due and although one may disagree with the perspective of some officers, their personal life style gives ample evidence that they kept themselves clean. Former DG ISI late Major General Muhammad Riaz Khan, former Director of Counter Intelligence Bureau of ISI Brigadier Syed A. Tirmazi and former head of Afghan Cell Brigadier Muhammad Yusuf are few of those intelligence officers who have not been soiled with the stains of corruption. I’m sure there are many others whose names will never be known. Pakistan should be proud of such officers. These professionals rather than the politicized mavericks should be role models for coming generation of Pakistani officers.


    Expansion of the role of intelligence agencies in the domestic arena has created a very complicated situation in Pakistan. In the past, there was a very complex relationship between heads of intelligence agencies, army Chiefs and civilian Prime Ministers. In this set up, institutional, personal, ideological and doctrinal interests freely intermingled and set the stage for many intrigues which damaged country’s reputation and had negative fallout for both the political and military culture. Close interaction of intelligence officers with political and business elite and journalists creates new alignments which can be utilized by both parties for their personal advantage to the detriment of both the civil society and military.

    Many intelligence officers have become the ‘intellectual class’ of the military further compounding the difficult situation. These officers are involved with different think tanks and participate in conferences about various issues. Participation of senior military and intelligence officers in the national security dialogue of the country after shedding their uniform is normal in every country regardless of the shape and the form of the government. However, in a country like Pakistan where military is the dominant institution with very little if any non-military input about vital issues, the influence of intelligence officers can further tilt the balance against any alternative view. The rise of intelligence officers inside the military hierarchy also changes the dynamics of relations between senior brass. Over the last two decades, there has been a gradual increase in the number of officers with intelligence background to rise to important positions inside the military. With direct military rule, this trend has casted a long shadow on all spheres of Pakistan’s national life and not limited to defense and security related issues. Mutual mistrust and fear among senior officers emanating from political role of some officers is not a good omen for the smooth functioning of the military hierarchy.

    Everyone including the military hierarchy agrees with the fact that involvement of military officers in political intrigues is disastrous for the professionalism of the armed forces. In addition, military is now seen as a partisan in political battles and those who oppose military view can further undermine the legitimacy and authority of the government, the ripples of which will invariably be felt by GHQ. GHQ has to come up with an innovative idea on how to tackle the difficult issue of domestic role of military intelligence agencies. In this regard, army Chief has to play the leading role as there is no sign of an independent political leadership yet on the horizon. He has to draw the boundaries and then make sure that everybody stays within those limits. Until a long term solution to the present political situation is found, the initiative has to come from General Mussharraf. First of all only General Mussharraf and few officers around him such as his Chief of Staff or Military Secretary should deal with political issues. Formation commanders and MI and ISI senior officers should be kept out of the loop to avoid further complications and erosion of army’s discipline and professionalism. Involvement of military’s intelligence agencies in domestic scene has already eroded their performance for the original mandate of keeping an eye on external threats. Lessons of failure of military intelligence agencies in 1965 and 1971 wars, Siachin fiasco in 1984 and total ignorance about India’s preparations for nuclear tests in 1998 should not be forgotten so easily. ISI has to be divested from the internal political intrigues to save both the military and the nation from further polarization.

    Emergence of terrorism as a dominant theme in national security dialogue is a new factor in existing complexities. In the context of terrorism, the role of military’s intelligence is invariably linked to internal situation. However, if the political role of these agencies is curtailed, general public will have more confidence that fight against terrorism is a legitimate area of activity for these agencies. In this regard, some valuable lessons can be learned from Israeli Defense Forces. A liaison can be maintained between military and civil intelligence outfits with a clear mandate from military high command and close supervision to avoid political adventures of intelligence officers. Meteoric rise of non-state actors as a serious security threat in different countries has changed the dynamics of intelligence operations globally. Even in well established democracies, domestic role of military intelligence agencies has expanded quite extensively and at a breath taking speed. On can not escape this fact in Pakistan, however a well thought out policy can minimize side effects from this inevitable expanding role.

    Previous inquiries about the role of intelligence agencies should be made public and a limited but informed debate about the future course should be encouraged. With the exception of the extremist Islamist forces which can unleash violence against the military, there is no civilian group or political party which can challenge military’s dominance in present situation. It is now incumbent upon the leadership of Pakistani armed forces to seriously talk about this crucial issue. One expects that at least a handful of upright senior officers can put their career opportunities or post-retirement lucrative appointments on the back burner and seriously think about the future of their own institution and country. On part of General Mussharraf allowing a frank in-house discussion will be helpful in the long run rather than relying solely on ‘smiling nodders’. The military’s dominant role is now a reality in Pakistan and a middle road needs to be found. In the short term, the political role of ISI can be completely transferred to IB which in turn can be re-organized on professional grounds. Traditionally, officers from Police cadres are posted to IB but over the last few years, a large number of serving and retired army officers have been posted there. Currently, IB is headed by a serving Major General and his provincial deputies are also serving officers. This fact may give some solace to the military high command. ISI’s role should be only limited to external intelligence and overall security. Similarly, the domestic role of MI should also be completely abolished to bring some normalcy in the working of pure military matters. Gradually pushing back the military’s intelligence agencies to their proper and accepted role will be an uphill task for anybody especially for a military regime which is directly controlling the state and society. Pressure from civilian sector and an in-house debate in GHQ may help to some extent to achieve this very difficult but critical goal.

    ‘The army must have nothing to do with politics’. Order of the Day issued by General Asif Nawaz Janjua on assuming the charge of Pakistan army, August 1991


    1 – Communication to author by one political prisoner who was detained during that period, 2002

    2 – Brigadier ® Syed A. I. Tirmazi. Profiles of Intelligence. (Lahore: Combined Printers, 1995, Second Edition), p. 224-25

    3 – Tirmazi. Profiles of Intelligence, p. 235

    4 – for a detailed analysis of the structure and function of these organizations, see Hamid Hussain. Lengthening Shadows – The Spy Agencies of Pakistan. Covert Action Quarterly, Number 73, November 2002, pp. 18-22

    5 – Tirmazi. Profiles of Intelligence, p. 18

    6 – for a detailed analysis of covert activities of that time period in Afghanistan context see Hamid Hussain. United States-Pakistan Relations – Myths and Realities. Defence Journal, Volume 7; No 4, November 2003, pp. 12-21

    7 – Tirmazi. Profiles of Intelligence, p. 25

    8 – for details of this episode see Maleeha Lodhi. Pakistan’s Encounter With Democracy (Lahore: Vanguard, 1994 ), p. 127-29

    9 – Author’s interview with a source familiar with the incident, October 2002

    10 – Author’s interview with a source knowledgeable about this meeting, 2005

    11 – Author’s interview with one of the participant of these meetings, 2005

    12 – Author’s interview with a participant of this meeting, 2004

    13 – Hamid Hussain. Forbidden Fruit – Military and Politics. Defence Journal, February 2003

    14 – Lt. General ® Asad Durrani. It is the Blanket. The Nation (Online Edition), July 22, 2005

    15 – Hamid Hussain. Love Thy Neighbor, Kill Thy Neighbor – Pakistan’s Afghan Policy. Afghan Studies Journal (Kabul), August 2004. Reprinted in Defence Journal, October 2005

    16 – for transcript of the interview see, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/GF22Df04.html, June 22, 2005

    17 – Chisti was in charge of several federal ministries. One incident is narrated to author by a senior civil servant who went to Chisti’s house for some official business. When he entered the room, he saw Chisti talking to someone on phone abusing Zia and threatening to overthrow him. The nervous civil servant made a hasty retreat fearing that he will be caught between feuding Generals.

    18 – Tirmazi. Profiles of Intelligence, p. 336

    19 – Lt. General ® Jahandad Khan. Pakistan: Leadership Challenges (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 182

    20 – Khalid M. Arif. Khaki Shadows. (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 434-35

    21 – Jahandad Khan. Pakistan: Leadership Challenges, p. 182

    22 – Tirmazi. Profiles of Intelligence, p. 339

    23 – Interview of Colonel ® Shuja Khanzada, 1999. South Asia Tribune, Vol: 2, July 27-August 02, 2002, For transcript see, http://www.satribune.com/archives/july27_02_02/isi_whistle_blower.htm

    24 – for transcript of the interview see http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South Asia/GF22Df04.html, June 22, 2005


  • The heaviest and weightiest straw was mentor cum master, the United States of America. It was made quite clear to the PPP government, guided by Asif Ali Zardari, that if it did not stop the advance of the mob upon the capital city the tap would be turned off (‘Hooka-pani bund kar dey ga’) and money would no longer flow into the coffers of a nation economically reeling.

    The US has a myriad of problems, one of which is Pakistan, which figures so highly in the war still waged against terror. In the mind of the US, Pakistan is the ground from which all terror springs, to reach out to the rest of the world, and in particular to America fighting its battles in Afghanistan. The US will not tolerate a government of Pakistan so caught up in its own warfare with its political opponents that it loses its focus and ability to deal with the terrorist Taliban who are ruling the national roost in the tribal and settled areas of the NWFP. Dawn, 21 March 2009, Cowasjee.

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