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Reinvigorating the Core National Institutions By Sajjad Shaukat

      THIS ARTICLE IS IN PAKISTAN’S NATIONAL INTEREST                                  

Reinvigorating the Core National Institutions

                                                           By Sajjad Shaukat


Every thing became crystal clear when foreign media, NGOs and human rights groups reactivated their campaign against Pakistan, its army and especially Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) by projecting the so-called propaganda of the Geo TV by favouring the misconceptions of its anchor and journalist Hamid Mir who was severely injured on April 19, this year when unidentified gunmen opened fire at his car in Karachi.

It is a good sign that the Government of Pakistan, political and religious parties, lawyers, intellectuals, media and civil society supported the core national institutions like ISI. They strongly condemned the Geo TV channel which deduced hastily outcome of the assault on Hamid Mir.

It is mentionable that Hamid Mir who was threatened by the Taliban, scheduled to go to Balochistan on April 19, but as to why, he managed to go to Karachi without appropriate security. And as to how target-killers came to know his arrival in Karachi. Besides there are a number of contradictions in the developments related to Hamid Mir incident. His driver and security guard remained safe, and they were neither detained by police for their initial statement nor appeared on the Geo TV in this connection. When other media analysts indicated that as to why no FIR was lodged, the same was lodged against unknown persons, without mention of ISI. But on April 24, first formal statement of Hamid Mir was conveyed to the media by his brother Amir Mir, holding ISI responsible for orchestrating the attack. Showing ambivalent approach, he also disclosed that according to Hamid Mir, he had also been facing threats from both state and non-state actors who could try to kill him.

ISI is alone coping with several secret agencies, working inside Pakistan. As regards external agents, a US national arrested at Karachi airport on May 5 for carrying ammunition in his bag is a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent, according to the report, published in Washington Post which quoted American officials.

Unfortunately, ISI has been in the eye of the wicked storm ever since extra-regional imperialists started expanding their influence in South Asia and Afghanistan. India has been in the forefront to malign ISI and Pak Army. Unfortunately, India succeeded in promoting its narrative through selected Pakistani media houses. In this respect, while hinting towards the Geo media group, senior journalist Majid Nizami commented, “Certain TV channel of Pakistan appears to be Indian.” This is due to its tendency to follow Indian narrative, during its electronic coverage. Since long Indian propagandists labeled ISI “a state within state”, while insinuating that ISI was harboring terrorists. Domestic media like the Geo and Jung group, instead of countering Indian allegations against ISI followed Indian themes and launched a media tirade against ISI. 

However, Hamid Mir episode and subsequent media campaign launched by Geo TV to malign ISI and its DG created conditions for Indian and western media to propagate against ISI and its top leadership. Regrettably, some Pakistani politicians have also drawn sadistic pleasure by criticizing ISI without realizing that such castigation will damage the prestige of the outfit.

Nevertheless, India availed the opportunity, and under the pretext of false accusations, its renowned newspapers, TV channels and high officials implicated ISI. In this regard, on April 28, voicing his support for the Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir, former external affairs minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha called upon Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif through a letter to stop ISI from suspending Geo TV license.

In fact, anti-Pakistan forces are trying to weaken Pakistan’s core institutions to make them irrelevant or to destroy them, as this will lead to devastation of state itself.

Taking note of the foreign conspiracy against the integrity of Pakistan, Government of Pakistan, and our internal entities, especially other TV channels like ARY, Samaa, Express, Dunya Din etc. also rejected false accusations of the Geo TV—and outrightly rejected all plots designed to tarnish the image of ISI. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while appreciating the services of ISI stated, “Government acknowledges the security institutions, particularly role of ISI for ensuring defence, security and peace in the country.” This is a positive step to eulogize the superior secret agency in wake of Geo campaign against it. 

Patriotic Pakistani public feels that still much remains to be done in reinvigorating ISI, as lethal propaganda against our primary spy agency is causing irreparable damage to Pakistan.

Those entities like the Geo media anchors which always target ISI by manipulating various developments and issues in order to implicate this agency, under one pretext or the other, need to learn from Turkey and USA where spy agencies have been given additional powers to protect their national interests. In this context, Turkish President Abdullah Gul approved a law duly legislated by Turkish Parliament—expanding the powers of MIT (Turkish spy agency) to tap private phone conversations and collect intelligence related to terrorism and international crime. The law also offered the spy agency greater immunity from prosecution and provides for prison terms of up to 10 years for journalists and others who publish leaked information. This step was taken after media leaks which embarrassed Turkish Government on infamous Syrian predicament.

Similarly, at the request of US Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, US Senate removed a section from a crucial intelligence bill that would have required the White House to disclose information on those killed by the US drone strikes overseas. This has been done to provide protection to CIA for using drones to kill combatants and non-combatants. The sole superpower America could not afford to uncover the vulnerabilities of CIA, and therefore, the legislation was lobbied to pass laws to safeguard their spy agency.

It is also relevant to ask the anti-ISI human rights campaigners as to why they were silent on Turkish legislation and Bill, passed by the US senators to protect their spy agencies? The answer is simple, as these powers give top priority to their national interests, whereas the media stalwarts like Ansar Abbassi and Najam Sethi including other analysts openly question as to what is national interest in Pakistan. They simply do not accept that Pakistan’s national interests are vital and above every other interest.

Nonetheless, the main aim of Hamid Mir episode was to defame the ISI. Thanks God, statements of various political and religious parties in wake of continued public processions and rallies in support of the armed forces and ISI, and against the Geo media group have thwarted the foreign conspiracy against the national interests of Pakistan. In this context, our internal entities like media and civil society understand that firmness of the state is directly related to the effectiveness of country’s primary spy agency, assigned the task of protecting national interests.

Consequently, for the purpose, the Government of Pakistan, political parties, lawyers, intellectuals, media and civil society must continue their support by ensuring actions to reinvigorate the core institutions like ISI, and by giving a matching response to all negative propaganda against it.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com



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