Role of secret agencies

December 27th, 2007 - 5:16 pm ICT by admin  

Role of secret agencies
By Dr Shabir Choudhry
London, Dec. 27 (ANI): No government can run its affairs effectively and provide protection to its citizens and its national interests without having efficient secret agencies.

These agencies act as ear and eyes of governments. Information provided by them help governments to plan policies; and as business of running governments has become too complex authorities feel compelled to set up more agencies.

Very often these agencies because of their specialised knowledge and information wield enormous powers. Despite this heavy reliance on these agencies, in democratic and pluralistic societies these agencies are responsible to civilian authorities, but in developing and especially undemocratic countries situation is different.

In undemocratic societies secret agencies act with impunity. They become law in their own right, and at times control societies, control governments, make governments and break governments. Governments use these agencies to achieve their political objectives, but this is not to suggest that this phenomena is only limited to undemocratic and developing countries, as countries like UK, USA and India known democracies- have also used secret agencies to protect and promote political interests of ruling parties.

Twentieth century witnessed a massive growth in influence and power of secret agencies, as they helped to control dissidents and win battles and wars.

Gestapo of Germany, KGB of Soviet Union, CIA of America, MI6 of Britain, SDECE/DGSE of France, Savak and Vevak of Iran, Mossad of Israel, RAW of India and ISI of Pakistan made their names either during the World war or during the Cold War era. All the actions of secret agencies are carried out in the name of national interest; and by and large they get a free hand to carry out their tasks and protect or promote that perceived national interest.

Perhaps it would be appropriate to discuss and analyse role of a secret agency, which has gained prominence or notoriety because of its international role and control over domestic issues. We, Kashmiris have enormously suffered because of this, and continue to do so, and it is because of this it merits special attention in this article. Of course I am referring to Inter Services Intelligence and its deeds.

But this is not to suggest that Indian secret agencies are angels and people of Kashmir have not suffered because of them. They also have to accept their share in misery of the Kashmiri people. All secret agencies are trained to kill and destroy in name of national interest, and they all are brutal and ruthless when they do this, but some agencies are more notorious than others. For example, one commentator while talking about ISI said, ISI has mastered the tradecraft of sabotage, subversion, direct military intervention, and proxy war to a degree of perfection, as has been achieved by its mirror brother in trade, the CIA.

ISI was a brain- child of British Army General R Cawthorne, who opted for Pakistan after the transfer of power and served as a Deputy Chief of Staff. Senior army officers felt that the Kashmir war was mismanaged by role of some political leaders, and PIB (Pakistan Intelligence Bureau) failed to fully coordinate and support the war efforts as required by the army. Pakistan army brains of General Rees and General Cawthorne conceived an idea of having an agency which can play a pivotal role to meet military requirements agency which can coordinate, plan and carry out tasks with full control of the army in accordance with military requirements, hence ISI was set up in 1948, and its structural format was drawn from MI5 and MI6, elite British intelligence agencies set up in 1909.

Like other organs of government, security agencies were also controlled and run by the British during the Raj, and after their departure, Central Intelligence Bureau had to be divided more or less on communal lines. Pakistan Intelligence Bureau (PIB, later to be called IB) was taken over by Ghulam Mohammad, non - white Muslim officer of CIB, and Bhola Nath Mallick became the head of the Indian IB.

Of course both officers and their other colleagues competed with each other while working for the CIB, and this rivalry and competition intensified after India and Pakistan gained independence in 1947, and continue to date with devastating affects. In this contest ordinary people have suffered on the both sides of the divide, and their battleground has been mainly the State of Jammu and Kashmir, which has kept us forcibly divided, and deprived of our basic human rights.

ISI has a unique status in the infrastructure of the Pakistani government, and those who have inside knowledge of the organisation claim that it is a state within a state, and controls internal and political matters of the country. Some even claim that the agency influence affairs of other countries through its credible infrastructure in other countries, as it has rich history and vast experience in meddling in affairs of other countries

Lt. General Ghulam Jillani Khan, who was a Military Attache in Washington before he was inducted into ISI as a two star Brigadier, is considered as a fatherly figure for Pakistans elite secret agency. He served regimes of General Yahya Khan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and General Zia UL Haq, when General Abdul Rehman replaced him.

General Ghulam Jillani was the first Lt. General to head the organisation increasing its status and influence, and in view of MK Dhar, he made the outfit as a virulent fighting machine against Pakistans arch enemy, India, and other geo-political adversaries.

From that time onwards stature and influence of ISI increased immensely, and apart from one occasion is always headed by a serving Lt General, who is supported by a team of Major Generals, Brigadiers, Colonels and Majors. ISI is estimated to have more than 18,000 personnel running its complex structure and secret missions. Almost all of the officers are drawn from military, navy and air force with only a small section of civilians.

The organisation has enormous power, influence and resources and virtually no constraints and checks. It is broadly divided in to twelve divisions and each division is further divided in to sections and sub sections: 1/ Joint Counter Intelligence Bureau (JCIB), 2/Joint Intelligence Signal Bureau (JISB) 3/ Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB), 4/ Joint Intelligence Finance (JIF), 5/ Joint Intelligence Technical (JIT), 6/ Joint Armed Direction Group (JADG), 7/ Joint Intelligence Miscellaneous (JIM), 8/ Joint Intelligence North (JIN), 9/ Joint Intelligence X (JIX), 10/ Foreign Liaison Section (FLS). 11/ Inter Services Federal Intelligence (ISFI), 12/ Public and Service Groups (PASG).

Each Division is headed by a senior serving army officers, and they are all dedicated and loyal stalwarts of the organisation and protect corporate and national interest, although national interest changes with time and is generally defined by them. In other words Pakistans national interest is perceived, articulated and defined by them with help of other ideologues who might necessarily be directly employed, and it is they who call the shots whenever they perceive a threat to this national threat.

I have heard many times Kashmiri political activists and leaders referring to ISI as Jin or Jinaat. Jinaat are creatures of Allah with enormous powers and are not visible to human beings. May be this reference is made because of enormous powers ISI personnel wield and their apparent invisibility; but I didnt know that JIN was also abbreviation of one Division of ISI known as Joint Intelligence North, and which is responsible for operations related to Kashmir and India.

Apart from JIN, JIM (Joint Intelligence Miscellaneous) has also very crucial role and is responsible for forward intelligence tasks, sabotage and subversion operations in foreign countries. It is believed that three sections are devoted to India alone; and JIM and JIN have close coordination with fundamentalists and jihadi groups in various countries.

This is not to suggest that Indian and agencies of other countries are not involved in illegal and extra - judicial operations. Pakistan claims that the Indian RAW and other agencies are also very active inside Pakistan, and their aim is to destabilise and weaken Pakistan.

It is this tussle and animosity of Pakistani and Indian agencies which has been a source of tension in South Asia. This jihad or yud against each other has prolonged our suffering and miseries. We welcome this trend in which both governments and their secret agencies interact with each other and share certain information to formulate joint strategies to combat and eliminate scourge of terrorism and extremism.

No country should encourage extremism and terrorism, as they have no religion or boundaries, and like Frankenstein monster could turn against the country supporting and promoting them. I hope common sense prevails and both governments and their agencies work closely to eliminate terrorism and extremism, and resolve all the disputes through a process of dialogue including the Kashmir dispute which is related to our identity and basic human rights, including right of self determination.

Once both countries and their agencies have established friendly relations this will result in closing some Kashmiri shops and making many Kashmiris redundant. However it is hoped that after their patronage is not there, Kashmiris will stop acting like b team, and perhaps stop calling each other agent or traitor. (ANI)

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