ISLAMABAD: Sacking of two top men delayed after GHQ attack

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10-12-2009_isbUS govt wants ISI under civilian head

By Hamid Mir

The GHQ attack saved, at least, two top players of the present set-up from being sacked for creating misunderstanding between the Army and the President House.

It was decided in a high-level meeting on Friday that these two men, considered close to the president, would be sacked from their jobs. The decision had also been conveyed to the Army leadership. However, the attack on the GHQ delayed the implementation of the decision for some time.

Sources in the capital said that Saturday’s meeting between the president, the prime minister and the Army chief defused tensions for the time being but all was not yet over. The government would convey its objections to the controversial clauses of the Kerry-Lugar Bill to the US administration anytime soon, and it is expected that the US may also agree to change the language of these clauses. However, pressure from the US officials on the civilian government would definitely create new problems between the Army and the President House in the near future. The US is quietly putting pressure on the government to increase civilian control over the ISI, slowly and gradually. According to some documents available with this scribe, the US government wants a civilian head of the ISI.

A report of the Pakistan Policy Working Group for the US president suggested in September 2008 that “we should encourage the extension of civilian oversight to the ISI, including appointment of a civilian to head the organisation”. It may be mentioned that President Zardari had tried to put the ISI under the control of Interior Minister Rehman Malik last year, but failed.

The report, launched in the US Embassy in Islamabad earlier this year, also spoke of “support to assistance proposed in the Biden-Lugar legislation”, adding: “Commit to including $1.5 billion per year in non-military spending each year but this assistance must be accompanied by rigorous oversight and accountability. The era of the blank check is over.”

The authors, including Kara L Bue of the Armitage International and Lisa Curtis of the Heritage Foundation, used objectionable language about the Pakistan Army in the said report. Interestingly, the Pakistan Policy Working Group thanked DynCorp at the end of the report as the “partner organisation that contributed to the production of the report”.

DynCorp is a private security firm in the USA, which receives more than 96 per cent of its $2 billion annual revenues from the federal government. The US administration has hired its services in Iraq, Gaza Strip, Bosnia and Afghanistan. Five employees of DynCorp were fired for being involved in trafficking of child sex slaves in Bosnia.

Recently, DynCorp was given a contract for the security of US diplomats in Pakistan, where the company was working with Inter-Risk, a Pakistani security firm. Many people in Pakistan confused DynCorp with Blackwater. However, it is DynCorp that is establishing a large security network not only in Islamabad and Peshawar, but also in Karachi. Pakistani security agencies have raised serious objections to the activities of the US security firm. It is feared that DynCorp may create some problems for the country’s nuclear programme with the secret cooperation of Pakistan’s traditional enemies.

According to the sources, the US authorities actually want to clip the wings of the ISI because they consider the spy agency a threat to their objectives against the nuclear programme. It’s learnt the Army high command wants action against all those who facilitated DynCorp secretly and illegally for establishing its network in Pakistan, which is not aimed against the Taliban and al Qaeda but to break Pakistan’s nuclear security.

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