Bring intel agencies under civilian control: Nawaz Sharif

Nawaz Sharif criticised Pak`s intelligence agencies for their failure to detect Osama bin Laden`s presence in the country.

Last Updated: May 14, 2011, 18:07 PM IST

Lahore: Former premier Nawaz Sharif on Saturday
criticised Pakistan`s intelligence agencies for their failure
to detect Osama bin Laden`s presence in the country, saying
they should be brought under civilian control and their
budgets opened to scrutiny by parliament.

The head of the main opposition PML-N party said all
intelligence and security agencies, including the Inter-
Services Intelligence, should be placed under civilian
control.

The budget for the military and the intelligence
agencies should be presented in parliament for approval, he
told a news conference at his home here.

"We should stop receiving directions from the US and
the intelligence agencies. We should bring all institutions,
including the ISI, under civilian control," Sharif said in his
opening remarks.

"The defence budget should be revealed in parliament.
The budget of intelligence agencies should be brought before
parliament and select committees should decide how and where
the funds are spent. After all, it is the public`s money," he
said.

Details of the budgets for the military and
intelligence agencies are currently not provided to parliament
and there are rarely any discussions on such issues by
lawmakers.

Even before an in-camera joint session of both houses
of parliament yesterday decided that the US raid which killed
bin Laden should be probed by an independent commission, the
PML-N had demanded the formation of a judicial panel to
conduct an inquiry.

Sharif warned that the PML-N would adopt a "new
policy" if the government delayed in setting up the
independent commission as laid out in a resolution adopted
during the joint session of parliament.

The PML-N has been pressing the government to fix
responsibility for intelligence and security lapses since US
special forces conducted a dramatic raid in the garrison city
of Abbottabad on May 2 and killed bin Laden.

"Much depends on the independent commission. The
sooner it is formed and the commission gives its report, the
better for the country," he said.

Sharif further said the intelligence agencies should
have no role in politics.

"The ISI`s interference in politics should end now.
The intelligences agencies should not divide and strengthen
political parties. They should not make new alliances. The
agencies should not run a parallel system," he said.

The intelligence and security set-up should not
interfere in foreign policy or frame a "parallel policy", he
said.

The elected government should frame all policies,
including those government relations with key countries like
the US, India and Afghanistan, Sharif said.

Sharif said he was not against state institutions,
including the military, but individuals who damaged the
country, such as former President Pervez Musharraf.

He said Musharraf and a handful of military officers
deposed the PML-N government in 1999 and were responsible for
the Kargil conflict with India.

"Now martial law and Kargil-like operations will not
be tolerated," Sharif said.

Noting that he had met US Ambassador Cameron Munter
this morning, Sharif said Pakistan should review its relations
with America.

"They should understand our concerns. There have been
no attacks in the US since 9/11, but we have lost over 30,000
people and our security forces are being targeted. The US is
secure but the risks have increased for Pakistan," he said.

The covert US raid against bin Laden "destroyed"
Pakistan`s sovereignty and no one should be allowed to conduct
such operations, he said.

"These one-way relations cannot continue," he added.
Responding to Sharif`s tirade, senior Pakistan
People`s Party leader and Information Minister Firdous Ashiq
Awan said the PML-N chief`s attack on the ISI would help the
"enemies" of the country.

She said the PML-N and Sharif were once the
"favourites" of the intelligence agencies.

PTI