Islamabad: The main opposition PML-N has asked
the government not to give another extension to ISI chief Lt
Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha, saying Pakistan had been affected by
"massive intelligence failures" like the Mumbai attacks during
Senior PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who is also
Leader of Opposition in the lower house of parliament, said
the army should devise a strategy for replacing the head of
the ISI instead of seeking a third extension for Pasha.
Khan, who is considered lose to the security establishment
and comes from a family with a military background, said Pasha
had a history of "massive intelligence failures".
"During Pasha`s tenure, the nation witnessed massive
intelligence failures like the Abbottabad raid (against Osama
bin Laden), Mumbai tragedy, the attack on the Mehran naval
airbase, Memogate and the NATO attack on Salala check post (in
which 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed)," Khan said at a news
conference in Lahore yesterday.
"It was unfortunate that despite all this, according to
Pasha, army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has repeatedly
stopped him from resigning, which is strange," he said.
Khan said there were "a lot of competent generals" who are
capable of heading the ISI and that the army should devise a
strategy on who should replace Pasha.
The PML-N and civil society would protest against a
possible extension for Pasha, who should be replaced by a
competent and capable general, he said.
The PML-N leader`s comments came against the backdrop of
reports that the Pakistan People`s Party-led government is
considering a proposal to give another extension to Pasha, who
reached the age of retirement in 2010 and has already had his
term extended twice.
Khan also criticised the ISI`s alleged role in bringing
about a "so-called revolution" through a political party.
Though he did not name any party, PML-N sources said
this was a reference to Imran Khan`s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf,
which most political parties claim is being backed by the
"We have evidence that the ISI is being used to bring a
revolution through a political party. We may go to court
against it," Khan said.
The PML-N is collecting evidence and working on documents
to present in the Supreme Court regarding the spy agency`s
involvement in "promoting" one political party, he said.
The PML-N has prepared a draft law to regulate the role of
intelligence agencies but the government had the first right
to take the initiative to stop "forced disappearances" or the
detention of people without charge, he said.
The PML-N will table a resolution in the National Assembly
or lower house of parliament next week, calling for defining
the role of intelligence agencies in internal affairs as laid
down in the Charter of Democracy signed by the PML-N and PPP
in 2006, he said.
This resolution is aimed at confining intelligence
agencies to their original role of improving national security
and not letting anyone interfere in their working, he said.
The PML-N`s criticism of the ISI and its chief comes at a
time when the Supreme Court has piled on the pressure on
military intelligence agencies to clear the air on "missing
persons" or those detained without charge and to produce such
persons before authorities.
Such open criticism of the powerful intelligence agencies
is unusual in Pakistan, where the military has ruled the
country for more than half its history.
Khan contended that according to a rough estimate, there
were between 2,000 and 10,000 "missing persons" in Pakistan
who were believed to be in the custody of security agencies.