`Islamist militants, not India main threat to Pak`

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - 09:36

Washington: Shedding its India-centric
phobia, Pakistan`s main spy agency ISI has in its new threat
assessment determined that Islamist militants, and not India
pose the main threat to Pakistan.

In a recent internal assessment of security, the
Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan`s most powerful military
spy service has determined for the first time in 63 years that
it expects a majority of threats to come from Islamist
militants, Wall Street Journal reported quoting a senior ISI
officer.

The assessment, WSJ said, a regular review of national
security allocated a two-thirds likelihood of a major threat
to Pakistan coming from militants rather from India or
elsewhere.

"It`s earth shattering. That`s a remarkable change,"
Bruce Hoffman, a counter terrorism specialist and professor at
Georgetown University was quoted as saying.

"It`s yet another ratcheting up of the Pakistanis`
recognition of not only their own internal problems but
cooperation in the war on terrorism," he said.

The paper said it was unclear whether the assessment of
the ISI, largely staffed by active military officers, was
fully endorsed by Pakistan`s military and civilian government.

"The report`s impact on troop positioning and
Pakistan`s war against militants remains to be seen," the
daily said.

The assessment reflects the thinking in the
mainstream of the ISI, The Wall Street Journal said.

"But US officials worry that elements of Pakistan`s
military establishment, which they say includes retired ISI
officers, continue to lend support to militants that shelter
in Pakistan`s tribal regions, an effort these people say is
aimed at building influence in Afghanistan once the US pulls
out," it said.
The paper quoted Major Gen Athar Abbas, the chief
Pakistan military spokesman, as saying he hadn`t seen the ISI
report.

He said India remained a threat but confirmed that it
is the ISI`s role to draw up security assessments, the daily
said.
While the jostling for influence in Afghanistan between
India and Pakistan isn`t likely to diminish, WSJ said, the ISI
assessment could push Islamabad into taking stronger action
against Pakistani and Afghani militants operating from its
porous mountainous travel region.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - 09:36

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