Top Pak officials reluctant to disclose ISI`s expenditure

Top Pakistani officials are refusing to disclose how and on what the country`s powerful spy agency ISI spent a whopping Rs 5.55 billion allocated to it during 2007-08.

Last Updated: Sep 22, 2010, 16:34 PM IST

Islamabad: Top Pakistani officials are
refusing to disclose how and on what the country`s powerful
spy agency ISI spent a whopping Rs 5.55 billion allocated to
it during 2007-08.

"This is highly sensitive information and hence I
can`t talk about it at an open forum," Finance Secretary
Salman Siddiqui told the Public Accounts Committee of the
National Assembly or lower house of parliament.

He merely told the Parliamentary watchdog that the
money was released to the ISI for operations. But opted to
keep quiet when asked for details, media reports said today.

The huge sum was paid to the ISI as a supplementary
grant. But the spy agency has so far not accounted for it.
The meetings of most Pakistani parliamentary panels
are open to the media.

According to information provided by the finance
division to the PAC, the amount was paid to the ISI as a
supplementary grant.

Despite repeated questions and taunts by members of
the PAC, Siddique refused to share details of the allocation.
Details provided to the media described the amount as
"provision for relief during the financial year 2007-2008".

The only thing Siddiqui was willing to concede was
that the head was a "cover-up".

Senior PML-N leader Khwaja Asif, a member of the PAC,
asked: "How long shall we keep on fooling ourselves?"
Pakistan People`s Party`s Yasmin Rehman, who presided
over the meeting, said: "How can we settle such a heavy amount
without knowing any details?" If the information is not to be
shared with the PAC, there is no need to bring the matter to
the notice of the panel, she said.

Afzal Chan of the PPP said funding for intelligence
agencies was beyond anyone`s comprehension.

Replying to a question, the Finance Secretary said
"strategic dictates" had forced the government to make the
payment. He said that the money was provided in lump sum.
He merely told the Parliamentary watchdog that the
money was released to the ISI for operations. But opted to
keep quiet when asked for details, media reports said today.

The huge sum was paid to the ISI as a supplementary
grant. But the spy agency has so far not accounted for it.
The meetings of most Pakistani parliamentary panels
are open to the media.

According to information provided by the finance
division to the PAC, the amount was paid to the ISI as a
supplementary grant.

Despite repeated questions and taunts by members of
the PAC, Siddique refused to share details of the allocation.
Details provided to the media described the amount as
"provision for relief during the financial year 2007-2008".

The only thing Siddiqui was willing to concede was
that the head was a "cover-up".

Senior PML-N leader Khwaja Asif, a member of the PAC,
asked: "How long shall we keep on fooling ourselves?"
Pakistan People`s Party`s Yasmin Rehman, who presided
over the meeting, said: "How can we settle such a heavy amount
without knowing any details?" If the information is not to be
shared with the PAC, there is no need to bring the matter to
the notice of the panel, she said.

Afzal Chan of the PPP said funding for intelligence
agencies was beyond anyone`s comprehension.

Replying to a question, the Finance Secretary said
"strategic dictates" had forced the government to make the
payment. He said that the money was provided in lump sum.