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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Four Suggestions by Nasim Zehra for ISI Reform and Control

The critique of the elected government's move notwithstanding, there are specific issues that need to be addressed regarding the oversight and management of Pakistan's premier intelligence agencies. Four are particularly important.

One, for more regular reporting to the prime minister a regularised system of the ISI and the IB reporting to the prime minister must be evolved.

Two, for greater control of the workings of the ISI and other intelligence agencies, these should be put under the parliamentary review and oversight through in-camera briefings to the defence committees of the National Assembly and the Senate. The creation of intelligence subcommittees of these two defence committees is long overdue. This would enable parliamentarians with security clearance to receive briefings on sensitive issues.

Three, greater coordination among intelligence agencies and the key policy makers are required.

Four, the elected government must arrive at a consensus to disband the notorious political department of the ISI's internal security wing. For decades this department has mutilated the political evolution of Pakistan.


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