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ISLAMABAD: With the ISI coming under attack from various quarters both within and outside, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday sought to set the record straight by claiming the intelligence agency was subservient to the government and not involved in any act that runs counter to national interest.
“If the ISI has taken some step, it has been done with our backing,” said Mr. Gilani, adding the Pakistan People's Party-led government would not allow anyone to weaken institutions of the state. He referred to those critical of the ISI as “enemies of Pakistan” but did not specify if he had in mind the U.S. or some of the domestic politicians who have been raising their voices against the intelligence agency.
The Prime Minister's defence of the ISI came a day after Pakistani newspapers reproduced Western media reports of Guantanamo Bay files ranking Pakistan's premier spy agency as a terrorist organisation along with the Al-Qaeda and other such networks. And, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen had said in Islamabad last week that the ISI continued to have links with the Haqqani terror network which had been attacking the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
Though the ISI is dreaded internally and spoken about with due deference, the spy agency came in for attack from Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Nisar Ali Khan this Monday. Regarded as being close to the Army, Chaudhry Nisar's criticism of the ISI left many in the National Assembly wondering as he questioned the purpose of the ISI Director-General's visit to Washington earlier this month and accused the spy agency of propping up “test-tube” politicians in an oblique reference to cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan whose stocks have suddenly gone on the ascendant in recent weeks.
As the ISI came under attack and particularly after Admiral Mullen's plainspeak, the Army's counter has been that the ISI is the intelligence arm of the military and it was unthinkable for it to be supporting terrorist groups that have been attacking its parent body.
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