Wednesday, 22 June 2011

{EOB}Malicious Campaigns Against The ISI

WRITER | Abdul Zahoor Khan Marwat
The attacks on the ISI in the foreign media are becoming frequent though not surprising. The agency is known for many successful operations in its short history. For example, it successfully ousted the Soviets from Afghanistan with funds and weapons provided by host of foreign actors, including the CIA. It was the backbone of the security of Pakistani nuclear programme. There are other examples of course but that would entail another write-up.

The strategy adopted to discredit the ISI seeks to implicate the premier intelligence agency in terrorist attacks taking place anywhere in the world, create suspicions that ISI is not sincere in fighting the war on terror; try to show the world that the agency is infiltrated by a variety of extremists and to prove that the ISI cannot deliver.

 The aim of course is to discredit Pakistan and weaken the state and its armed forces. However, some recent attempts to discredit the ISI have spectacularly backfired. One example shows how.

The acquittal of Tahawwur Husain Rana from the charge of providing material support for the 26/11 terrorist strike in Mumbai proves the agency was not involved in the incident. In other words, according to an Indian columnist, "India's hope of nailing Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence for masterminding the Mumbai attack was dashed."

Indian officials had stated that Rana allegedly knew about the Mumbai attack, which according to their claim was an ISI operation. He also reportedly knew about the videos of the alleged targets of terrorists and got David Coleman Headley an Indian visa. It was also claimed by the Indian investigating agencies that Rana knew about the timings of the attack.

However, the Chicago court said in its verdict that Rana was not guilty of conspiracy in the Mumbai attack. Interestingly, only Headley had claimed that a certain character Major Iqbal who facilitated the Mumbai attack was from the ISI. Later, Headley very clearly informed the court that the ISI establishment was not aware of the 26/11 plot. Then he finally admitted that he had no evidence that Major Iqbal was an ISI officer.

The Indian establishment believed that if Rana was convicted, Washington could have exerted pressure on Pakistan to extradite the so-called Major Iqbal and the LeT commanders, including Hafiz Saeed to the US. This may not be possible now. ìThe verdict, though, deals a body blow to efforts to link the ISI to the terrorist strike and show this up to the world,î said the India Today magazine. A major vindication for the ISI and Pakistan.

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