By K.N. Pandita
Former ISI Chief Asad Durrani has made it clear who is Pakistan’s enemy. An agency that subverts democratic process in Pakistan by brandishing money power is the real culprit. This is what an ordinary Pakistani and the sympathizers of Pakistan should know. Four hundred million rupees out of a total fund of 1.5 billion rupees were distributed by ISI sleuths among the politicians, political parties and the media persons to sabotage democracy in 1990-91 parliamentary elections.. The IJI was created on the behest of the Army Chief Aslam Baig and the then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan. Among the recipients were Mian Nawaz Shariaf, his brother Shahbaz Sharief and others who became components of IJI. This was done to keep away PPP from coming to power. Army-PPP acrimony is an old story.
Army and its branches like ISI is the worst enemy of Pakistan’s democracy. What has come to the notice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan indicates that the Asghar Khan case leads to a wider disclosure of facts. Such disclosure need not be public. But those at the helm of the executive and the judiciary must find out what happened to the remaining money from the slush fund that was ‘invested’? What use has it been put to since 1990-91? Does the ISI have autonomous funding sources that even the country’s chief executive is unaware of? For the Asghar Khan case to serve a useful purpose it will not be enough for the Supreme Court to reiterate the settled legal principle that acting on an unlawful command is itself an unlawful act. Punishing a few generals, though unprecedented, will neither undo a past wrong nor be an effective deterrent for future army chiefs and DGs ISI. So long as the army and the ISI continue to exercise power not backed by legal authority and are not subject to external executive, legislative and judicial checks, abuse of power will continue unabated.
ISI is an illegal institution superimposed on the State by the Army. Since it indulges in totally illegal activities, it is to be regarded an illegal institution. Not only that, it works against the interests of the nation. It is enemy number one of Pakistan. It raised 1.5 billion rupees from the business community of Karachi to fuel anti democracy machine handled by the Army in connivance with the then President. And surprisingly, the then President happened to be a law knowing man. As hinted above, it is worthwhile for the Supreme Court of Pakistan to find out what happened to the rest of the money from a total of 1.5 billion rupees when only 400 million were distributed among the politicians etc. Where did 600 million go and into whose pockets?
The Chief Justice has ordered the Attorney General to conduct an enquiry into the case. This will take its time and a day will come when the truth about this stupendous task of stonewalling democracy and fair play in Pakistan political history will come to light in full. The question is will the Supreme Court pronounce ISI an illegal body? If not how then is it going to curb its activities? Army’s role is essentially to protect the country from external aggression and internal subversion. But when an institution of the Army meaning the ISI indulges in blatant acts of internal subversion that are not only prejudicial but inimical to the interests of the nation, it becomes a source of great threat to the country. Therefore the time has come when Pakistani civil society should open a meaningful debate on the question whether existence of an institution that works against the interests of the nation should be allowed. It should also be convinced that the biggest reason of Pakistan’s political instability is superimposition and interference from ISI. This institution has worn the anti-Indi mask only to mislead ordinary Pakistani citizens while in actuality it is working against the larger interests of the people of that country. Pakistan minus ISI would be a far more peaceful and attractive place to live in. ISI has been very close to CIA and they have jointly executed many clandestine projects only to drag Pakistan to the brink of the abyss. Democratic institutions of Pakistan, civil society and judiciary all have a responsibility of rescuing Pakistan from the disaster ISI is causing it.