The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence
(also Inter-Services Intelligence
) is the largest and most powerful intelligence service in Pakistan
. It is one of the three main branches of Pakistan's intelligence agencies
After the poor performance of Pakistan's Military Intelligence during Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 the need for a separate intelligence body was keenly felt. Inter-Services Intelligence was therefore created as an independent unit in 1948 from the Intelligence Bureau (IB), which handled intelligence sharing between the different branches of the military as well as external intelligence gathering. Its headquarters was initially located in Rawalpindi but later it was moved to the newly built capital, Islamabad. The current director of the organization is Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, who took over in September 2008.
After independence in 1947, two new intelligence agencies were created in Pakistan called the Intelligence Bureau
(IB) and Military Intelligence
(MI). However, the weak performance of the MI in sharing intelligence between the Army, Navy and Air Force during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947
led to the creation of the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in 1948. The ISI was structured to be manned by officers from the three main military services, and to specialize in the collection, analysis and assessment of external intelligence, either military or non-military. The ISI was the brainchild
of Australian-born British Army officer, Major General R. Cawthome, then Deputy Chief of Staff in the Pakistan Army. Initially, the ISI had no role in the collection of internal intelligence, with the exception of the North-West Frontier Province
and Azad Kashmir
. This changed in the late 1950s when Ayub Khan
became the President of Pakistan.
Ayub Khan expanded the role of ISI in safeguarding Pakistan’s interests, monitoring opposition politicians, and sustaining military rule in Pakistan. The ISI was reorganised in 1966 after intelligence failures in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, and expanded in 1969. Ayub Khan suspected the loyalty of the East Pakistan based officers in the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau or the Internal Bureau (IB) branch in Dacca, the capital of then East Pakistan. He entrusted the ISI with the responsibility for the collection of internal political intelligence in East Pakistan. Later on, during the Baloch nationalist revolt in Balochistan in the mid 1970s, the ISI was tasked with performing a similar intelligence gathering operation.
The ISI lost its importance during the regime of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who was very critical of its role during the 1970 general elections, which triggered off the events leading to the partition of Pakistan and emergence of Bangladesh.
The ISI regained its lost glory after Gen. Zia ul-Haq seized power in July 1977. Under his reign, the ISI was expanded by making it responsible for the collection of intelligence about the Sindh based Communist party and monitoring the Shia organization after the Iranian revolution of 1979, as well as monitoring various political parties such as the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). The Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980s saw the enhancement of the covert action capabilities of the ISI by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). A special Afghan Section was created under the command of colonel Mohammed Yousaf to oversee the coordination of the war. A number of officers from the ISI's Covert Action Division received training in the US and many covert action experts of the CIA were attached to the ISI to guide it in its operations against the Soviet troops by using the Afghan Mujahideen, specifically the fighters loyal to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. The United States of America provided technical assistance and financial support to Afghan Mujahideen through ISI.
In 1988, Pakistani President Zia ul-Haq initiated Operation Tupac, which was designation of a three part action plan for the liberation of Kashmir, initiated after the failure of Operation Gibraltar. The name of the operation came from Túpac Amaru II, the 18th century prince who led the war of liberation in Peru against Spanish rule. By May 1996, at least six major militant organizations, and several smaller ones, operated in Kashmir. Their forces are variously estimated at between 5,000 and 10,000 armed men and were mostly of Pakistani Punjabis and Pashtuns. They were roughly divided between those who support independence and those who support accession to Pakistan.
During 1998-1999, the ISI Director General was sidelined due to his relationship with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif; General Muhammad Aziz Khan was in operational control and directly answerable only to General Pervez Musharraf.
The objectives of ISI are:
- Safeguard Pakistani interests and national security inside and outside the country.
- Monitor the political and military developments in adjoining countries, which have direct bearing on Pakistan's national security and in the formulation of its foreign policy and to collect foreign and domestic intelligence in such cases.
- Co-ordination of intelligence functions of the three military services.
- Keep vigilant surveillance over its cadre, foreigners, the media, politically active segments of Pakistani society, diplomats of other countries accredited to Pakistan and Pakistani diplomats serving outside the country.
ISI's headquarters are located in Islamabad and currently the head of the ISI is called the Director General who has to be a serving Lieutenant General in the Pakistan Army. Under the Director General, three Deputy Director Generals report directly to him and are in charge in three separate fields of the ISI which are Political, External and General.
The general staff of the ISI mainly come from police, Paramilitary Forces and some specialized units from the Pakistan Army such as the SSG commandos. The total work force of the ISI has never been made public but experts estimate the size to be around 25,000. In addition to this ISI has over 30,000 informants and assets.
ISI is divided into several departments who are each tasked with various duties with the over all aim to safe guard Pakistan's interests.
- Joint Intelligence X: JIX is the coordinator of all the other departments in the ISI. Intelligence and information gathered from the other departments are sent to JIX which prepares and processes the information and from which prepares reports which are presented.
- Joint Intelligence Bureau: JIB is the largest part of the ISI and was perhaps the most powerful component of the ISI in the late 1980s. Its main area of work is to gather intelligence on political parties. It also has three sub-sections which include operations in India, conducting anti-terrorism operations and providing security to VIPs.
- Joint Counter Intelligence Bureau: JCIB is Pakistan's version of the NOC's of the CIA. Pakistani diplomats who conduct intelligence gathering operations report directly to this department. The area in which most of this kind of operations are conducted are in the Middle East, South Asia, China, Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics. It is alleged that the ISI has expanded the range of the diplomats to conduct intelligence gathering operations in Europe, Africa and South America as well.
- Joint Intelligence North: JIN is exclusively responsible for the Jammu and Kashmir region and in particular the Indian troop movement along the LOC (Line of Control). However, due to recent peace overtures between India and Pakistan, the size of this department is being reduced.
- Joint Intelligence Miscellaneous: JIM is responsible for conducting espionage, offensive spy missions, surveillance and any other activities during war time.
- Joint Signal Intelligence Bureau: JSIB has three Deputy Directors who are each charged with wireless communication intercepts, Monitoring enemy agents and other assets and conducting reconnaissance operations such as photographs. Most of the work force in this department are recruited from the Military College of Signals Academy and others come from the Army Signal Corps.
- Joint Intelligence Technical: JIT is responsible for developing gadgets, monitoring equipment, explosives and even has known to have a chemical warfare section. Other than that, not much is known about this department.
and members of the armed forces
can join the ISI.
However for civilians, recruitment is advertised and is jointly handled by the Federal Public Services Commission (FPSC) and civilian ISI agents are considered employees of the Ministry of Defense. The FPSC conducts various examinations testing the candidate's knowledge of current affairs, English and various analytical abilities. Based on the results, the candidates are shortlisted by FPSC and the shortlist is sent to the ISI which conducts the initial background checks. The selected candidates are then invited for an interview which is conducted by a committee comprising FPSC and ISI officials.
Those candidates who passed the interview then have to go through rigorous fitness, medical and psychological evaluations. Once the candidate clears these evaluations, the ISI performs a very thorough background check on the candidate before being offered to join the ISI. Security clearance is granted once the candidate accepts the offer. Recruited agents then go to the Inter-Services Intelligence School for basic training following which they are employed on an initial one year probationary period. However, civilian operatives are not allowed to rise above the equivalent of the rank of Major and are mostly assigned to JIX, JIB and JCIB departments and the rest of the departments are solely headed by the armed forces but there have been rare cases in which civilians have been assigned to those departments.
For the armed forces, officers have to apply for admission into the Inter-Services Intelligence School. After finishing the intelligence course, they can apply to be posted in Field Intelligence Units or in the directorate of Military/Air/Naval intelligence. Then they wait and hope that their performance is good enough to be invited to the ISI for a temporary posting. Based on their performance in the military and the temporary posting with ISI, they are then offered a more permanent position.
Senior ISI officers with ranks of Major and above are only assigned to the ISI for no more than 2-3 years to curtail the attempt to abuse their power. Almost all of the Director-Generals of the ISI have never served in the organization before being appointed by the Military commanders to lead it. ISI also monitors former, current and retired military officers who at one point or another held sensitive positions and had access to classified data.
Basic training commences with 'pep talks' to boost the morale of the new recruit using patriotism, religion and sense of honor and duty. In this early phase, the inductee is familiarized with the real world of intelligence and espionage
, as opposed to the spies of fiction. Common usages, technical jargon and classification of information are taught. Case studies of other agencies like CIA, KGB
, Chinese Secret Agency and R&AW
are presented for study. The inductee is also taught that intelligence organizations do not identify who is friend and who is foe, the country's foreign policy does.
After the initial phase, the recruit is sent to the Inter-Services Intelligence School where training can last up to six months to a year. The recruit is given firsthand experience of what it was to be out in the figurative cold, conducting clandestine operations. During night exercises under realistic conditions, he is taught infiltration and exfiltration. He is instructed to avoid capture and, if caught, how to face interrogation. He learns the art of reconnoiter, making contacts, and, the numerous skills of operating an intelligence mission. At the end of the field training, the new recruit is brought back to the school for final polishing. Before his deployment in the field, he is given exhaustive training in the art of self-defense, an introduction to martial arts and the use of technical espionage devices. He is also drilled in various administrative disciplines so that he could take his place in the foreign missions without arousing suspicion. He is now ready to operate under the cover of an Embassy to gather information, set up his own network of informers, moles or operatives as the task may require.
Collection of information:
ISI obtains information critical to Indian strategic interests. Both overt and covert means are adopted.
Classification of information: Data is sifted through, classified as appropriate, and filed with the assistance of the computer network in ISI's headquarters in Islamabad.
Aggressive intelligence: The primary mission of ISI includes aggressive intelligence which comprises espionage, psychological warfare, subversion, sabotage, and promoting insurgency in enemy locations.
Counter intelligence: ISI has a dedicated section which spies against enemy's intelligence collection oganizations.
Diplomatic missions provide an ideal cover and ISI centers in a target country are generally located on the embassy premises.
Multinationals: ISI operatives find good covers in multinational organizations. Non-governmental organizations and cultural programmes are also popular screens to shield ISI activities.
Media: International media centers can easily absorb ISI operatives and provide freedom of movement.
Collaboration with other agencies: ISI maintains active collaboration with other secret services in various countries. Its contacts with Saudi Arabian Intelligence Services, Chinese Intelligence, the American CIA and British MI6 have been well-known.
Third Country Technique: ISI has been active in obtaining information and operating through third countries like Afghanistan, Nepal, the United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Iran, Turkey and China.
- (1982-1997) ISI played a central role in the U.S.-backed guerrilla war to oust the Soviet Army from Afghanistan in the 1980s. That Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-backed effort flooded Pakistan with weapons and with Afghan, Pakistani and Arab "mujahideen", who were motivated to fight as a united force protecting fellow Muslims in Soviet occupied Afghanistan. The CIA relied on the ISI to train fighters, distribute arms, and channel money. The ISI trained about 83,000 Afghan mujahideen between 1983 and 1997, and dispatched them to Afghanistan. B. Raman of the South Asia Analysis Group, an Indian think-tank, claims that the Central Intelligence Agency through the ISI promoted the smuggling of heroin into Afghanistan in order to turn the Soviet troops into heroin addicts and thus greatly reducing their fighting potential. [See also CIA drug trafficking#Soviet Afghanistan, CIA transnational anti-crime and anti-drug activities#Southwest Asia, Operation Cyclone, Badaber Uprising].
- (1986) Worrying that among the large influx of Afghan refugees that come into Pakistan due to the Soviet-Afghan war were members of KHAD (Afghan Intelligence), the ISI successfully convinced Mansoor Ahmed who was the Charge-de-Affairs of the Afghan Embassy in Islamabad to turn his back on the Soviet backed Afghan government. He and his family were secretly escorted out of their residence and were given safe passage on a London bound British Airways flight in exchange for classified information in regard to Afghan agents in Pakistan. The Soviet and Afghan diplomats tried their best to find the family but were unsuccessful.
- (1994) The Taliban regime that the ISI supported after 1994 to suppress warlord fighting and in hopes of bringing stability to Afghanistan proved too rigid in its Islamic interpretations and too fond of the Al-Qaeda based on its soil. Despite receiving large sums of aid from Pakistan, the Taliban leader Mullah Omar is reported to have insulted a visiting delegation of Saudi Prince Sultan and an ISI general asking that the Taliban turn over bin Laden to Saudi Arabia. Following the 9/11 attack on the United States by Al-Qaeda, Pakistan felt it necessary to cooperate with the US and the Northern Alliance in a war against the Taliban.
- (2001) ISI expelled Hamid Karzai from his residence in exile in Pakistan for opposing the Taliban. According to a Wall Street Journal report of Oct. 10, 2001, the lead hijacker Atta who hit the twin towers on 9/11 2001 was financed by the then ISI chief Lt. General Mahmud Ahmad through an ex-MI6 agent Omar Saeed Sheikh. Former Pakistani President Gen. Musharraf had described Omar as an MI6 agent in his book, In The Line of Fire. Accordind to reports of Pakistan's DAWN and the NEWS INTERNATIONAL (Oct. 9, 2001), Gen. Mahmud was in Washington from Sept. 4 2001 to Sept. 13, 2001 and met with, among others, the CIA chief George Tenet and Rep. Bill Graham.
- (1980) The PAF Field Intelligence Unit at their base in Karachi in July 1980 captured an Indian agent. He was interrogated and revealed that a large network of Indian spies were functioning in Karachi. The agent claimed that these spies, in addition to espionage, had also assassinated a few armed personnel. He also said the leader of the spy ring was being headed by the food and beverages manager at the Intercontinental Hotel in Karachi and a number of serving Air Force officers and ratings were on his payroll. The ISI decided to survey the manager to see who he was in contact with, but then President of Pakistan Zia-ul Haq superseded and wanted the manager and anyone else involved in the case arrested immediately. It was later proven that the manager was completely innocent.
- (1983) Ilam Din also known as Ilmo was an infamous Indian spy working from Pakistan. He had eluded being captured many times but on March 23 at 3 a.m., Ilmo and two other Indian spies were apprehended by Pakistani Rangers as they were illegally crossing into Pakistan from India. Their mission was to spy and report back on the new military equipment that Pakistan will be showing in their annual March 23 Pakistan day parade. Ilmo after being thoroughly interrogated was then forced by the ISI to send false information to his R&AW handlers in India. This process continued and many more Indian spies in Pakistan were flushed out, such as Roop Lal.
- (1985) A routine background checks on various staff members working for the Indian embassy raised suspicions on an Indian woman who worked as a school teacher in an Indian School in Islamabad. Her enthusiastic and too friendly attitude gave her up. She was in reality an agent working for the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW). ISI monitored her movements to a hotel in Islamabad where she rendezvoused with a local Pakistani man who worked as an engineer for Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. ISI then confronted her and were then able to turn her into a double agent spying on the Indian Embassy in Islamabad.
- (2008) As of August 2008, The New York Times quoted anonymous intelligence officials in the United States alleging that the ISI was behind the Indian embassy bombing in Kabul, which killed 58 people and wounded 141. Some US government officials have indirectly confirmed these allegations.
- (1980) ISI became aware of a plot to assassinate the President of Pakistan, Zia-ul-Haq and then launch a bloody coup to depose the current government and install an extreme Islamic government in its place. The attempted assassination and coup was to occur on March 23, 1980 during the annual March 23 Pakistan day parade. The masterminds behind the coup were high ranking Military and Intelligence officers and were led by Major General Tajammal Hussain Malik, his son, Captain Naveed and his nephew Major Riaz, a former Military Intelligence officer. ISI decided against arresting these men outright because they did not know how deep this conspiracy went and kept these men under strict surveillance. As the date of the annual parade approached, ISI was satisfied that it had identified the major players in this conspiracy and then arrested these men along with quite a few high ranking military officers.
. Officially, the US government has neither confirmed nor denied such a "confrontation".
- (1978) ISI decided to spy on the residence of Colonel Hussain Imam Mabruk who was a Military Attaché to the Embassy of Libya in Islamabad as he had made some inflammatory statements towards the military regime of Zia-ul-Haq. The spying paid off as he was seen talking with two Pakistani gentlemen who entered and left the compound suspiciously. The ISI monitored the two men and were later identified as Pakistani exiles that hated the current military regime and were Bhutto loyalists. They had received terrorist training in Libya and were ready to embark on a terrorist campaign in Pakistan to force the Army to step down from power. All members of the conspiracy were apprehended before any damage could be done.
- (1981) In 1981, a Libyan Security company called Al Murtaza Associates sent recruiters to Pakistan to entice former soldiers and servicemen for high paying security jobs in Libya. In reality, Libya was recruiting mercenaries to fight with Chad and Egypt as it had border disputes with both nations. Only later did the ISI become aware of the plot and the whole scheme was stopped, but nearly 2,700 Pakistanis had already left for those jobs.
- (1979) After the failure of Operation Eagle Claw, the U.S. media outlets such as Newsweek and Time reported that CIA agents stationed in Tehran had obtained information in regard to the location of the hostages, in-house information from a Pakistani cook who used to work for the U.S. Embassy. ISI successfully gathered evidence, and intercepted communication documents and showed it to the Iranian Chief of J-2 which cleared the cook. The Iranian chief of intelligence said, “We know, the Big Satan is a big liar.”
- (1979) ISI foiled an attempt by the French Ambassador to Pakistan, Le Gourrierce and his First Secretary, Jean Forlot who were on a surveillance mission to Kahuta Research Laboratories nuclear complex on June 26, 1979. Both were intercepted and their cameras and other sensitive equipment were confiscated. Intercepted documents later on showed that the two were recruited by the CIA.
Soviet Union and Post-Soviet states
- (1980) ISI had placed a mole in the Soviet Union's embassy in Islamabad. The mole reported that the Third Secretary in the Soviet Embassy was after information in regard to the Karakurum Highway and was obtaining it from a middle level employee, Mr. Ejaz, of the Northern Motor Transport Company. ISI contacted Mr. Ejaz who then confessed that a few months ago the Soviet diplomat approached him and threatened his family unless he divulged sensitive information in regard to the highway such as alignment of the road, location of bridges, the number of Chinese personnel working on the Highway, etc. The ISI instead of confronting the Soviet diplomat chose to feed him with false information. This continued until the Soviet diplomat was satisfied that Mr. Ejaz had been bled white of all the information and then dropped him as a source.
- (1991-1993) Major General Sultan Habib who was an operative of the ISI's Joint Intelligence Miscellaneous department successfully procured nuclear material while being posted as the Defense Attaché in the Pakistani Embassy in Moscow from 1991 to 1993 and concurrently obtaining other materials from Central Asian Republics, Poland and the former Czechoslovakia. After Moscow, Major General Habib then coordinated shipping of missiles from North Korea and the training of Pakistani experts in the missile production. These two acts greatly enhanced Pakistan's Nuclear weapons program and their missile delivery systems.
- (1980s) ISI successfully intercepted two American private weapons dealers during the Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980s. One American diplomat (his name has not been de-classified) who lived in the F-7/4 sector of Islamabad was spotted by an ISI agent in a seedy part of Rawalpindi by his Car's diplomatic plates. He was bugged and trailed and was found to be in contact with various tribal groups supplying them with weapons for their fight with the Soviet Army in Afghanistan. Another was Eugene Clegg, a teacher in the American International School who also indulged in weapons trade. All of them were put out of business.
- (2002) Some authors allege that ISI supported the 1999 release of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh who was subsequently convicted of the 2002 beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
Critics of the ISI say that it has become a state within a state, answerable neither to the leadership of the army, nor to the President or the Prime Minister. The ISI has been deeply involved in domestic politics of Pakistan since the late 1950s. The 1990 elections for example were widely believed to have been rigged by the ISI in favor of the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad
(IJI) party, a Conglomerate
of nine mainly rightist
parties by the ISI under Lt. General Hameed Gul
, to ensure the defeat of Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party
(PPP) in the polls. Gul has denied that the vote was rigged. In early 1990s ISI became involved in politics of Karachi
, it launched operation against the Mujahir Qaumi Movement
(MQM) seeing its growing popularity and political strength in the province of Sindh
. It is alleged that ISI was involved in dividing MQM. This led to the creation of MQM-A
, the former being the party of Altaf Hussain
and latter Haqiqi group. MQM-Haqiqi group was made by ISI to target MQM-A and to stop its growing popularity. It even bribed several journalists and newspapers to agitate against MQM-A.
ISI's Internal Political Division has been accused by various members of the Pakistan People's Party in assassinating Shahnawaz Bhutto
, one of the two brothers of Benazir Bhutto, through poisoning in the French Riviera
in the middle of 1985 in an attempt to intimidate her into not returning to Pakistan for directing the movement against Zia's Military government, but no proof has been found implicating the ISI.
The ISI was also involved in a massive corruption scandal dubbed "Mehrangate", in which top ISI and Army brass were given large sums of money by Yunus Habib (the owner of Mehran Bank) to deposit ISI’s foreign exchange reserves in Mehran Bank. This was against government policy, as such banking which involves government institutions can only be done through state-owned financial institutions and not private banks. When the new director of the ISI was appointed and then proceeded to withdraw the money from Mehran Bank and back into state-owned financial institutions, the money had been used up in financing Habib's “extracurricular” activities. On April 20, 1994, Habib was arrested and the scandal became public.
India, on basis of data collected on islamic insurgents in Kashmir, has blamed the ISI for training, arming and giving logistics to the militants who are fighting the Indian security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir. Federation of American Scientists reports that the Inter-Service Intelligence, is the main supplier of funds and arms to the militant groups. The British Government had stated there is a 'clear link' between Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence and three major militant outfits The Guardian newspaper had uncovered evidence that Pakistani militants were openly raising funds and training new recruits and that the ISI's Kashmir cell was instrumental in funding and controlling these outfits.India also accused ISI of masterminding the 1993 Mumbai bombings, with backing from Dawood Ibrahim's D-Company. Aside from Kashmir, India accuses the ISI of running training camps near the border of Bangladesh in late 1990s where India claims the ISI trains members of various separatist groups from the northeastern Indian states. The ISI has denied these accusations, although without being able to clear its involvement from them.
In January 1993, the United States placed Pakistan on the watch list of such countries which were suspected of sponsoring international terrorism. This decision was made in part because the current head of the ISI in 1993, Lt. Gen. Nasir, had become a stumbling block in American efforts to buy back hundreds of shoulder-fired, surface-to-air FIM-92 Stinger missiles from the Afghan Mujahideen and was assisting organizations such as Harkat ul-Ansar, which had been branded as a terrorist organization by the US. Once Nasir's tenure as ISI chief ended, the US removed Pakistan from the terrorism watch list. The ISI is also suspected to have been involved with the hijackers of the September 11, 2001 attacks, having paid the ringleader Mohamed Atta. After 9/11, ISI was supposedly purged of members who did not support President Pervez Musharraf's stance towards the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Newsreports in July 2008, however indicate that ISI may instead have chosen to merely suppress the activities of these individuals rather than remove them from office.
In the BBC Newsnight Programme on 27 September 2006, a research paper prepared for the Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom), was quoted linking the ISI with support for the Taliban and other terrorist acts in the west. The report states, "The US/UK cannot begin to turn the tide until they identify the real enemies from attacking ideas tactically - and seek to put in place a more just vision. This will require Pakistan to move away from Army rule and for the ISI to be dismantled and more significantly something to be put in its place. This was denied by President Musharraf, "I totally, 200% reject it. I reject it from anybody - MoD or anyone who tells me to dismantle ISI. The Council on Foreign Relations, a US foreign policy think tank published an article casting doubt on some of the accusations, 'Though Pakistan does offer safe haven to Kashmiri groups, and perhaps some Taliban fighters, the suggestion that the ISI is responsible for the 7/7 bombings of London’s mass transit system is “a real stretch,” [Kathy] Gannon says'. However, a later report by the same think tank, The Council on Foreign Relations, stated there was probably support for terrorism from rogue elements of the ISI, exhibiting the failure of civilian intelligence like the CFR in estimmating the capability of the ISI
Amnesty International publish a report on 29 September 2006 accusing Pakistan of detaining hundreds of alleged terror suspects without legal process. The group says some were tortured or otherwise ill-treated, others were sold to the US military, and others have vanished without trace. "Journalists and human rights activists have told Amnesty International that most terror suspects deemed important by Pakistani intelligence were held in "safe houses" run by "the agencies" – Pakistan’s intelligence agencies including the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI). 'In many cases, U.S. agents paid a bounty of $5,000 (2,667 UK pounds) to those, usually intelligence agents, who simply declared people terrorists, seized them and handed them over for interrogation with no legal process, Amnesty said. "Enforced disappearances were almost unheard of in Pakistan before the start of the U.S-led war on terror -- now they are a growing phenomenon, spreading beyond terror suspects", Amnesty researcher Angelika Pathak said.' Gen Musharraf strongly denied the allegations that some alleged terror suspects had vanished without trace, "I don't want even to reply to that, it is a nonsense, I don't believe it, I don't trust it". 'Gen Musharraf has boasted of the arrests as proof of his commitment to the fight against Al Qaeda. In his new memoirs, "In the Line of Fire", he claims that the CIA has paid Pakistan hundreds of millions of dollars in bounty payments for the capture of 369 Al Qaeda suspects since 2001.'
Some members of the American media and political establishment have questioned Pakistan's commitment in combating the Taliban and Al Qaeda remnants in border areas. In response, Pakistan has pointed to the deployment of nearly 80,000 troops in the border areas and the arrests of more than 700 Al Qaeda members carried out by supposedly ISI members, the most high profile ones including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, as proof that the ISI was serious in its commitment to fighting the War on Terrorism. However, the recent deal with the rebels to end the Waziristan War has been seen by many observers as a defeat for Pakistan, that has strengthened Taliban powerbase in Waziristan. Moreover, NATO's top commanders have criticized ISI's continued role in supplying weapons and providing sanctuary to the terrorists but have approved the deal.
In the aftermath of the 2008 Indian Embassy Bombing in Kabul, the Afghan, Indian, and United States governments all accused ISI of orchestrating the attack, leading Bush to ask the civilian Prime Minister of Pakistan, "Who controls ISI? The information leak in question referred to the fact that information shared by the Americans to the ISI about future strikes against terrorist targets seemed to be leaked to the terrorists prior to the attacks, indicating widespread connections between Pakistan's intelligence agency and fundamentalist Islamic terrorist organizations.
The ISI has rarely been portrayed on the silver screen and on Television by the Pakistani Media as they are shy to explore such a sensitive institution of Pakistan.
However foreign media such as Hollywood and Bollywood are now starting to portray ISI in movies and television programming given the current nature on the fight with global terrorism and Pakistan being the forefront of this fight.
Some of the media portrayals of ISI are:
- Ek, a Hindi movie in which the CIA, ISI and R&AW agents work together to stop terrorists from detonating a nuclear weapon in Mumbai.
- Charlie Wilson's War, a Hollywood movie which shows how USA armed and trained the Afghan Mujahideen with the help of Pakistan's ISI.
- A Mighty Heart, a Hollywood movie based on Daniel Pearl's killing by terrorists who were alleged to have connections with ISI.
- Path to Paradise, an American television mini-series which shows how events lead up to the September 11, 2001 attacks and highlights the ISI's assistance in capturing the terrorist Ramzi Yousef.
- Black Friday, a Bollywood movie which cronicles the events the 1993 Mumbai bombings and the ISI's role in instigating and supporting the chain of events.
- A Banker for All Seasons, a book written by Tariq Ali, a British Pakistani, on BCCI and its links with ISI.
- A Case of Exploding Mangoes, a book written by Mohammad Hanif on Gen Zia ul Haq's plane crash and the role of various spooks.
39. [US, Chinese Unhappiness Leads To Transfer Of ISI Chief]
- ISBN 0-8059-9594-3, By Muhammad Ayub; An Army, Its Role and Rule (A History of the Pakistan Army from Independence to Kargil from 1947-1999).
- ISBN 0-9733687-6-4. By Abid Ullah Jan; From BCCI| to ISI: The Saga of Entrapment Continues
- ISBN 0-85052-860-7, By ISI brigadier Mohammad Yousaf; Afghanistan the Bear Trap: The Defeat of a Superpower.
- ISBN 1-59420-007-6, By Steve Coll; Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001.
- ISBN 1-57488-550-2, Brassey's International Intelligence Yearbook.
- ISBN 0-415-30797-X, By Jerrold E Schneider, P R Chari, Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, Stephen Phillip Cohen; Perception, Politics and Security in South Asia: The Compound Crisis in 1990
- ISBN 0-8021-4124-2, By George Crile; Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History
- ISBN 1-84277-113-2, By Jonathan Bloch; Global Intelligence : The World's Secret Services Today
- ISBN 0-385-50672-4, By James Bamford; A Pretext for War : 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America's Intelligence Agencies