The intelligence community of Pakistan consists of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) formed by the division of pre-partition IB of British India and ISI formed after the unsatisfactory performance of IB (Pakistan) in 1948 in the first Indo-Pak war (1947-48 over Jammu Kashmir. The ISI is manned by officers from the three services to specialize in the collection analysis and assessment of external intelligence military and non-military with the main focus on India. Originally meant for the collection of intelligence ISI developed into an agency adept in covert actions and clandestine procurement of denied technologies as also to work as a sheet anchor for the terrorists’ world over. ISI is responsible for proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir and for the control of Afghanistan through the Taliban. It controls the army of Islam consisting of organization like Osama Bin Ladne’s Al Wuaeda, the Herket-ul-Mujahideen the Lashkar-e-Toiba, the Al Badr and Maulana Masood Azhar’s Jaish-eMohammad Lt. General Mohammad Aziz, presently a Corps Commander at Lahore, is the clandestine chief of staff of the army of Islam. It also controls entire opium cultivation, heroin refining and smuggling from Pakistan and Afghan territory. It also shoulders the responsibility to oversee the clandestine nuclear and missile co-operation as also the clandestine shipping of missiles, production and testing facilities to North Korea and training of North Korean scientists in the nuclear establishments of Pakistan. President of Pakistan believes in achieving his objective at any cost without worrying about the means used. In his anxiety to control the province of Sindh nationalist, he has through the ISI, created new Frankenstein which might some day lead to Talibanization of Sindh.
In recent past in the regime of General Mushrraf the activities of ISI to create panic and disorder not only in Jammu and Kashmir but the whole of India are assuming larger and larger dimensions. For a man who wants to live an extra ordinary life splashed with risk, violence and danger accompanied with high expectations and promises of bright future Pakistan’s ISI becomes a natural choice. Indian youth given such opportunities in the name of Islam fall an easy prey to such temptations and are recruited into the agency. These recruits not only help accomplish terrorist activities but also exploit their knowledge and relations in obtaining secret information and planed and hand over to ISI personnel. Sheikh 27 years of age and resident of Shrinagar was recruited into the agency who turned into a ruthless operative geared to kill and destroy. He ran a handicraft business in Bangalore and kept in touch with ISI bosses in Pakistan. Through him a plan for blowing up the Indian Space Research Organization building in Bangalore was finalized which came to an abrupt end when Sheikh was arrested by Delhi Police.
Trained men like Sheikh are ISI modules which comprise one or more operatives and over years have taken root all over India. Those modules are among the biggest sustainable sources of terrorism in India. Over 200 such modules are under observation and as many have already been busted in operation in various states between January 1998 and October 15, 2002. It is not a easy fight. The adversary is invisible but powerful, its penetration is deep, its missions are back rolled by ISI and its co-ordination is perfect. The ISI has integrated individual operators to function as deadly unit gunrunners in Karanchi, fundamentalist preachers in Bahawelpur, hawala operators in Lahore, explosive experts in Peshwar and underworld dons like Dawood Ibrahim.
The terrorist attack on India’s Parliament, Kashmir assembly. Akshardham temple, Mumbai blasts all high jacking of Indian Air Lines plane, attack on Reghunath temple of Jammu, attempt to blast Vaishno Devi Shrine and everyday blood-shed in Kashmir valley are all conspiracies planned by ISI. During past five years a clutch of modules operating in various parts of India have been busted all linked to ISI backed militant groups like Aljehad, Laskhar-e-Toiba, Hizb-ul-Mujahidee, Harket-ul-Mujahideen, Alfatech Force, Jem, Al-Quaeda, SIMI, Herket-ul-Ansar, Al-Badr, Deendar Anjuman, Khalistan Zindabad fore, Tehrik-ul-Mujahideen, Harket-ul-Jehedi Islami, Khalistan Liberatino Force, Babbar Khalsa International and Jamait-ul-Mujahideen.
Traditionally the ISI and jehadi persons have a sole motive to keep the Indian state on the boil. Gujarat is their first choice to use as a transit point for weapons and explosives of Pakistan origin to be used in India. But the security agencies are on high alert because of the realization that radical Islamic movements like Deobandi, its affiliate Tableigh Jammat, Dawate-e-Islami and Alil-e-Headees are flouring in Gujarat. Local sympathizers and relatives of the miscreants are a great hurdle in the way of exposing their activities. There is need to point out senior intelligence officials to tackle the problem at national level not at the local police stations where intelligence is limited. Most o the modules deactivated by IB-led investigations have taken months of hard work, penetration and follow-up in various parts of the country and sometimes with counter-parts in other countries. The nature of crime has changed. Money extracted by kidnappers can be used for a terrorist strike anywhere in the world. Distinction between underworld crime and terrorism has to be crashed as members of Dawood gang are being used by ISI for planning and executing terrorist strike in the country. They are also a source of financing the terrorist. Members of such gangs keep the wheels of gangland moving even from behind the bars what to say of their extensive network spread all over the country.
Some people are of the opinion that in order to effectively counter the ISI activities against India we should have an Indian version of the ISI with extensive powers for clandestine intelligence collection, technology procurement powers and covert actions and such Defence Intelligence Agency should be patterned after Pakistan ISI rather than one after the DIA of U.S. or the Defence Intelligence Staff of Great Britain which are destined for clandestine collection only during times of war or when deployed in areas of conflict with no powers of covet action.
The principle of civilian primacy in the intelligence community is widely accepted in al successful democracies. The discarding of this principle by Pakistan is responsible for the present state of affairs there. Hence in our anxiety for better results against ISI we should nor abandon and sacrifice time tested principles as to how intelligence agencies should function in a democratic society. During 70s Indian policy makers had decided that Indian Intelligence should not get itself involved in clandestine procurement of denied technologies as the exposure of any such procurement would damage the credibility and trust-worthiness of the Indian scientific and technological community in the eyes of the world and would also damage the self confidence of our own scholars. This is what Pakistan is facing. Its intelligence network did some spectacular work in clandestine procurement and theft of technologies from aboard. But once the details of this network were exposed post-graduate students of Pakistan in science subjects, its academicians, research scholars and scientists are looked down up with suspicion. Research laboratories for higher studies and research work refuse to accommodate them. Their chances to get jobs on establishment decaling in sensitive technologies have gone remote. They are less frequently invited to seminars. In its anxiety to catch up with India in short term Pakistan has damaged its long term potential in science and technology.
In order to incapacity ISI modules the multi-agency centre needs to be legally empowered. Internal terrorism cannot be tackled by civilian police or by a single police station. As India’s Prime Minister Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee has himself stressed, all efforts must be made to “Sharpen the intelligence capabilities and improve the multi-disciplinary efforts”. After the September 11 incident the U.S. has set up the department of Homeland Security to analyze intelligence from multiple sources under one roof. This should help identity threat perceptions and vulnerabilities. Similarly, the European Police Office with its headquarters at Hague is tasked with combating terrorism on behalf of all member nations.
The ISI modules do not work in isolation. Hence a far more co-ordinate approach will be required on the part of Indian Intelligence agencies to decimate their network. There are some, 12,500 Pakistani citizens overstaying their visa period and nearly 15 million Bangladesh is living in India. They are potential ISI operatives and need to be tackled, identified and neutralized. Moreover, ISI is now very active along Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bangladesh border besides North Eastern states. Bangladesh has some 50 camps. Of Al-Qaeda being run with active assistance and indulgence of ISI. There main objective is to serve our NE states form sensitive fifty kilometer Siliguri corridor besides rapidly changing demographic balances in West Bengal and north Eastern states.