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Pakistan disbands ISI's political wing

Source: PTI
November 22, 2008 23:20 IST
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The political wing of Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency has been disbanded and the organisation will focus only on internal security issues, according to a media report.

A top unnamed ISI official was quoted by Dawn News agency as saying that the agency had shifted its focus from domestic politics to internal security. The ISI would focus on the war against terrorism, which is the most serious security challenge facing Pakistan, the official said.

The ISI's political wing was part of a department that also dealt with counter-intelligence activities. The wing was managed by a brigadier, two colonels and other civil and military officials who would be absorbed in other departments of the ISI, the report said.

The ISI official also said the agency would no longer spy on politicians and their activities. The agency has completely disassociated itself from making or breaking political parties and alliances, the official said.

The ISI will also stop giving security clearance for politicians. The decision to wind up the agency's political wing has been conveyed to the political leadership, the official said.

Several former ISI officials who served in the agency during the regime of former President Pervez Musharraf have recently admitted in media interviews that the organisation played a key role in rigging elections in recent years. The ISI also played a major role in forming the PML-Q party that supported Musharraf after he came to power through a military coup in 1999.

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