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National security policy: some suggestions

August 30, 2013

SO much is in the news about the formulation of a national security policy but nothing concrete has come up. This onerous task cannot be undertaken by politicians or parliamentarians or any cabinet committee but needs the services of professionals.

There are already eight or nine intelligence agencies in the country, including the ISI, IB, FIA, Special Branch, CID, MI, naval intelligence, air intelligence, and now creation of NACTA and Defence Committee on National Security is being talked about.

Rather than adding one or more security agencies to the list of these ineffective and non-productive organisations, it is better to boost the already existing infrastructure and make one central agency more powerful, effective and potent.

My suggestion in this regard is that the ISI should be given the task of collating intelligence from all sources and take immediate action to address the situation.

The ISI already has the resources and the infrastructure throughout Pakistan. To provide further trained manpower and expertise to it, the IB can also be merged with it.

This Central Intelligence Agency (whatever it may be called) can be placed directly under the prime minister with the authority to take action against any terrorist or anti-state activity throughout Pakistan.

This organisation can be provided teeth by providing troops from the armed forces and well-trained police. The MI, naval and air intelligence can focus purely on defence-related intelligence along with Joint Staff Intelligence as their coordinating body.

The ISI anyway is not a typical army organisation and comprises a large number of civilian intelligence officers and officers from the three services.

The chief of the ISI (or whatever this organisation is named) could be a military general or a civilian officer with requisite experience.

This newly-created organisation should draft the national security policy and also be responsible for its implementation.