ISLAMABAD: The quest of an Intelligence Bureau (IB) spy to have the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) investigate his seniors for allegedly protecting terrorists may not yield the desired results, after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) noted on Wednesday that both agencies seemed to be involved in a “tug of war”.

However, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui sought a reply from the interior secretary to the petition filed by an IB assistant sub-inspector.

The bureau has already come under fire from Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan after its head allegedly met ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the UK. A list of politicians allegedly having links with terrorists was also recently attributed to the IB; however, the intelligence agency has disowned any such list.

Earlier, during the Panama Papers hearings before the Supreme Court, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) had blamed the IB for hampering its investigations against Mr Sharif and his family members.

Justice Siddiqui seeks interior secretary’s reply to IB official’s petition

The JIT included representatives of the ISI, Military Intelligence, Federal Investigation Agency, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, National Accountability Bureau and State Bank of Pakistan.

In his petition, IB ASI Malik Mukhtar Ahmed Shahzad claimed that he had “reported against various terrorist groups having roots in Uzbekistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and India… [but] no action was ever taken by IB in this respect, despite concrete evidence provided to it in the form of the intelligence reports”.

According to the petition, the matter was even reported to the IB director general, but to no avail.

The case was earlier fixed before IHC Justice Aamer Farooq. However, during the hearing, the petitioner’s counsel requested the judge to transfer the case to Justice Siddiqui, since an identical matter was pending in his court.

On Wednesday, when Justice Siddiqui took up the petition, ASI Shahzad began weeping inside the courtroom, and pleaded with the judge to refer this case to the ISI for investigation as soon as possible.

However, Justice Siddiqui remarked that there were reports of an ongoing “tug of war” between the two spy agencies, and asked how ISI could be authorised to carry out an investigation in such circumstances.

The judge pointed out that the interior secretary may be the relevant authority to conduct such an investigation, but he had not been cited as a respondent by the petitioner.

At this point, the petitioner’s counsel, Barrister Masroor Shah, requested the court to allow them to amend the petition and include the interior secretary as a respondent.

The court granted the request, and the interior secretary was added as a respondent. Other respondents include the prime minister, secretary to the PM, IB DG and ISI DG.

The court has asked the interior secretary to respond to the petition.

The petitioner also alleged that he was receiving threatening calls after having filed the petition and requested the court to provide him and his family members with security. Justice Siddiqui then ordered police to deploy reasonable security for the protection of the petitioner and his family.

Further hearings in the matter have been adjourned until Oct 9.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2017