ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday visited the headquarters of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the country’s premier spy agency, and received a detailed briefing on “various strategic, intelligence and national security matters”.

According to an official handout issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the prime minister was received at the ISI headquarters by Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI Director General Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar.

The prime minister laid a wreath at the Yadgar-i-Shuhada and offered Fateha.

Imran praises performance of spy agency

The handout said the prime minister lauded contributions of the ISI towards national security, especially in the ongoing counterterrorism effort, saying that “ISI is our first line of defence and stands out as best intelligence agency of the world”.

Prime Minister Khan said the government and people of Pakistan firmly stood behind their armed forces and intelligence agencies and greatly acknowledged the unprecedented achievements of these institutions.

Later, the government through federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry also issued a statement about the visit, stating the army chief and the ISI head had given an eight-hour-long briefing to the prime minister and the cabinet members who accompanied him.

Mr Chaudhry said Mr Khan presided over the meeting in which he and his cabinet colleagues were briefed about the “internal and external challenges” being faced by the country.

The prime minister was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi, almost the same team which had visited the army’s General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi with the prime minister on Aug 30.

During the visit to the GHQ, Army Chief Gen Bajwa had thanked Prime Minister Khan for “reposing confidence” in the army.

The visit had been announced by the ISPR through a tweet, saying: “Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived to visit GHQ. Received on arrival by COAS. PM being briefed on defence, internal security and other professional matters.”

The civilian leadership was briefed on the security environment, threat spectrum and response, counterterrorism operations, the situation in Karachi and the Khushal Balochistan programme during their eight-hour-long stay at the GHQ, according to sources.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2018