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Deal being questioned even by those who shouldn`t

March 17, 2011

Davis flew out of Pakistan on Wednesday after $2.3 million was paid in blood money to heirs of the two youths he had killed on Jan 27. – File photo

ISLAMABAD: The agreement between ISI and CIA that helped end the stalemate between Pakistan and the United States over American spy Raymond Davis is being increasingly questioned at home — even by the political parties which are believed to have helped arrange the blood money deal.

Davis flew out of Pakistan on Wednesday after $2.3 million was paid in blood money to heirs of the two youths he had killed on Jan 27, but what made this settlement possible through Shariah law were successful negotiations between the two spy agencies which had been at odds because of differences over 'operational matters'.

But no one among the political leadership is sure about what was secured and what was conceded by the two agencies and as one politician put it: “Deals having strategic implications should be shared with parliament. ISI and army can no more enjoy the exclusivity they once had.”

Unlike the past where few questions were asked about secret pacts with the US, including the one on drones, there is this time a growing chorus within the country demanding full disclosure of the new CIA-ISI understanding, which is being broadly defined as “redefinition of the cooperation parameters” or “discussions on the contours of engagement”.

A statement issued by the office of Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan accused the government of a sell-out and said: “Those who took this major step should have the moral courage to accept it and disclose it before the nation.”

However, Pakistani and American sources claim that the PML-N leadership was one of the four architects of the blood money agreement that followed the ISI-CIA rapprochement, even though it now wants to shrug off all responsibility.

Rightwing Jamaat-i-Islami has filed an adjournment motion in the Senate and called for an explanation of roles of the federal and provincial governments, subordinate judiciary and intelligence agencies in the matter.

Talking to reporters, veteran politician Aftab Ahmad Sherpao said Davis's surprise release proved that all matters had been resolved earlier.

“CIA may have secured strategic interests in the dialogue, while ISI could have gained institutional interests, but what did the people of Pakistan gain out of this deal?” another politician asked.

Most of Pakistan-US furtive deals have been hidden in the secretive world of intelligence. The only information available to the public about the ISI-CIA patch-up is that the American spy agency would be more respectful and more transparent in dealings with its Pakistani partner. Besides, it is claimed that the operational space for CIA, which previously enjoyed unbridled freedom, will be cut down.

The Americans have, on their part, successfully avoided a ruling on immunity for the CIA contractor. An adverse ruling could have affected CIA's covert operations worldwide.