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View of a Senate session underway. – File photo by APP
View of a Senate session underway. — File photo by APP

ISLAMABAD: Defence Secretary Lt-Gen (retd) Asif Yasin Malik on Monday said that the political cell of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had been disbanded five years ago and since then no such cell had operated within the ISI, DawnNews reported.

During a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Defence and Defence Production, Malik said no political cell was operating in the ISI at present.

The defence secretary moreover said that the US had conducted drone attacks from the Shamsi base while it was in its use, adding that, the attacks were carried out with the government’s approval.

The base had been sub-leased to the US by the UAE on Oct 20, 2011 with the approval of then military ruler Pervez Musharraf. It was vacated by the US on Dec 11, 2011.

The defence secretary also presented before the committee the details of the defence budget for the current fiscal year.

He told the committee that the defence budget for the current fiscal year was Rupees 545 billion — out of which, Rupees 264 billion had been allocated to the army, Rupees 114 billion to the air force, Rupees 52 billion to the navy and Rupees 92 billion to the ISI, the joint staff headquarter, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) and defence production.

The defence secretary further said that regular audits were conducted in all defence-related institutions, including the ISI.

Malik said the United States had paid Pakistan Rupees 12 billion since 9/11, adding that, it had not made any payments to Pakistan over its use of the Shamsi air base.

He said drone attacks were being carried out from the base with the government’s approval.

Malik said since the resumption of Nato supplies from Pakistan to Afghanistan, the US had resumed military aid to Pakistan.