Pakistani Agencies

Pakistan Intelligence

Pakistan's foreign policy stance shifted significantly in 1953 when it accepted the United States offer of military and economic assistance in return for membership in an alliance system designed to contain international communism. When the administration of Dwight D. Eisenhower sought a series of alliances in the "Northern Tier"--Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey--and in East Asia, Pakistan became a candidate for membership in each. In 1954 Pakistan signed a Mutual Defense Agreement with the United States and became a member of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). The following year, Pakistan joined Iran, Iraq, and Turkey in the Baghdad Pact, later converted into the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) after Iraq's withdrawal in 1959. Pakistan also leased bases to the United States for intelligence -gathering and communications facilities. Pakistan saw these agreements not as bulwarks against Soviet or Chinese aggression, but as a means to bolster itself against India. During the regime of General Ziaul Haq, CIA provided ISI a large quantity of espionage equipment along with training and other information. Initially Pakistani intelligence was trained along British lines, but subsequently CIA, trained 200 ISI officers in improved intelligence methods. Throughout the years of Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, relations between the United States and Pakistan were best characterized by close cooperation. Still, United States policy makers became increasingly concerned that Zia and his associates appeared to give preferential treatment to the Islamic fundamentalists, especially mujahidin leader Gulbaddin Hikmatyar.

Intelligence Bureau

The three main intelligence agencies in Pakistan are ISI, Military Intelligence [MI] and the Intelligence Bureau [IB]. Each agency has its own specific responsibilities, but all share the common goal of preserving Pakistan's national security. Since any significant domestic or foreign political activity impinges on national security, there has traditionally been considerable overlap in the activities of these three agencies. The ISI and MI have generally focused on matters of immediate military interest, and the IB concentrated on domestic political activities. Prior to the imposition of Martial Law in 1958, the IB reported directly to the Prime Minister and the two military agencies to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army (C-in-C). When martial Law was promulgated in 1958 all the intelligence agencies fell under the direct control of the President and Chief Martial Law Administrator, and the three intelligence agencies began competing to demonstrate their loyalty to Ayub Khan and his government. The Intelligence Bureau monitors politicians, political activists, suspected terrorists, and suspected foreign intelligence agents. The IB keeps tabs on political operatives from countries it considers hostile to Pakistan's interests, and it is responsible for harassing domestic opposition parties. Credible reports indicate that the authorities commonly resort to wiretapping and occasionally intercept and open mail. The Intelligence Bureau is under the Prime Minister's cabinet division. A total of Rs. 25.8 million was spent on the IB in 1976-77. The Intelligence Bureau grew in importance with the re-election of Benazir Bhutto in 1993. One of her most controversial appointments to government posts was that of Masood Sharif as Director General Intelligence Bureau. Sharif was believed to have played an active role in toppling the Shabir Shah government in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). His appointment precipitated a major crisis in the Pakistani state apparatus, because Benazir then began using the IB chief to erode the once all powerful ISI's base. Benazir's attempts to root out the influence of military intelligence in the country's internal affairs mirrored the failed efforts of her father in the 1970s. This was the last straw as far as the military was concerned. In his order dismissing Prime Minister Bhutto on 05 November 1996, President Leghari accused the Government of massive illegal wiretapping, including the telephone conversations of judges, political party leaders, and military and civilian officials. One of the first acts of President Leghari after dismissing Benazir was to imprison Masood Sharif, head of Intelligence Bureau under Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. He was arrested and imprisoned, not on corruption charges but as part of a murder investigation. On 15 December 1996, the caretaker government announced that effective immediately all foreign and domestic mail was to be subject to censorship by the Special Branch and the Intelligence Bureau.

Ehtesab [Accountability] Bureau

The Government has sometimes used the "accountability" process--by which the present Government hopes to expose previous wrongdoing, recoup ill-gotten gains, and restore public confidence in government institutions for political purposes by arresting a number of prominent politicians and bureaucrats connected with the main opposition party. Few of those arrested and questioned have been put on trial. The Accountability Commission established by the caretaker government and headed by a retired judge has been overshadowed by an "accountability cell" headed by a close associate of the Prime Minister. This cell has been accused of conducting politically-motivated investigations of politicians, senior civil servants, and business figures, designed to extract evidence and in some cases, televised confessions of alleged wrongdoers. Some examples of televised confessions included Salman Farooqi, Secretary of Commerce under Benazir Bhutto; Ahmed Sadiq, Benazir Bhutto's principal secretary; and Zafar Iqbal, chairman of the Capital Development Authority. Corruption is prevalent in both public and private sectors in Pakistan. Early in 1997, the government initiated an accountability process aimed at identifying corrupt individuals. An Accountability and Coordination Cell was established in the Prime Ministers Secretariat, tasked with monitoring and coordinating the accountability process. The Federal Investigation Authority (FIA), conducts the investigations on receiving reports of corruption, either through the Accountability and Coordination Cell or directly from the public. After the investigations, the cases are referred to the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner for trial by the Ehtesab courts. However, the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner, Mr Mujaddad Ali Mirza, has complained that the Federal Investigation Authority and the Anti-Corruption Police have failed to cooperate with the Commission. To date, the government has booked over 250 cases of corruption against senior civil servants and bureaucrats working in both the federal and provincial ministries and corporations like WAPDA, OGDC, Pakistan Steel, National Highways Authority, PIA, Railways, etc. The government has suspended 87 officials in its anti­corruption drive including 16 high officials of the Oil and Gas Development Corporation.

Those involved in the corruption charges are prominent politicians, bankers, bureaucrats, members of judiciary (judges and lawyers) and business magnates. Some of them have been dismissed from service, a few arrested, while investigations are under way against some very high officials. The corruption charges include : non-payment of huge loans taken from the nationalized commercial banks and financial institutions, massive financial irregularities, frauds committed in the purchase of project equipment, award of large project and service contracts in violation of the prescribed rules and regulations, selling of state lands on throw away prices, allotment of residential lands to favourites. According to some estimates, 30 percent to 40 percent of the original cost of many projects end up in the pockets of contractors and officials in the shape of kickbacks and commissions. The point which is causing the most concern to common people is the purpose behind setting up a chain of Ehtesab Committees across the country. Even more disconcerting is the move to repeat the follies of the past by reinvesting politicians with a new clout that empower them to nominate their agents of doubtful integrity to a chain of divisional, district and sub-divisional Ehtesab Committees. The choice of the people to be targeted is arbitrary. The Ehtesab Cell starts a media trial of the accused even before their cases are sent to the courts, using the APP and radio and TV for their character assassination while they are yet to be proved guilty. As if this was not enough to discredit the process of accountability, the chief of the Accountability Cell is making deals with various business houses in a way that can only be termed as murky. In order to made the whole process of accountability both even-handed and transparent, the Accountability Cell must not target only the people whom the government has reasons to dislike. Further, the government must fix criteria for making deals with the parties accused of owing money to the state or to the banks. All deals should be open to public scrutiny.

Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI]

The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI] was founded in 1948 by a British army officer, Maj Gen R Cawthome, then Deputy Chief of Staff in Pakistan Army. Field Marshal Ayub Khan, the president of Pakistan in the 1950s, expanded the role of ISI in safeguarding Pakistan's interests, monitoring opposition politicians, and sustaining military rule in Pakistan. The ISI is tasked with collection of foreign and domestic intelligence; co-ordination of intelligence functions of the three military services; surveillance over its cadre, foreigners, the media, politically active segments of Pakistani society, diplomats of other countries accredited to Pakistan and Pakistani diplomats serving outside the country; the interception and monitoring of communications; and the conduct of covert offensive operations. The ISI has become a state within a state, answerable neither to the leadership of the army, nor to the President or the Prime Minister. The result is there has been no real supervision of the ISI, and corruption, narcotics, and big money have all come into play, further complicating the political scenario. Drug money is used by ISI to finance not only the Afghanistan war, but also the proxy war against India in Punjab and Kashmir. The Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee deals with all problems bearing on the military aspects of state security and is charged with integrating and coordinating the three services. Affiliated with the committee are the offices of the engineer in chief, the director general of medical service, the Director of Inter-Services Public Relations, and the Director of Inter-Services Intelligence. Staffed by hundreds of civilian and military officers, and thousands of other workers, the agency's headquarters is located in Islamabad. The ISI reportedly has a total of about 10,000 officers and staff members, a number which does not include informants and assets. It is reportedly organized into between six and eight divisions:

Joint Intelligence X (JIX) serves as the secretariat which co-ordinates and provides administrative support to the other ISI wings and field organisations. It also prepares intelligence estimates and threat assessments.

The Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB), responsible for political intelligence, was the most powerful component of the organisation during the late 1980s. The JIB consists of three subsections, with one subsection devoted to operations against India.

The Joint Counter Intelligence Bureau (JCIB) is responsible for field surveillance of Pakistani diplomats stationed abroad, as well as for conducting intelligence operations in the Middle East, South Asia, China, Afghanistan and the Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union.

Joint Intelligence / North (JIN) is responsible for Jammu and Kashmir operations, including infiltration, exfiltration, propaganda and other clandestine operations.

Joint Intelligence Miscellaneous (JIM) conducts espionage in foreign countries, including offensive intelligence operations.

The Joint Signal Intelligence Bureau (JSIB), which includes Deputy Directors for Wireless, Monitoring and Photos, operates a chain of signals intelligence collection stations along the border with India, and provide communication support to militants operating in Kashmir.

Joint Intelligence Technical: In addition to these main elements, ISI also includes a separate explosives section and a chemical warfare section. Published reports provide contradictory indications as to the relative size of these organizational elements, suggesting that either JIX is the largest, or that the Joint Intelligence Bureau is the largest with some sixty percent of the total staff. The Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) is the ISI's main international financial vehicle.

The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence is of particular importance at the joint services level. The directorate's importance derives from the fact that the agency is charged with managing covert operations outside of Pakistan whether in Afghanistan, Kashmir, or farther afield. The ISI supplies weapons, training, advice and planning assistance to terrorists in Punjab and Kashmir, as well as the separatist movements in the Northeast frontier areas of India. The 1965 war in Kashmir provoked a major crisis in intelligence. When the war started there was a complete collapse of the operations of all the intelligence agencies, which had been largely devoted to domestic investigative work such as tapping telephone conversations and chasing political suspects. The ISI after the commencement of the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war was apparently unable to locate an Indian armoured division due to its preoccupation with political affairs. Ayub Khan set up a committee headed by General Yahya Khan to examine the working of the agencies. The ISI has been deeply involved in domestic politics and, has kept track of the incumbent regime's opponents. Prior to the imposition of Martial Law in 1958, ISI reported to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army (C-in-C). When martial Law was promulgated in 1958 all the intelligence agencies fell under the direct control of the President and Chief Martial Law Administrator, and the three intelligence agencies began competing to demonstrate their loyalty to Ayub Khan and his government. The ISI and the MI became extremely active during the l964 presidential election keeping politicians, particularly the East Pakistanis, under surveillance. The ISI became even more deeply involved in domestic politics under General Yahya Khan, notably in East Pakistan, where operations were mounted to ensure that no political party should get an overall majority in the general election. An amount of Rs 29 lac was expended for this purpose, and attempts were made to infiltrate the inner circles of the Awami League. The operation was a complete disaster.

Mr. Bhutto promoted General Zia-Ul-Haq in part because the Director of ISI, General Gulam Jilani Khan, was actively promoting him. General Zia, in return, retained General Jilani as head of ISI after his scheduled retirement. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto established the Federal Security Force and gave it wide-ranging powers to counter the influence of ISI, but the force was abolished when the military regime of Zia ul-Haq seized power in 1977. When the regime was unpopular with the military and the president (as was Benazir Bhutto's first government), the agency helped topple it by working with opposition political parties. The ISI became much more effective under the leadership of Hameed Gul. The 1990 elections are widely believed to be rigged. The Islami Jamhoori Ittehad [IJI] party was a conglomerate formed of nine mainly rightist parties by the ISI under Lt General Hameed Gul to ensure the defeat of Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) in the polls. Gul denies this, claiming that the ISI's political cell created by Z.A. Bhutto only 'monitored' the elections. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan made Pakistan a country of paramount geostrategic importance. In a matter of days, the United States declared Pakistan a "frontline state" against Soviet aggression and offered to reopen aid and military assistance deliveries. For the remainder of Zia's tenure, the United States generally ignored Pakistan's developing nuclear program. Pakistan's top national security agency, the Army's Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, monitored the activities of and provided advice and support to the mujahidin, and commandos from the Army's Special Services Group helped guide the operations inside Afghanistan. The ISI trained about 83,000 Afghan Mujahideen between 1983 to 1997 and dispatched them to Afghanistan. Pakistan paid a price for its activities. Afghan and Soviet forces conducted raids against mujahidin bases inside Pakistan, and a campaign of terror bombings and sabotage in Pakistan's cities, guided by Afghan intelligence agents, caused hundreds of casualties. In 1987 some 90 percent of the 777 terrorist incidents recorded worldwide took place in Pakistan.

The ISI continued to actively participate in Afghan Civil War, supporting the Talibaan in their fight against the Rabbani government. ISI has been engaged in covertly supporting the Kashmiri Mujahideen in their fight against the Indian authorities in Kashmir. Reportedly "Operation Tupac" was the designation of the three part action plan for the liberation of Kashmir, initiated by President Zia Ul Haq in 1988 after the failure of "Operation Gibraltar." The designation is derived from Tupac Amru, the 18th century prince who led the war of liberation in Uruguay against the Spanish rule. According to a report compiled by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) of India in 1995, ISI spent about Rs 2.4 crore per month to sponsor its activities in Jammu and Kashmir. Although all groups reportedly received arms and training from Pakistan, the pro-Pakistani groups were reputed to be favored by the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence. As of May 1996, at least six major militant organizations, and several smaller ones, operated in Kashmir. Their forces were variously estimated at between 5,000 and 10,000 armed men. They were roughly divided between those who support independence and those who support accession to Pakistan. The oldest and most widely known militant organization, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), spearheaded the movement for an independent Kashmir. Its student wing is the Jammu and Kashmir Students Liberation Front (JKSLF). A large number of other militant organizations have emerged since 1989, some of which also support independence, others of which support Kashmir's accession to Pakistan. The most powerful of the pro-Pakistani groups is the Hezb-ul-Mujahedin. The other major groups are Harakat-ul Ansar, a group which reportedly has a large number of non-Kashmiris in it, Al Umar, Al Barq, Muslim Janbaz Force and Lashkar-e Toiba, which is also made up largely of fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to press reports, several hundred fighters from Afghanistan and other Muslim countries have also joined some of the militant groups or have formed their own. The Harakat ul-Ansar group, a powerful militant organization which first emerged in 1993, is said to be made up largely of non-Kashmiris.

ISI has been reported to operate training camps near the border of Bangladesh where members of separatist groups of the northeastern states, known as the "United Liberation Front Of Seven Sisters" [ULFOSS] are trained with military equipment and terrorist activities. These groups include the National Security Council of Nagaland [NSCN], People's Liberation Army [PLA], United Liberation Front of Assam [ULFA], and North East Students Organization [NESO]. ISI was said to have intensified its activities in the southern Indian States of Hyderabad, Bangalore, Cochin, Kojhikode, Bhatkal, and Gulbarga. In Andhra Pradesh the Ittehadul Musalmeen and the Hijbul Mujahideen are claimed to be involved in subversive activities promoted by ISI. And Koyalapattinam, a village in Tamil Nadu, was said to be the common center of operations of ISI and the Liberation Tigers.

Office of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR)

Officially, the Office of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) closely controls and coordinates release of military news and access to military sources. The press has traditionally avoided negative coverage of the armed forces, and the ISPR has served to hold press coverage of military matters under close restraint. Leaks, while not uncommon, are carefully managed: it is common knowledge that journalists, routinely underpaid, are on the unofficial payrolls of many competing interests, and the military (or elements within it) is presumed to be no exception. Rumours of intimidation, heavy-handed surveillance, and even legal action to quiet the unduly curious or nondeferential reporter are common. The competitive nature of Pakistani politics helps to ensure press freedom, since the media often serve as a forum for political parties, commercial, religious, and various other interests, as well as influential individuals, to compete with and criticize each other publicly. Although the press does not criticize Islam as such, leaders of religious parties and movements are not exempt from the public scrutiny and criticism routinely experienced by their secular counterparts. This pattern of control and restraint has loosened somewhat. Early in 1997 after an election in which corruption in high places was the principal issue the press published charges of corruption and misuse of office against senior navy and air force officers and the navy chief was forced to resign. In the summer, the deaths of several air force cadets while undergoing training prompted newspaper reports of brutal training officers and procedures, and those found responsible were held to public account. Detailed public discussion of the military as an institution is severely hampered since any published discussion, let alone criticism, of the defence budget is proscribed by law. However, late in 1997 this code of silence was undermined when a National Assembly committee, by discussing defence appropriations and corruption in defence contracts in an open session, made possible (and legal) newspaper coverage of the same issues.

In a case followed closely by the press and human rights groups, journalist Humayun Fur, bureau chief of the Urdu daily Mashriq, was arrested by intelligence agency operatives on 28 June 1997 and imprisoned on charges of "anti-State activities." Fur was found guilty by a military court in September and sentenced to 5 years' imprisonment. A handout issued by the Defence Ministry stated that the court convicted Fur of espionage for passing sensitive state secrets to personnel from a "foreign diplomatic mission" in Islamabad (two Indian High Commission staff members were expelled in connection with the case in September). Human rights groups expressed concern that Fur was tried by a military court and urged that he be retried in an open court under civil law. The press reported that Fur was only the second journalist in the country's history to be tried by court martial. Fur was released in October after the chief of army staff remitted the unserved portion of his sentence on humanitarian grounds because of Fur's ill-health.

Military Intelligence

The three main intelligence agencies in Pakistan are ISI, Military Intelligence [MI] and the Intelligence Bureau [IB]. Each agency has its own specific responsibilities, but all share the common goal of preserving Pakistan's national security. Since any significant domestic or foreign political activity impinges on national security, there has traditionally been considerable overlap in the activities of these three agencies. Prior to the imposition of Martial Law in 1958, Military Intelligence reported to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army (C-in-C). When martial Law was promulgated in 1958 all the intelligence agencies fell under the direct control of the President and Chief Martial Law Administrator, and the three intelligence agencies began competing to demonstrate their loyalty to Ayub Khan and his government. The ISI and the MI became extremely active during the l964 presidential election keeping politicians, particularly the East Pakistanis, under surveillance. Military Intelligence activities include operations in Sindh against Indian intelligence operatives. This organization, implicated in arrests of innocent people, monitors the activities of the leaders of political opposition groups.

Special Services Group

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan made Pakistan a country of paramount geostrategic importance. Pakistan's top national security agency, the Army's Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, monitored the activities of and provided advice and support to the mujahidin, and commandos from the Army's Special Services Group helped guide the operations inside Afghanistan.

Federal Investigative Agency

Before independence, the security forces of British India were primarily concerned with the maintenance of law and order but were also called on to perform duties in support of the political interests of the government. The duties of the police officer in a formal sense were those of police the world over: executing orders and warrants; collecting and communicating upward intelligence concerning public order; preventing crime; and detecting, apprehending, and arresting criminals. These duties were specified in Article 23 of the Indian Police Act of 1861, which (together with revisions dating from 1888 and the Police Rules of 1934), is still the basic document for police activity in Pakistan. The overall organization of the police forces remained much the same after partition. Except for centrally administered territories and tribal territories in the north and northwest, basic law and order responsibilities have been carried out by the four provincial governments. The central government has controlled a series of specialized police agencies, including the Federal Investigative Agency, railroad and airport police forces, an anticorruption task force, and various paramilitary organizations such as the Rangers, constabulary forces, and the Frontier Corps. Benazir Bhutto appointed Rehman Malik as chief of the Federal Investigation Agency which then launched a secret war against the Islamists, which amounted to a direct attack on the ISI. The Pakistani military was equally dismayed by reports of FIA contacts with the Israeli secret service, the MOSSAD, to investigate Islamist terrorists. The FIA leadership under Bhutto also angered Islamist elements because they allowed the extradited Ramzi Yousaf to the US for trial on the New York Trade Centre Bombing. One of the first acts of President Leghari after dismissing Benazir Bhutto on 05 November 1996 was to imprison the Ghulam Asghar, head of FIA, suspended on non specified corruption charges, and Rehman Malik, Addl. Director General FIA, was also arrested.

The Federal Investigation Authority conducts the investigations on receiving reports of corruption, either through the P.M.'s Accountability and Coordination Cell or directly from the public. After the investigations, the cases are referred to the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner for trial by the Ehtesab courts. However, the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner, Mr Mujaddad Ali Mirza, has complained that the Federal Investigation Authority and the Anti-Corruption Police have failed to cooperate with the Commission. Police tactics in British India were never gentle, but in contemporary Pakistan, according to the Herald, a magazine published in Karachi, "The police have institutionalized torture to a point where it is viewed as the primary method of crime detention. Police torture has become so commonplace that it has slowly lost the capacity to shock and disgust." These charges were echoed by Amnesty International's especially bleak appraisal of Pakistan's human rights situation in its June 1992 "International News Release" report. The report, reflecting the law and order breakdown in Sindh and the government's reaction to it, stated that government opponents often are harassed, placed under arrest, and detained for unspecified periods of time. Scores of prisoners of conscience have been held for their political activities or religious beliefs. The practice of repeatedly bringing false charges against members of the political opposition is a widely used tactic in Pakistani politics and has been used to arrest thousands of opposition party activists. According to the United States State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1993, there were no significant efforts in 1992 or 1993 to reform either the police or the judicial system, and authorities continued to be lax in their prosecution of abuses in these areas. Pakistani and international human rights organizations have demanded that steps be taken to reverse the trend by bringing torturers to justice and by taking such procedural steps as reducing the time prisoners spend in places of first arrest, where most torture takes place.

Torture is a particularly acute problem in cases in which the suspect is thought to have committed a political crime, but it is not uncommon in serious criminal cases. General police brutality in handling all suspects is routine. Police frequently act without warrants or other proper authorization, and individuals disappear into the criminal justice process for weeks before they can be found and, through writs of habeas corpus, be brought into regular judicial channels. Rape of prisoners, both male and female, is common. Prisoners often die in detention but are reported as killed in the course of armed encounters. Police also are alleged to extort money from families of prisoners under threat of ill treatment. The performance of the police and their failure to act against political groups that run their own torture machinery are especially bad in Sindh, but there is no Pakistani who looks on an encounter with the police with equanimity.

Narcotics Control Division

Prior to April 1989, narcotics matters were dealt in the Ministry of Interior, and the Pakistan Narcotics Control Board (PNCB), the field organization, was an attached department of the Ministry. As the complexity of narcotics problem had grown globally, and the drug abuse had proliferated in Pakistan. Narcotics Control Division was set up in April, 1989. The Anti Narcotics Task Force (ANTF) and the PNCB are the law enforcement arms of the narcotics Control Division. The PNCB was set up in 1973. This Department essentially performs the coordinating, controlling and supervisory functions. The ANTF is newly set up Force under the Narcotics Control Division. The functions of this Force are to inquire into and investigate all offences relating to, or connected with preparation, production, transportation, trafficking or smuggling of intoxicants, narcotics and chemical precursors or reagent used in the manufacture of narcotics or dangerous drugs or assets there from or any offence committed in the course of the same transaction under any law for the time being in force, including any attempt or conspiracy to commit, or any abutment of any such offence. The presence of two law enforcement agencies with almost the same functions, under the Narcotics Control Division, necessitated their reorganization so that the resources and manpower of these two organizations could be jointly put to use for more effective narcotics law enforcement. The Government has since placed these two organizations under the command of the Directorate General of ANTF. Institutional changes have also been made at the highest level. A Policy Review Board has been set up under the chairmanship of the Minister for Narcotics Control with Provincial Ministers of Home and Health Departments as its members to meet twice a year and review the implementation of Government's policy in all areas of narcotics control. Under this arrangement the narcotics issues will remain under continuous review and evaluation of the political leaders. In addition, a Narcotics Interdiction Committee comprising heads of Federal and Provincial Law Enforcement Agencies has been set up to meet periodically and review and evaluate the narcotics interdiction measures and performance of the agencies concerned in this regard.

Laws and Regulations

The British colonial constitutional provisions and penal codes gave the authorities ample scope for overriding regular legal procedures in the case of persons suspected of political agitation or threats to the public order. These provisions and codes were perpetuated and strengthened in Pakistan. The Security of Pakistan Act empowers authorities to move against any person "acting in a manner prejudicial to the defence, external affairs and security of Pakistan or the maintenance of public order." Under the act, persons may be detained, their business activities, employment, or movements may be restricted, and they may be required to report regularly to a magistrate. Article 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure allows the government to act preventively if it perceives the danger of public disorder. A magistrate may prohibit meetings of five or more persons, forbid the carrying of firearms, and impose "preventive detention" on anybody thought likely to disturb public order. Although a detainee is entitled to be informed of the reason for his detention and to a fair review of the case, these restrictions are in practice easy to circumvent, and the constitution specifically denies such detainees procedural guarantees. The government, especially in periods of martial law, has used Section 144 frequently when feeling its position could be threatened by demonstrations and public opposition to its policies; Section 144's provisions have also been used, however, to contain disorder that is not political. In 1991 Pakistan adopted the Terrorist Affected Areas (Special Courts) Ordinance, which extends the authority of Speedy Trial Courts and gives the police expanded powers to use weapons. The Maintenance of Public Order Act allows detention without trial for three months, extendable to twelve months in some cases. This act has been used to silence political opponents of the government. The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have a separate legal system, the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), which recognizes the doctrine of collective responsibility. Authorities are empowered to detain the fellow members of a fugitive's tribe, or to blockade the fugitive's village, pending his surrender or punishment by his own tribe in accordance with local tradition.

Although persons accused of crimes are entitled to bail, there have been a number of restrictions placed on this right in cases involving alleged threats to national security. In late 1992, the law requiring automatic bail for anyone in jail for two years who had not yet been convicted was rescinded, and the high courts were prohibited from hearing bail applications from persons facing trial in the special courts set up in 1975 to try terrorists. A Pakistani jurist commented: "The government can now arrest anyone, call him a terrorist, and keep him in prison indefinitely." In order to check the trafficking of narcotic drugs which has assumed alarming proportion in the recent years, it was considered necessary to award exemplary punishment to the criminals involved in offences relating to trafficking in, or financing the trafficking of heroin or cocaine or opium or coca leaf, or their import into Pakistan, export from Pakistan, import or export inter-provincially etc. Resultantly, Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act, 1994 was passed by the Parliament which provides for forfeiture of assets of the accused sentenced to imprisonment for a term of two years or more. It also provides for death penalty for the offences relating to inter-provincial transport, import into, or export from Pakistan of narcotic and trafficking or financing the trafficking of narcotics. Prohibition (Enforcement of Hadd) (Amendment) Act, 1994 was passed by the Parliament to remove a legal lacuna in the law arising out of the use of word "raw" before the word "opium" used in the statute. The word "opium" and not the words "raw opium" has been defined in the law. Due to this lacuna in the law, the courts had found it difficult to award proper punishment to the accused in such cases.

The Special Services Group (SSG)
Pakistan's most Elite and well-armed force, the Special Services Group (Commando Group) works under the guidance of Pak-Army. Its group combining high level training and expertise. The SSG was formed ten years after the independence. Its main objective is to work where the regular army is not considered suitable to accomplish the Op as well as being assigned special tasks and covert ops. This may include high crisis situations on the National border to Hostage Rescue operations in country capitals, the SSG is trained to handle sorts of situations. The recruitment procedure for the group is to test the candidates from all three regular forces (Army, Navy, Air Force) whom are recommended by the Chiefs of the force. Those who pass the initial test are sent to the group's HQ, based in a remote area of the northern side of the country for extensive training, the course is one year long. The recruitment standards are extremely tough to pass. The course combines specializations in assault, sniping, survival, demolitions, grenade throwing, rappelling, MG firing, FIBUA (Fighting In Built Up Areas), CQB (Close Quarter Battle), Para-jumping, stealth and espionage, marine courses, physical and psychological training as well as criminal psychology courses and many other courses. After the course, the passed candidates have the choice to go and join their initial forces or remain in the SSG. The SSG has really well equipped itself with the latest and most advanced weapons. It has a wide arsenal in its use to suit its needs. It includes the famed Heckler and Koch 9mm MP5 SMG, Heckler and Koch 7.62 x 51mm Gewher-3 (G3, a.k.a. HK91 in USA) assault rifle, China made Type- 56 7.62 x 39mm autos (Chinese version of Russian AK47), the new Steyr's 5.56mm NATO A.U.G assault rifle. In their Sniper weapons, they use scoped up G3s, Finnish Tikka bolt actions, as well as Steyr SSG 69 7.62 x 51mm (.308 win) bolt actions. The pistols in use are Austrian 9mm Glock 15, the Berretta M9 (M92F), the SIG Pro 226. The latest Fabrique Nationale Herstal's (FN-Herstal) 5.7x28mm P90 SMG is also reserved for very high-risk applications. The high standard of training has won the SSG titles such as Crème de La Crème (Best of the Best). The main strike team is called the "Zarrar Jareeh" company, (Zarrar Jareeh means "Seek and Destroy") It works on the motto: Ambush, Engage and Destroy (or Let the regular army destroy their target) Another strike team is called Iqbal Buland (Meaning "Highly Praised")

The SSG was used in border situations and covert operations mostly, until 1985, when a PAN AM airliner was hi-jacked by anonymous terrorists. They were four in number, clad in ASF (Airport Security Force), beneath their cloths they were able to conceal Russian AKSU SMGs (7.62 x 39mm a.k.a. .30-.30 calibre) and TT33 30 bore pistols. Fortunately, an airhostess had discovered the fact, it was a really critical situation as all the passengers had boarded the plane along with the hijackers, and the pilot was preparing for take-off, the airhostess on discovering the fact rushed to the cockpit and reported to the pilot. The crew considered it wise to leave the plane unnoticed through the emergency hatch in the cockpit, hence disabling the plane from taking-off. News reached the ASF chief who reported the matter to the government and army. All this took place within an hour or so. When the hijackers discovered that the crew had deserted the plane, they fell in minor flux, as their plan seemed to have backfired. Soon, government officials who offered to negotiate the matter contacted them but the hijackers seemed very unproductive in that matter, and also threatened to shoot the passengers if they were not allowed to leave unharmed. The SSG was put on stand-by. During that time the government discussed the situation then the commander of the SSG, the Late Brig Tariq Mahmood (K.I.A. Also awarded ARMY'S MEDAL FOR BRAVERY) was given a go signal to execute the plan which was to breech and kill all the resistance in the plane. After that, at nighttime the SSGs operatives took action, they were armed with HK MP5 SMGs, Heckler and Koch's P7 9mm semiautomatic pistols as well AK47s (7.62 x 39mm a.k.a. 30-30) and Heckler and Koch G3 (7.62 x 51mm). They wore black uniforms and light body armor. They entered the plane by banging down the doors of the plane, the hijackers who were expecting an operation, resisted and opened fire on the commandos. Unfortunately, the passengers were not prepared for the fire and fell in disorder when the lights of the plane were shut down, so suddenly. SSG on the other hand was not accustomed to such situations and also had to open fire. Due to which many passengers were caught in the deadly firefight of lethal automatic weapons and heavy casualties took place. Although all the terrorists were killed and the coup ended, but not without 10+ innocent casualties. The SSG was not much commended the operation was called a failure. The case quietly sat down. It was suggested that the cause for the failure of the operation was the use of inappropriate weapons and tactics. The SSG was not yet trained to handle CQBs (Close Quarter Battles) at that time.

The Second Test
During the recent years, the Special Services Group has re-amped itself, acquiring more extensive training, especially in the tactics of CQB (close quarter Battle) advanced equipment and preparing itself for any such situation. The second test eventually came after nine years…in 1994, Islamabad. It was a normal day in the National Capital, when the news of the kidnapping of a school bus carrying more than 35 primary school children, all of whom were below 12 years of age, as well as two teachers and a driver. Authorities immediately fell in stress and pressure about how to stop this chaotic situation. Not only were the Government worried about the lives of the children, they were also trying to figure out a way handle the mediocrity. It was learned that the kidnappers were 6 Afghan militants, their motif was to get the Pakistani government to accept some of their extremely inexhorbitant demands that included giving them military assets along with fighter jets in the Pak-Airforce. The news played hell with the parents of the children, who were on the verge on going hysterical. Parents and media both stormed the offices of the authorities, trying to find out what steps were being taken to end the situation. The government fell a very tricky and difficult situation as the terrorists pressurized them at the same time. They indicated the terrorists that their demands were under consideration and the government will need a little time to fulfil their demands. The terrorists replied by saying that they will be allotted 72 hours before any "unpleasant event occurs". Then they asked for food for themselves and the hostages, which they were immediately given. Internally the government had decided to no to give in their demands, and they were planning to take the terrorists down. Many tactical and intelligence teams were called to the operation. Including ISI and SSG, it was decided that there should be a way of contact with the inside world. The terrorists had drawn the curtains of the place so there was virtually no contact inside. It was figured out that the terrorists might be convinced to let an ill child hostage and a teacher walk out of the house and receive medical treatment then they will be returned to the terrorists. That was made their key to the inside world, the two hostages were allowed free. They reported that the hostages were held in separate rooms, guarded by armed terrorists, the terrorists were armed with Kalashinkov assault rifles and pistols, they were wearing typical Afghan dress and army boots and MAY have body armour. During all that time they were supplied with food and water. 

Day one had passed, the next day the hostages were contacted and told that an operation would be carried out at sunset time and it will be aimed to kill all the terrorists on the spot, therefore the hostages had to be prepared for the sudden outbreak of the breach. The hostages had to shift themselves on the floor or under any furniture just 1 minute before the showdown. Any confusion or carelessness could result in severe casualties. The news quietly spread between the hostages during mealtime. The next day, at the given time the hostages moved to the appropriate locations. The terrorists were really very attentive now; they had their guns ready at all time, and seemed very less hesitant towards taking the lives of the hostages. It was also discovered later that they wore masked that covered their one eye so that they would only have point and fire without worrying to aim. Then after one minute, a volley of gas and smoke grenades was fired through the house's windows and into the rooms. After an interval of 3 or 4 seconds SSG's commandos of the "Zarrar Jareeh" began entering through windows and doors, they were armed with MP5 sub-Machine guns, and Laser trained Glock and Beretta pistols. They were wearing camouflage dress, kevlar vests, and Gas masks, and spare gas grenades. The terrorists were not ready for the attack, but they blindly returned fire, putting lives of the hostages at risk. It was difficult for them to see through the smoke and gas fumes irritated their eyes. Thankfully, no hostages went hysterical by the heavy the gunfire that rocked the whole neighborhood. By the first 40 seconds 2 terrorists lay dead, they were accurately chest and head shot through the deadly MP5 9mm bursts. The rest of the four terrorists also fell victims of the commandos' bullets within the next 1 minute! The commandos worked like greased lightening, they stormed the whole house with their guns on the ready, and every terrorist that fell in their way. One terrorist tried to shoot the hostages, just as he was about to execute one of them, two SSG-ians entered the room and pumped him full of lead. It was a really close call, were they late of a second, there might have casualties. The breech ended within 2 minutes, all terrorists lying dead, all hostages rescued, with no casualties. The Afghan government denied any responsibility of the militants. The parents of the children commended the government and SSG especially for carrying out such a successful operation. IT was therefore proved that what happened in 1985, may not necessarily have to happen again


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