Article by Levina
As per Pakistan’s media Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved the setting up of the National Intelligence Coordination Committee(NICC), a mechanism to coordinate over two dozen intelligence organizations in the country, to be headed by the ISI chief. But the real reason many sources say is Pakistan Army’s fear of rise of rogue elements within intel agencies.
According to official sources, the NICC would serve as a mechanism to coordinate intelligence organizations in the country. National Counter Terrorism Authority would also be part of the new structure.
Ostensibly, NICC was created after Abbottabad Commission’s report had proposed establishment of an agency on the lines of the US Department of Homeland Security to synergise the working of main spy agencies in the country.
But what is worth noting is that Abbottabad commission was set up after Osama bin laden’s killing by American SEAL team in 2011. So why did the decision to create NICC come a decade later?
The reasons are many but here are a few incidents which took place in last 1 year and have put Pakistan Army, the entity which effectively controls Pakistan government, on tenterhooks.
The incidents that lead to NICC formation:
A semi coup d’état attempt– We had reported that General Bajwa, COAS of Pak Army had been facing internal resistance against his extension in November 2019. Extension for COAS came at the cost of jeopardizing careers of at least 25 officers from within the establishment. Bajwa had a tiff with his Corps commanders at GHQ (Rawalpindi) after the announcement was made, which was but expected, as Musharraf’s era is long gone– when officers never dissented. This was followed by a Pakistani Army veteran filing a case against General Bajwa claiming he’s a Quadiani (Ahmadiya), ergo has no right to continue as COAS.
You can read more on this in our article– Proof of ISI’s “coup” against General Bajwa!!!
Many had suspected that elements within ISI were responsible for the coup attempt. This is something that General Bajwa had foreseen and had therefore replaced previous ISI head within 8 months with an ‘average’ officer but very close to chief Bajwa– Lt Gen Faiz Hameed. He took over ISI’s rein in June 21, just 2 months before PM Imran Khan approved for Bajwa’s extension. Albeit, ISI still had many rogue elements who were against Bajwa’s extension, most of them were slowly weeded out after November 2019 either by hanging their promotions in limbo or forcing them into voluntary retirements.
The resentment within the forces was surging and to assuage the anger of officers & soldiers, Pakistan Army asked Rs 64 billion for salary hike of personnel. Mind you, this demand comes from an Army of a cash strapped country like Pakistan. The salary benefit, Bajwa hoped would, whittle down the collective rise of soldiers against him.
Another notable incident from within the Armed forces was the house arrest of few senior officers. The move of Bajwa’s extension was countered by Lt Gen Safraz, who was the senior most officer in service after Gen Bajwa. Him and six other disgruntled senior officers had joined hands with Supreme court Chief justice to block extension of the present chief, Gen Bajwa. You can read more about it here: Pakistani General kept under house arrest, as Army grapples with fear of internal dissent
Azadi March & threatening—A freedom(Azadi) march, from Karachi to Islamabad was held under the leadership of Maulana Fazl on October 28, 2019. But the march fizzled out soon after General Bajwa met the religious leader for a “discussion”. In the meeting General Bajwa had given Maulana Fazl a warning that “ if he (Maulana Fazl) insisted on continuing the protests then a few minuses would be made soon”.
But to Pakistan Army’s nightmare Azadi March was just the beginning—it set the ball rolling for more protests inside the country. Gen Bajwa by now was facing turmoil within his establishment and outside it.
The latest of din has been around the protests against rigging of elections in Gilgit Baltistan. Earlier, in the month of July, we had reported on how Pakistan Announced Elections In Gilgit-Baltistan As Baba Jan And Other Political Leaders Remain Behind The Bars. Baba Jan is the true representative of people of Gilgit-Baltistan. This region is part of India, which is now occupied by Pakistan. Every year in Muzaffarabad which is part of Pakistan occupied Kashmir, there are protests held on October 22, the day when places like Muzaffarabad were attacked by missionaries who were sent by Pakistan army in 1947.
Protests in 2019
Protests in 2020
These are latest pictures emerging from Gilgit Baltistan against rigging of elections by Pakistan Army.
As if the tumultuous internal issues weren’t enough to keep Pakistan Army on it’s toes, the international communities have also begun to shun Pakistan. In the most recent developments its citizens have had to face tougher visa regulations in middle east—a region which till recently had maintained bonhomie with Pakistan.
Adding to Pakistan government’s woes is the fact that Israel has thawed its relations with few middle eastern countries. This forced Pakistan government to reiterate its anti-Israel stance.
Pakistan’s Government & Army have steadily been loosing “fertile ground” to others, and creation of NICC, national intel coordination committee is their avant-garde approach to tide over the rough sea. It would hurt Pakistan Army to have rogue elements and double agents from intel agencies within the country—as they know this drill too well. ISI in the past is known to have cultivated many such double agents in other countries. Ergo, it becomes absolutely essential to take control over intel agencies to prevent any leakage of information from within Pakistan. But will formation of NICC tie all the loose ends? Only time will tell.
Pictures from Gilgit-Baltistan of protests against Pakistan Army
This article is written by Levina