ISI – Pa. Raghavan

A complete insight to the Inter-Services Intelligence agency of Pakistan government has been done in this book.  How ISI was formed post-independence, reason behind it and recruitment procedure makes the starting of the book.  Even though Pakistan was under Army rule more than that of Democracy for many years after its independence, it was being on failure side on all of its 4 attacks against Kashmir.  This was majorly due to lack of co-ordination between intelligence and army.  The domestic intelligence was monitored by Intelligence Bureau (IB) and ISI was majorly involved in issues of Kashmir, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.  But later ISI was given full control to monitor IB and track activities of Pakistani politicians.

ISI was initially trained by CIA of United States of America and continuously backed by them on resources and intelligence front.  ISI tried to unite all the local Kashmiri militant groups and form a big power against Indian government.  But the militant groups differed in their goals like, Lashkars wanted extended Islamic region in world, Hizbul Mujahideen wanted Kashmir to be a part of Pakistan and JKLF (Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front) & Azad Kashmir wanted Kashmir as a separate country.  Because of these differences of groups, ISI failed to unite them and it was major blow to ISI.  But they are being the front-runner in providing military resources and any sort of help to Kashmiri militant groups.  The coastal gundas and goons in Maharastra region were heavily backed by ISI and they were the creators of Dawood Ibrahim.

Also, ISI was the first hand agency to ignite Sikhs agitation on Khalistan movement, which is nothing but making Punjab as a separate country.  During the time of India-Pakistan partition based on religion, some leaders of the Sikh community felt they will get treated as second-grade citizens in both Hindu-based and Muslim-based countries and they were in wish of separate country.  Because of secular face of India, they’ve joined to it, but the Punjab province was treated as Hindi language speaking region by Indian government.  This made some Sikh leaders anger towards India and started agitation against government.  ISI was happy to help these Sikh lions in all means in 1970s.  But when Indian government decided to separate out Himachal Pradesh and Haryana from Punjab province, the agitation was lowered by Punjabi-speaking localities and acted as a failure to ISI.

The interesting part in the book I felt was involvement of ISI to train Taliban students.  Afghanistan (Bhastoon tribes) lads were picked and given training in Kunaar region by ISI in order to help Afghanistan for the 10 year Afghan-Soviet war of 1980s.  War ended with victory to Afghanistan and it was considered one of the best strategical-political win of Pakistan among Muslim-ruling countries.  Because of the intelligence leveraged by ISI, Afghan groups were able to taste the victory with the support of America and Osama Bin Laden (a Saudi millionaire who was not very popular at that time).  After the war, around 10,000 Afghan militants under Mullah Mohammad Omar get trained in Pakistan formed Afghan Mujahideen and felt Muslim people were not following the laws and rituals in order of Kuran.  With the blessings of ISI, they headed towards Kandahaar and then to Kabul and established the infamous Taliban rule.

ISI was at its peak during Ayub Khan and Jiya rule in Pakistan and had full role in influencing the politics and Army leaders.  Benazir Bhutto was not favoring ISI and during her rule, the agency faced lesser power than Intelligence Bureau.  During Musharraf period after September 11 attacks, Pakistan faced severe pressure from America to stop relations with Afghan militants.  It was a tough time for ISI to suppress and evacuate their own Afghan trainees but they did it to some extent.

Particularly I like the humourous language used by the author on descrbing certain events in the book.  Its worth reading it at this high time of Mumbai terror attacks.  For readers it raises serious question on involvement of ISI on this planned scary mission.  I’m one among many Desis who want Indian government to take stringent action against terriorists.


4 comments so far

  1. Senthil Kumaran on

    ISI was trained by USA, Osama was trained by USA. USA seems to be the cause of all trouble.

  2. சாணக்கியன் on

    I came through this book but did not get interest thinking we know about what ISI was all about. But yet from your review it is evident that it has much more info than what I thought. A good review. Thanks.

  3. prabhuh on

    @Senthil, Yes. now USA looks regretting for its action.
    @Sai, Thank you.

  4. Amber on

    It was nice to see your blog.Just Keep Writing!

    Don’t pay for your electricity any longer…
    Instead, the power company will pay YOU!

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