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ISI Head Won't Go To India

I see that Pakistan has reneged on a public promise made only yesterday to send the head of its ISI intelligence agency to India. With Pakistan off


I see that Pakistan has reneged on a public promise made only yesterday to send the head of its ISI intelligence agency to India.

With Pakistan offering to help identify and apprehend those responsible, Gilani's office said the head of the Inter Services Intelligence agency would go to India at the request of India's prime minister, Manmohan Singh.

However, Pakistani officials said on Saturday that the decision had been changed and that a lower-ranking intelligence official would travel instead.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari blamed the about-face on a "miscommunication" with India. He said Singh had asked only that a "director" of the agency — not the chief — go to India to share intelligence.

However, the revision followed sharp criticism from some Pakistani opposition politicians and a cool response from the army, which controls the agency.

This is the third promise involving civilian control of the ISI which has been turned back by the military in recent months. Indeed, the only promise we don't know for a fact to have been unfulfilled is one made just before the Mumbai attacks that the ISI's political department, the one analysts feel was most heavily involved in using terror groups as proxies, was being disbanded. It would be naive to think the military and the agency intend to keep that one either. In fact, it would be ravingly naive to think that support for using terror groups as proxies was confined to "rogue elements" within the ISI and military. That's the story American officials seem to want to stick to but I continue to believe that the Pakistani military are really in charge in that nation and using the civilian democratic government as a convenient front to deflect the West, which wouldn't have accepted another military dictator easily.

However, there are still good reasons to question the other story that they want to stick to as well, the one involving India's finger-pointing at Pakistan as the prime mover behind the Mumbai attacks.

Crossposted from Newshoggers.

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