Islamabad, Feb 13: Pakistan Army has said that it had no plans to withdraw its officers working in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), contrary to the policy it had adopted for other civilian departments.
"Who will work there if we call them (our people) back from the ISI," ISPR Director-General Major-General Athar Abbas said. Although, the Prime Minister heads the ISI, Major-General Abbas maintained that the Army"s presence in the agency was required to keep it working. Abbas said in addition to the army, the ISI also had officers from other forces like navy and air force, besides civilians. He said there was a big difference between the nature of engagement of the army in civilian departments other than the ISI.
Those working in different departments go on secondment whereas the army officers and personnel discharging duties in the ISI are posted there through routine posting and transfer system, Abbas added. The News quoted Abbas as saying that the Army Chief General Ashfaq Kiyani has taken a number of steps to de-politicise the army by pulling many officers back to barracks.
The first order he issued in this regard was to direct his officers against holding meetings with politicians without seeking his prior approval, he added.
According to a reliable source, General Kiyani"s order in this regard was in the backdrop of a meeting of a Lieutenant General with a top government functionary in Lahore.
It has been learnt that General Kiyani not only sought an explanation from the said senior army officer, but also made it a policy decision to discourage this practice in future.
General Kiyani"s step in this regard is aimed at restoring the army"s image that has suffered in the recent past.