Toronto, July 30 : A former Pentagon analyst John McCreary has reportedly said the recent drama of first putting the ISI under the control of Pakistan Prime Minister and then reversing the decision to put it back under Interior Ministry's purview, had "humiliated the Pakistan prime minister".
By putting ISI back under interior ministry's control, President Pervez Musharraf and the armed forces humiliated the prime minister, he said.
"The President of Pakistan, the armed forces and intelligence services have conspired to humiliate him [Gilani] and have exposed that they control national security policy in Pakistan, not the elected government and certainly not the Prime Minister," The Globe and Mail quoted him as saying.
According to the paper, the Opposition parties in Pakistan have also described the recent U-turn as a "coup against the prime minister" (Yousuf Raza Gilani).
It said that as Gilani sought to present an image as the head of a freely elected government in a budding democracy, a drama back at home cruelly laid bare the limits of his power. "As he left for Washington over the weekend, Gilani had issued a surprise order that placed Pakistan's notorious Inter-Service Intelligence agency under firm civilian control, by handing command of it to the Interior Ministry", it added.
The military, however, refused to accept the change, as did President Pervez Musharraf, a former army chief, and the order had to be reversed within hours, added the report.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been openly accusing the ISI of supporting the Taliban, and the agency is considered the key instrument of Pakistani foreign policy. It is believed that in private, Washington has voiced similar concerns about the ISI while in public US officials have repeatedly called for Pakistan to end safe havens for militants in its tribal territory. Gilani's original announcement on the ISI was aimed at garnering favour on his US trip, analysts said, and some believe that it was carried out under US pressure.
"There is a suspicion that this was done in cahoots with the Americans. America's view is that the army and the ISI in particular are not playing with a straight bat," the report quoted editor of Pakistan's Daily Times Najam Sethi, as saying.
The ISI in theory comes under the command of the prime minister but in practice it works for the Army and is largely staffed by serving army personnel. While Pakistan is officially an important US ally in the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, its military establishment sees the Karzai government as dangerously close to Pakistan's traditional enemy, India, and the ISI has been expert, over decades, at using Islamic extremists to fight its proxy wars.