Islamabad, July 31 : If Interior Adviser Rehman Malik's yesterday's statement that 'heads would roll in the aftermath of the ISI drama' is to be given credence, the Pakistan establishment will be looking for the official, from among the secretaries working with the federal government, who was really behind the move. After Malik's declaration, the babus in Islamabad are keeping their fingers crossed, while closely watching who would be made the scapegoat for the ISI U-turn.
Informed circles say that all these secretaries acted only after they were directed by their political bosses to do so. The actual order came from PPP Co-chairman Asif Zardari.
If Malik was to find out scapegoats and roll their heads, the easy prey could be "either the interior secretary, cabinet secretaries or the principal secretary", or all of them who were actually involved in preparing the order that had to be withdrawn within a few hours of its issuance, The News quoted an unidentified Pakistan government official as saying.
According to the paper, who amongst the secretaries of cabinet, interior, defence and principal secretary to the prime minister, will be made a scapegoat for the blunder of shifting the intelligence agency under the interior ministry's control is to be seen in near future.
"Apart from the involvement of the ministries of interior, defence and cabinet, the Joint Services Headquarters (JSH) was also required to be consulted over the move to transfer the ISI's control to the interior ministry," said the official.
He said that the views of the defence ministry and the JSH would have been known had they been forwarded a proper summary. In this specific case, he said, the proposal was to be prepared by the interior ministry under the directions of the prime minister or the adviser according to the rules of business. It was required to be sent to the defence ministry from where it was supposed to go to the JSH. Then, it was to land in the Cabinet Division for the approval of the federal cabinet or the prime minister.
The official said that bypassing this route, the prime minister had the authority to order the Cabinet Division to prepare a case for his approval if there was an urgency to implement a decision. He may himself approve it or place it before the cabinet for its sanction.
The prime minister often conveys his orders to different ministries through his principal secretary, but at times he himself phones the secretaries and calls them to his office to do certain official things.
What was haphazardly followed in the case was that the Cabinet Division notified the change of control of the ISI in consultation with or at the behest of the interior ministry, meaning Rehman Malik or Syed Kamal Shah, throwing aside the other necessary channels. The defence paraphernalia was not taken on board.