Pakistan faces calls to curb its pro-Islamist intelligence service

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London/Islamabad, Dec.2 : The political spotlight is now on Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in the wake of the Mumbai massacre.

According to a report in The Independent, Pakistan's recently elected civilian government has very limited room for manoeuvre as far dealing with the ISI is concerned.

The agency not only has the political and military clout to keep scrutiny at bay, but also possesses enough revenues to support its activities both within the country and outside.

Last week the Pakistani government announced that it had taken major steps towards reforming the ISI by shutting down its political unit. Analysts, however, point out that the move would have little practical effect.

The staff from the political unit have not been dismissed but absorbed within the organisation and would carry on their work under another guise. Even if the ban worked, it would not, it is claimed, curtail the organisation's close links with Islamist extremists.

The Pakistani government and military insists that Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, who took over as the ISI's head, with its staff of 10,400 and tens of thousands of informers, will oversee changes that would make it more accountable. There is, however, little sign of this at the moment.

ANI

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