Pak govt places ISI, IB under civilian control; PPP, PML-N welcome move

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Islamabad, July 27 : The Pakistan government has placed the country's two top intelligence agencies - the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB), under civilian control.

According to sources privy to the development, the step has been taken to create harmony and improve co-ordination between civilian authorities and intelligence agencies. They said that improved co-ordination and input from civilian authorities was needed to implement the decisions made by higher authorities in light of the challenges posed by the war against terrorism to the Pakistan government.

A memorandum issued last evening by the Cabinet Division under Rule 3(3) of the Rules of Business, 1973, said that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has approved conferring control of the two agencies' administrative, financial and operational functions to the country's Interior Division with immediate effect, reported the Daily Times.

The Interior Ministry had formally asked the premier, shortly after he took oath of office, to place the IB under its purview. A summary had been subsequently dispatched to the premier requesting the transfer of the IB's administrative control from the Prime Minister's Secretariat to the ministry, added the paper.

As per the order, the Interior Ministry would henceforth have the powers to appoint and transfer all IB officials except its chief, whose appointment would continue to be the prime minister's prerogative.

Meanwhile, a majority of political parties welcomed the Pakistan government's move to place the investigating agencies under the Interior Division's control. PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari said all intelligence agencies should work on one platform in a democracy, prompting the government's move.

Similarly, PML-N Information Secretary Siddiqul Farooq said that his party welcomed the step. Similarly, JI leader Liaqat Baloch and ANP Information Secretary Zahid Khan also termed the decision a step in the right direction.

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