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Pakistan puts on hold controversial order on ISI

August 06, 2008 12:46 IST

Pakistan government has put on hold an order to bring the powerful ISI under the control of the interior ministry that had raised hackles of the President and the military, saying further deliberations are needed on "coordinating intelligence efforts".

The government had on July 26 issued the order that placed the ISI and Intelligence Bureau under the interior ministry, apparently aimed at clipping the agency's wings.

But under pressure from the army and President Pervez Musharraf [Images], a clarification was issued within 24 hours that the ISI would continue reporting to the Prime Minister.

However, the earlier order was not formally withdrawn.

"The Prime Minister is pleased to direct that the federal government will carry out further deliberations on coordinating intelligence efforts," the government said in a notification issued late last night after a meeting between Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani [Images] and ruling Pakistan People's Party Chairman Asif Ali Zardari.

It said the Cabinet Division's order placing the ISI and IB under the interior ministry would be "held in abeyance" till "the completion of these deliberations".

Sources said a new order is expected to be issued after the completion of the discussions between Gilani and Zardari on improving the gathering of intelligence related to internal security and the war on terror.

Islamabad [Images] is under pressure to rein in ISI after India and Afghanistan accused it of masterminding the suicide bombing on the Indian embassy in Kabul that killed nearly 60 people and the US too ratcheted up pressure to rein in the spy agency which, it said, was helping militants. 

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