Intelligence officers told to stay away from political activities | The Express Tribune



The country’s spymaster has issued strict orders to his commanders from top to the lowest tier and other officials to stay away from any activity involving politics and politicians following policy directives from the chief of army staff.

The spy chief personally issued the instructions to his subordinates, sources told The Express Tribune. “They have been told in the strictest terms to stay away from politics and avoid any such activity,” the sources added. 

The spymaster further said that there would be zero-tolerance for violations and any intelligence official found violating the directives would have no place in the premier agency.

The development came a day after a local English-language daily reported that army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has directed his top commanders and key officers – including those from the Inter-Services Intelligence – to stay away from politics in an effort to offset a smear campaign against the military.

Read more: Uproar in ruling coalition over ISI’s special powers

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has been leading a vicious campaign against the security establishment since the toppling of its government in April this year through a vote of no-confidence. However, Imran Khan claims it was a conspiracy orchestrated and bankrolled by the United States.

Khan himself and his party blamed the military and have mounted a vociferous campaign – especially on social media – to directly point the accusatory finger at some senior officials.

The party has now started peddling the narrative that the security establishment has been engaged in “political engineering” in an effort to manipulate the upcoming by-elections in favour of the PML-N and its coalition partners.

Senior PTI leader Yasmin Rashid alleged at a recent presser, without providing any evidence to date, that the ISI sector commander was involved in political manipulation against the PTI. “If you claim to be neutral, then you better stay neutral,” said Yasmin, who was health minister in the previous Punjab cabinet.

Also read: Pakistan’s political construct, military and the way forward

While Yasmin has been direct and blunt, the PTI’s chairman and vice chairmen have used euphemism to allege what their party colleagues have been saying.

While Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that he was defeated in Punjab Assembly Elections through a conspiracy inside Party politics. Had I been the chief minister Punjab would not have been in such state of affairs, Qureshi said during campaign for his son’s election.

The upcoming by-elections in Punjab are crucial because whichever party wins more seats will form the government as the Supreme Court has already ordered that the provincial assembly elect a new chief minister on July 22 after the by-polls because the PTI claims Hamza Shehbaz doesn’t command the majority.


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