Reflecting the growing disenchantment of the average Pakistani with excessive interference by the military-intelligence establishment PILDAT organized a Roundtable Discussion on the issue.
The roundtable was organized by PILDAT, in association with the Geneva-based organization Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), to share and disseminate best practices, knowledge and experiences on the role of parliamentary committees in oversight of the intelligence sector from established democracies.
During the Roundtable discussions there was consensus on the key point – that “Intelligence Agencies Ought to be made Accountable before Parliament.” In addition a proposal was put forth for a Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Intelligence for oversight of the intelligence agencies which would include members from defense, interior and human rights committees.
The meeting was attended by the chairpersons of the Senate and National Assembly Parliamentary Committees on Defense, Members of Defense Committees, Parliamentarians, and Analysts. In addition there was a select group of eminent parliamentarians, members of the two defense committees, academics, media persons and analysts.
According to the summary report online, most of the participants were in agreement that the country needs to erect a structure of law within which the intelligence agencies are allowed to operate. “There is need for oversight and scrutiny. There is need for oversight in terms of human rights and mechanisms of information gathering within the country. There was general agreement that there is need for better inter-agency coordination between intelligence agencies. Parliamentarians demanded from PILDAT an on-going support forum for Parliamentary committees on the issue, especially on the broad role of committees in oversight of security sector. Specific technical and advisory support is required for committees such as defense, human rights and interior to carry out their oversight role effectively.”