Leaks Galore


Saulat Mirza’s alleged death-cell confession has sparked innumerable questions, not only about his sensational allegations, but about how the video was recorded from a jail cell, and how it managed to make its way into the hands of private TV stations. It is believed by many to be part of an attempt to pressurize MQM leaders. Unfortunately, we will never know the answer since the committee formed to answer these questions was suddenly dissolved with no explanation.

Now there is also the leaked recording of an alleged private phone call between Imran Khan and Arif Alvi discussing attack on PTV. Some are claiming that the recording is actually spliced together from different conversations, but as Arif Alvi himself noted on Twitter, the fact is that ‘somebody’ is recording and leaking private phone calls.

Arif Alvi may not want to make any accusations about ‘who’ would be recording his phone calls, but it is not a long list who has the ability to do this. Many believe that intelligence agencies have been recording and documenting everything under the sun in order to blackmail since long. Even the judiciary has allegedly felt the sting of these ‘dirty tricks’ such as when agencies allegedly blackmailed Supreme Court Justices with secret sex tapes during Gen Musharraf regime.

It’s not just secret recordings that are seeing the light of day, either. Earlier this year, an ISI report on extremist ties of Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz was leaked.

ISI report abdul aziz

This one may have been leaked in order to pressurize Lal Masjid, but the problem is that leaks are hard to contain. Abbottabad Commission report which noted that “connivance, collaboration and cooperation at some levels cannot be entirely discounted” was leaked to at the embarrassment of intelligence agencies. Even documents allegedly exposing intelligence agencies secret support for Taliban have even surfaced including this letter from a Taliban commander to Military Intelligence about aiding Taliban supply routes across the border into Afghanistan.

Taliban letter to Pakistan MI


Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
South West Zone (Helmand province)
Date: May 28, 2008

Respected Brother Janab Usman sahab
Director, Military Intelligence
Assalam-o-Alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa Barkatuhu
Two vehicles which are laden with goods for the Taliban mujahideen brothers are entering Afghanistan through Naushki and Dalbandin. Hope you will secure passage for these two vehicles:
Number plate – Karachi CK 8091
Number plate – Karachi CH 9316
I have sent my representative Mullah Musa. Hope that you will provide assistance.

Mullah Abdur Raheem
Governor, Helmand

Actually, it is not the leaks that are the real problem, it is what these leaks, both the allegedly ‘authorised’ ones and the more embarrassing ones, reveal about agencies activities. As Pakistan faces a serious and existential threat from terrorism, the appearance from alleged leaks is that agencies are more busy playing games than actually securing the country.

Can Gen Raheel Rise To The Challenge?

Lt Gen Raheel SharifNawaz Sharif has promoted Lt Gen Raheel Sharif to Chief of Army Staff, but there are reasons to worry that a change of names is not likely to bring a change of direction for the military. To put Pakistan on the right track, Gen Raheel is going to have to overcome some big challenges.

Gen Raheel is being lauded as a ‘moderate’ who believes TTP is ‘as big a threat as India‘. This is meant to sound reassuring, that the new Army chief’s priorities are in tune with the actual threats the country faces. But it also means that Gen Raheel sees India, which has not attacked Pakistan, as an equal threat to the TTP which has killed thousands and thousands of innocent Pakistanis and launched multiple attacks against Pak military bases. Before being promoted to COAS, Gen Raheel was focused on developing new responses to India’s ‘cold start’ doctrine. While TTP is threatening more attacks, we are getting another Army chief whose focus has always been India.

Gen Raheel takes over command of the military at a time when Pakistan is not only facing constant attacks by TTP militants, but is likely to lose a significant amount of military support as the Americans are preparing to leave Afghanistan. Gen Raheel has a choice: He can continue the India-centric policies supported by his predecessors, or he can reorient national security policy against the enemies that present actual, not ‘ideological’ threats to the nation. Only the future will tell if he can rise to the challenge.