Lahore [Pakistan], September 17 : Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who is the appointing authority of all intelligence chiefs, has approved the proposal for apponting more civilians in the senior hierarchy in the Pakistan's powerful spy agency - Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
The number of directors general (DGs), the highest civilian post in the Pakistan's spy agency ISI has been increased from one to four. Previously, there was only one civilian DG post in the intelligence agency.

According to the office order issued by the PM Office on September 15, "the prime minister has seen and is pleased to approve the proposal at para 5 read with the views of Establishment Division. and of the Finance Division."

The office order titled: "Revised establishment - Defence Intelligence Service (DIS) Cadre Of Directorate General ISI" was signed by the Prime Minister's Secretary, Fawad Hassan Fawad, and was circulated to the Establishment Division Secretary, Mian Asad Hayauddin, the finance ministry and the defence secretary.

The post of civilian DG in the ISI is a grade 21 position, equivalent to a serving major general of the armed forces. Prime Minister Abbasi approved the summary sent to the PM Office by the Defence Ministry, proposing four civilian DGs in the ISI, the Dawn reported.

In addition, the prime minister has also enhanced the number of deputy directors general (DDGs) from eight to 15. The same summary recommended the creation of seven additional DDG posts for civilian officers in grade 20.

The Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet and Establishment Division, Raja Javed Ikhlas, termed the order "a routine matter".

An official of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that since the prime minister was the competent authority, as the ISI worked under the PM Secretariat, it was his prerogative to increase the sanctioned posts in the agency.

Formed in 1948 as an independent unit to strengthen the country's intelligence network, the ISI was formerly a part of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), which handled intelligence-sharing between different branches of the military, as well as external intelligence gathering.

Its headquarters were initially located in Rawalpindi, but were later moved to Islamabad.

In 1950, the ISI was officially given the task of safeguarding Pakistani interests and national security, inside and outside the country.

This is not the first time that Pakistan's ISI is being re-organised earlier during the Soviet-Afghan war, the ISI was strengthened and re-organised, with a handful of posts being created for civilians from the Defence Intelligence Services (DIS) cadre.

According to a former ISI official, it was in 2005 when retired Gen. Pervez Musharraf approved the posting of a civilian as DG ISI in grade 21 for the first time.

The process for the promotion of civilian ISI officers was slow, since there was only one DG slot, he said.

(Posted on 17 September 2017, 1685480736 18O232O31O255)