Asking agencies to probe into horse-trading.

Former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, sarcastically urged the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo-moto notice against alleged horse-trading in the Senate’s election. During a hearing at the Election Commission of Pakistan regarding the alleged horse-trading taking place in the Senate’s Election, State’s Minister for Information, Maryam Aurangzaib, requested Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Raza Khan to order a probe through the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and other intelligence agencies into the issue of alleged buying and selling of legislators by political parties. The CEC alluded that he might entertain the request. Surprisingly, the minister named only the FIA, and did not identify other intelligence agencies she was referring to, as the FIA directly works under the interior minister and has controversial reputation for serving the rulers’ interests.

Historically speaking, Pakistan’s intelligence agencies are considered engineers of horse-trading in Pakistan. Various rulers have used these agencies in the past to victimize and pressurize opponents.

FIA, Intelligence Bureau and Inter-Services Intelligence have served the political interests of various rulers in different times, and their involvement in political affairs reached its peak during General Zia’s rule. Their involvement in political agenda continues to this very day.

In 1988, Pakistan’s intelligence agencies formed and funded Islami Jamhoori Ittehad to blocked Pakistan Peoples’ Party’s victory in the 1988 elections. Even though PPP emerged victorious in the elections, the agencies continued their efforts to stop Benazir Bhutto from forming her government through horse-trading, but she succeeded irrespective of their involvement.

Later on, ISI unearthed a plot, prepared by the Intelligence Bureau in 1989, to topple Bhutto’s government through horse-trading in a no-confidence motion. The plot was named ‘Operation Mid-Night Jackal’ by its masterminds Brig. Imtiaz Ahmad and Major Amir (Both are friends with Nawaz Sharif.)

In 1997, Nawaz Sharif was elected as Prime Minister Minister of Pakistan a second time. His government openly used the FIA against PPP.

After Gen. Musharraf deposed and arrested Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup in 1999, he appointed trusted persons in civil and military intelligence agencies, and also dragged military intelligence into political affairs. Before the 2002 elections, he directed the IB and ISI to ensure that PPP and PML-N would be defeated. The DGs of ISI and IB at the time, who were very close to Musharraf, used all tactics at hand to make popular candidates of PPP and PML-N turn coats before and after the elections. The formula really worked and PML-Q, which was called the king’s party formed the government with the help of traded-horses from PPP and PML-N.

With this history, probes by intelligence agencies will only create another controversy as opposed to resolving anything. The CEC and minister should reconsider their idea and go for a joint investigation team (JIT), constituent of reputed and independent persons for this purpose.

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