PPP concerned over former US envoy’s remarks
LAHORE: Mr Farhatullah Babar, a spokesman for the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), has expressed concern over reports that at a US Senate briefing on Thursday a former US Ambassador to Pakistan had claimed that over the last six years the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had a ‘substantial’ involvement in drug trade.
In a statement, the spokesman said: “In reply to the pointed questions by Rep Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican from California, the former US Ambassador to Pakistan acknowledged that over the last six years the agency’s involvement in drug trade was ‘substantial’. He added: “Nancy Chamberlin, who was US Ambassador to Pakistan till last year and is now a senior official of the USAID, tried to evade the question with a help from a senior colleague, Christina Rocca, but finally gave in.”
“How would you characterise ISI’s involvement in the opium business on the Afghan-Pakistan border over the last six years,” Rep Dana Rohrabacher asked, repeating his question four times until Ms Chamberlin said it was ‘substantial,’ said the PPP spokesman.
He said: “The people of Pakistan know too well the dirty works the intelligence agencies have been doing in the past. These have ranged from distributing slush funds and public moneys stolen from banks to make and unmake political alliances as was done in 1988 to kidnapping and torturing of political opponents and shaving off their hair and moustaches as was done most shamelessly to Rana Sanaullah, deputy opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly, as recently as last week.”
He continued: “The allegations of ISI’s involvement in the drug business, however, are by far the most serious that a former US Ambassador to Pakistan in a formal testimony in congressional hearings has claimed so. The allegation cannot, and indeed must not, be dismissed lightly or contemptuously.”
“The Pakistan People’s Party demands of the military regime to immediately summon a session of the parliament and take the nation into confidence about this grave development.
“The PPP recalls that a case of distribution of slush funds among politicians by the ISI to manipulate people’s mandate is also before the Supreme Court for the past several years. The PPP urges the apex court to take up that case urgently.
“The PPP believes it was imperative that the judiciary took a judicial view of the case pending before it pertaining to distribution of slush funds, while the elected representatives started discussion on the alleged involvement of ISI in drug business for an appropriate legislation,” he said and added: “The PPP calls upon members of civil society to raise their voice against the growing high-handedness and interference of the intelligence agencies in civil and political matters. It also demands that an appropriate legislation be made to punish those in the agencies who transgress the boundaries of law.”