Center for Strategic Communication

by Steven R. Corman

Last night’s PBS NewsHour carried and interview with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.  He said a lot of interesting things. For example, he said that the reason the Pakistani Army can’t go after the Bad Guys in the FATAs is because they don’t have Predators.  He implied that President Bush had agreed to give him some so the Pakistanis could do the flying and shooting.  I wonder how the Indians feel about that.

Gilani also said they are hampered because the Bad Guys communicate by FM radio, and the Pakistani army doesn’t have FM jammers.  Note to Mr. Gliani:  You can find all the parts you need here.  I’m sure the fellows who built the electronics for your nukes can figure out how to hook everything up.

The most interesting thing he said was in the following exchange:

MARGARET WARNER: For a long time, U.S. officials have said that within the Pakistani intelligence services, your ISI, there are figures who are either sympathetic to the Taliban or actually see them as an important asset against Afghanistan or against India, and that that hampers your ability to fight terrorism. How big a problem does that remain?

YOUSUF RAZA GILANI: Actually, ISI is a great institution. It is always used for external or internal threat for Pakistan. But as far as this is concerned, there are somebody — some of them, they are sympathetic to the militants, this is not believable. So we would never expect our ISI, which is a very competent, so that there is anybody who’s a sympathizer, we will not allow that, because the ISI is directly working under the prime minister.

That’s interesting, because today’s New York Times reports that a top CIA official traveled to Pakistan this month to call out “most senior officials” with new intelligence about these relationships:

The C.I.A. emissary presented evidence showing that members of the spy service had deepened their ties with some militant groups that were responsible for a surge of violence in Afghanistan, possibly including the suicide bombing this month of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, the officials said.

Since Gilani is certainly a “most senior official” and the ISI works directly under him, I guess he must have missed that meeting.  On the other hand we must not overlook the possibility that he is losing touch with reality, given that in the same PBS interview he said:

I think, when there is any actions that has the support and the backing of a political government, it is always successful.