Analysis: Pakistan’s former spy chief sees wider geopolitical games in region

Hamid Gul

Hamid Gul

Lieutenant General Hamid Gul, the controversial former Director General of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has expressed the view that Pakistan’s nuclear disarmament is the ultimate aim of the US-Indian alliance. Speaking to reporters in Islamabad, Gul said India’s insistence on charging the ISI with complicity in the 2008 Mumbai attack is “part of a greater conspiracy to discredit the body for being an extension of the Pakistan Army” and eventually questioning the latter’s role as guardian of the country’s nuclear arsenal. “Once the Army and the ISI are demolished [the US and India] will reach out to our nuclear capability saying it is not is safe hands”, said the retired Lieutenant General. In discussing the increasing military and political collaboration between the US and India, Gul noted that “the Americans and Israel [are] hell-bent that India should be given pre-eminence in the region”, acting as the dominant regional power. He described such a scenario as essentially positioning India to the role of overseer of “60 per cent of the world’s trade [which] passes through the Indian Ocean”, including transport routes of “Gulf oil, bound for China and Japan, [which] will be under the shadow of India’s sole nuclear power”. The former ISI chief added that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal poses an unconventional threat to India’s regional military dominance by leveling the playing field, which tends to stymie Washington’s plans. Once considered a major proponent of American foreign policy in Southeast Asia, Hamid Gul rapidly detached himself from American policy positions after retiring as head of the ISI, in 1989. He has recently voiced support for the Taliban insurgency against US military presence in Afghanistan, and has publicly praised Iraqi resistance groups since 2003. Asked about the role of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani militant group said to be behind the 2008 Mumbai attack, Lieutenant General Gul said members of the organization “are non-state actors like the American CIA operating freely in Pakistan”. He added that Lashkar-e-Taiba are one of many clandestine groups operating inside Pakistan, including the Special Service Group [a commando division in the Pakistani Army], Spider Group [former Pakistani Army officers operating under FBI command], India’s RAW [Research and Analysis Wing, and] Israeli Mossad. Everybody is playing their games here”, he added. [JF]

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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