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Saturday May 18, 2024

Faizabad Dharna Commission report: IB chief pointed out problem his institution faced

This issue was raised from the IB chief’s side in replies to the queries put forward by Faizabad sit-in commission members

By Azaz Syed
April 20, 2024
Protesters gather at the site of the Faizabad sit-in in Islamabad. — AFP/File
Protesters gather at the site of the Faizabad sit-in in Islamabad. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The head of the Intelligence Bureau, Fawad Asadullah, said that the IB was given the status of a federal secretariat, but due to security reasons, its notification was not issued. He said that the IB DG was equal to secretary.

This issue was raised from the IB chief’s side in replies to the queries put forward by Faizabad sit-in commission members.

IB chief Asadullah said the IB had been functioning since the 1830s and after independence it remained a department attached to Cabinet Division.

He said that in 1972, the then president constituted a committee under the chairmanship of AG Noorani, which, after reviewing the intelligence system in Pakistan, submitted a report based on its recommendations, which was approved by then president.

He said that IB was given the status of a federal secretariat in the light of the recommendations of the same committee report.

To a query of commission relating to the 2017 sit-in, the IB chief said that on October 25, 2017, the operation by the Islamabad police against the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) failed due to the absence of clear orders from the federal police as the Islamabad High Court had specifically directed not to use firearms.

To a question over involvement of any state institution in the sit-in, he said that we checked records and there was no evidence of any conspiracy by any state institution to oust the then government through the 2017 sit-in.

Fawad Asadullah was known as the right hand of the then IB chief Aftab Sultan in 2017.

After the collapse of the then PML-N government, Dr Sulaiman became the IB chief during Imran Khan’s tenure and he transferred Asadullah to an unrelated department. However, after the end of Imran Khan’s government, Shahbaz Sharif’s government came, and since then Fawad Asadullah has been serving as the IB chief.

Asadullah is a career officer of the IB and holds the distinction of being the first officer of the secret agency to be appointed as the head of the agency.

He was given extension in December 2022 in the caretaker government of then prime minister Anwar Kakar.

The commission asked the IB chief why the IB chief was not called in the meeting chaired by the prime minister on 22 November 2017. Asadullah said that it is the will of the chief executive to take input from any institution. He said the IB had been providing information before, during and after the sit-in.

Asadullah, in his capacity as IB chief, said in a statement to the Faizabad Dharna Commission that at that time the IB had advised the government to talk to the leadership of Tehreek-e-Labbaik, and the purpose of the talks was to postpone the TLP march.

The reason for the failure of the November 2017 operation was that the police did not have clear orders. He said that Islamabad High Court had specifically ordered that firearms should not be used. He said that initially, the Islamabad police managed to disperse the protesters Later, more protesters came from Rawalpindi and the police were forced to retreat happened .Fawad Asadullah checked the record on the commission’s question and said that the IB had also recommended to ban Tehreek-e-Labaik on October 17, 2017.