This is correct that the Intelligence Bureau of Pakistan is not a notified division of the government like other divisions. However, its chief has always enjoyed a unique position in the administrative hierarchy of the government, especially those handpicked by political bosses. In the recent past, Brig Ejaz Shah was very close to President Pervez Musharraf, Maj Masood Sharif was close to Benazir Bhutto and Brig Imtiaz was Nawaz Sharif’s man. Wing Commander Lodhi was a stopgap arrangement made by Yousuf Raza Gilani. The present DG, a PSP officer, is a low-profile IB chief. There is a widespread misunderstanding that IB enjoys autonomy in financial matters. This is not correct.

The fact is that for oversight and financial accountability the secretary of the cabinet division has been notified as the principal accounting officer for the IB by the government and all expenditures of the bureau have to be scrutinised by the financial adviser of the cabinet division. The bureau cannot spend a paisa without sanction from a competent authority in the finance division. Rules do not give any control to the prime minister over funds of the bureau.

ASGHAR MAHMOOD

Islamabad February 18.