Director General (DG) Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Nadeen Anjum has asked all authorities concerned not to release to the media his picture or video footage, made during any official meeting.
A federal minister, on condition of not being named, told The News on Monday that for the same reason, the government did not release any of his picture or video footage. The National Security Committee met on Monday.
The meeting was also attended by the DG ISI. However, the picture and video footage, released to the media by the government, showed almost everyone else except for the top spymaster of the country.
When asked for the reason, the minister said it’s a standing instruction for all concerned from the incumbent DG ISI not to release any of his pictures or video footage of any official meeting that he attends. The minister was reluctant to say this on record.
The minister added that for the same reason, ever since his appointment as the DG ISI, none of his picture or video footage has been released to the media. Lt-Gen (Rtd) Amjad Shoaib, while commenting on it, said the basic principle of intelligence services is to stay away from the media’s eye.
He said there have been violations of the principle in the past and a number of times the governments had been releasing to the media picture and video footage of the intelligence chiefs.
Shoaib said the intelligence chiefs should not be shown on the media and TV screens. Generally, he explained, the spymasters are not recognised in the public all over the world for the same reason. He said this basic principle got compromised during the Afghan war when Gen Hameed Gul and General Javed Nasir were heading the ISI.
He said he was not part of any intelligence network but even then when he was promoted and posted as GOC Quetta, the then Army Chief General Abdul Waheed Kakar advised him to stay away from the media.
Maj Gen (retd) Ejaz Awan, who also served in the ISI in the past, told The News that the new DG ISI seems to be following the pattern of doing his work without being publicised in the media.
Awan recalled that when he was appointed as ISI Sector Commander Lahore, he was told by his DG ISI General (retd) Ahsan that “you would be a good intelligence operator if you roam around Lahore and no one notices you and no one recognises that here the ISI Sector Commander is going”. Ideally, he said, people should not know by face who is the intelligence operator.