ISLAMABAD: Concerned over no let up in the terror attacks in the areas already under potential security threat, the military leadership is set to review the existing coordination measures between the Army and its intelligence and paramilitary offshoots zvis-à-vis counter terrorism operations, it is learnt.
Reportedly, the to-be-reviewed coordination measures envisage organisational level enhanced internal contacts between the military’s intelligence agencies and the field intelligence units (FIUs) of Frontier Corps, Rangers and Scouts, the Army-led paramilitary wings.In this regard, Chief of Army Staff General (COAS) Ashfaq Parvez Kayani would hold a meeting with his commanders in the coming days, according to informed security officials.The said meeting, that would reportedly have the participation of the military commanders heading field formations including corps, divisions and brigades, would be held to exclusively discuss the security coordination measures.
When called, Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa was not available for comments. The security officials, however, said that the commanders were working on reviewing the security arrangements with particular reference to Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) and Karachi (Sindh).The reported development surfaces against the backdrop of ongoing terrorist attacks in different parts of the country, particularly in Quetta, Peshawar and Karachi, the three provincial capitals. Since last month, Quetta has come under the some major terrorist hits, with latest attack involving the killings of over two dozen members of Hazara community.
Quaid-e-Azam’s residency had been destroyed in Ziarat while attacks on security forces and civilians have been reported frequently in Peshawar and other parts of KP as well as FATA in the recent days.Talking to The Nation, former General Officer Commanding (GOC) Kharian, Major General (Retd) Ali Raza said, reviewing the security measures and coordination procedures is part of the routine operational adjustments while special commanders meetings are held against the backdrop of extraordinary ground situation.
“Usually, commanders officially and unofficially meet on regular basis to exchange professional notes on their preparedness but, special, or as we may call them, exclusive meetings are held to deal with extraordinary issues usually entailing threat perceptions. The exclusive meetings on security signify the threat perception prevailing over any place,” he said.Regarding internal coordination between the intelligence agencies and the FIUs, Raza argued that the same could help devise a coordinated response against terrorism.
“Every security department has a functional internal intelligence system. Usually these kind of intelligence systems known as FIUs operate within a limited mandate and framework. They are generally tasked to keep an eye on the activities of department’s personnel and the intelligence alerts issued by the FIUs are ordinarily about day-to-day affairs going on in their respective organisations. Broadening the scope of FIUs functioning and linking them to mainstream intelligence agencies could help build an effective shield for a coordinated response against terrorism.”
As per existing coordination procedures, according to security officials, the respective FC and Scouts commands in Balochistan and KP and Rangers in Sindh operationally work in coordination with the GOCs concerned under the supervision of the Corps Commanders concerned while coordination procedures need to be worked out at the intelligence side.”There is a well established coordination mechanism between the Pakistan Army, Rangers and FC for conducting field operations but effective combat response in the counter-insurgency arrangements also requires augmented intelligence coordination in the security agencies and the departments,” the officials commented.
Regarding the reportedly expected commanders meeting on security, the sources said, that the issue might be taken up either in the monthly Corps Commanders meeting or a special Corps Commanders or formation commanders moot could be called, as per the COAS discretion.”It’s totally upto the General Kayani as to how he goes about meeting his aides. Often, the Corps Commanders have the participation of Principal Staff Officers (PSO) and military spymasters.
Some time, the Corps Commanders have exclusive meetings and at times, the field formations up to the ranks of GOCs and Brigadiers attend the special commanders meetings or separate field formation meet-ups,” this scribe was informed.Meanwhile, General Joseph E Dunford, Commander International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) called on COAS on Tuesday.”It was a routine coordination visit, the two discussed matters of mutual interest with particular focus on border coordination,” a brief official statement said. – Nation