British intelligence to take over CIA ops in Pakistan


ISLAMABAD – Pakistan and the United States have agreed to give a greater role to Britain in efforts to eradicate terrorism on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border and one important part of this “trilateral arrangement” is the takeover of most intelligence operations by the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) from the US’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Relations between the CIA and ISI went downhill after Raymond Davis, one of the latter’s contract spies, killed two Pakistanis in Lahore earlier this year. The US administration and Pakistani authorities are still struggling to put the row behind them. Islamabad and Washington face two major issues: Islamabad’s strong objection to the presence of hundreds of Davis-like CIA operatives on Pakistani soil, and the repeated pilot-less drone attacks on the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan that cause much collateral damage and draw public ire that leaves Islamabad in a sticky situation time and again. The two major states in the global anti-terrorism campaign have now decided to involve a third ally, the UK, who is a common friend, to take over intelligence operations on both sides of the troublesome border. A diplomatic source, who wished to remain unnamed, said the British intelligence service would take over most of the CIA’s intelligence-gathering operations and would also act as mediator between the ISI and CIA in case of any fresh disagreement. He said the important decision was taken during the recent visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron to Islamabad, who was accompanied by the MI6 chief as well. Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI chief Lt General Ahmad Shuja Pasha were also included in the decision, he added.
The decision has been made because of Britain’s long history of association with this region. Britain knows and gets along with both Islamabad and Washington very well, which is why both countries decided to involve it in order to do away with the prevailing mistrust between them. The source said that Cameron, who telephoned his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani a day before his visit to Kabul on Saturday, discussed at length issues related to the British spy agency’s takeover of intelligence operations. However, he said that after a high-level agreement, all three sides would work out the details of MI6’s role in meetings to be held in the future and would give final touches to the arrangement between Islamabad, Washington and London.