The ISI is tasked with collection of of foreign and domestic intelligence; co-ordination of intelligence functions of the three military services; surveillance over its cadre, foreigners, the media, politically active segments of Pakistani society, diplomats of other countries accredited to Pakistan and Pakistani diplomats serving outside the country; the interception and monitoring of communications; and the conduct of covert offensive operations.
The ISI has become a state within a state, answerable neither to the leadership of the army, nor to the President or the Prime Minister. The result is there has been no real supervision of the ISI, and corruption, narcotics, and big money have all come into play, further complicating the political scenario. Drug money was used by ISI to finance not only the Afghanistan war, but also the proxy war against India in Punjab and Kashmir.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee deals with all problems bearing on the military aspects of state security and is charged with integrating and coordinating the three services. Affiliated with the committee are the offices of the engineer in chief, the director general of medical service, the Director of Inter-Services Public Relations, and the Director of Inter-Services Intelligence.
Staffed by hundreds of civilian and military officers, and thousands of other workers, the agency's headquarters is located in Islamabad. The ISI reportedly has a total of about 10,000 officers and staff members, a number which does not include informants and assets. It is reportedly organized into between six and eight divisions:
- Joint Intelligence X (JIX) serves as the secretariat which co-ordinates and provides administrative support to the other ISI wings and field organisations. It also prepares intelligence estimates and threat assessments.
- The Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB), responsible for political intelligence, was the most powerful component of the organisation during the late 1980s. The JIB consists of three subsections, with one subsection devoted to operations against India.
- The Joint Counter Intelligence Bureau (JCIB) is responsible for field surveillance of Pakistani diplomats stationed abroad, as well as for conducting intelligence operations in the Middle East, South Asia, China, Afghanistan and the Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union.
- Joint Intelligence / North (JIN) is responsible for Jammu and Kashmir operations, including infiltration, exfilteration, propaganda and other clandestine operations.
- Joint Intelligence Miscellaneous (JIM) conducts espionage in foreign countries, including offensive intelligence operations.
- The Joint Signal Intelligence Bureau (JSIB), which includes Deputy Directors for Wireless, Monitoring and Photos, operates a chain of signals intelligence collection stations along the border with India, and provide communication support to militants operating in Kashmir.
- Joint Intelligence Technical
In addition to these main elements, ISI also includes a separate explosives section and a chemical warfare section. Published reports provide contradictory indications as to the relative size of these organizational elements, suggesting that either JIX is the largest, or that the Joint Intelligence Bureau is the lrgest with some sixty percent of the total staff. The Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) is the ISI's main international financial vehicle.
The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence is of particular importance at the joint services level. The directorate's importance derives from the fact that the agency is charged with managing covert operations outside of Pakistan -- whether in Afghanistan, Kashmir, or farther afield. The ISI supplies weapons, training, advice and planning assistance to terrorists in Punjab and Kashmir, as well as the separatist movements in the Northeast frontier areas of India.
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