Maryam Nawaz Defends PML-N's Decision To Authorize ISI To Screen Officials

Maryam Nawaz Defends PML-N's Decision To Authorize ISI To Screen Officials
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif defended Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's controversial decision to authorize Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to screen and vet civil servants ahead of their transfers and postings.

PM Shehbaz had issued directives to notify the ISI as the Special Vetting Agency (SVA) on May 06, 2022, and many people had objected to the decision, saying that it would undermine civil authority.

Responding to a question at a media talk yesterday (Thursday), about whether PM Shehbaz's empowerment of the ISI undermined PML-N's own statements about civil authority, she said she believed the ISI came directly under the prime minister, and therefore was answerable to the country's premier.

"If the prime minister took this decision, then of course sometimes governments have to take such decision, there is a lot they are forced to do sometimes," she said.

Maryam added that the ISI was an ordinary organization that works with the government, under the prime minister, saying, "The prime minister knows when to seek out and recruit which organization for which task."

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's decision to appoint the ISI as the SVA for screening of government officials and civil servants raised eyebrows last week.

The practice of vetting of governmental officials by the ISI or the Intelligence Bureau (IB) was already unofficially a part of the appointment and promotion process for civil servants, especially during the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court.

However, for the first time, this practice has been granted governmental legitimacy, which has raised questions about giving further powers to the military.