LAHORE: The Intelligence Bureau, which has recently got Rs1.4 billion from the federal government for acquiring manpower, gadgetry and other resources to rebuild the organisation from scratch, has updated its first-ever list of most wanted criminals belonging to a Karachi-based political party and the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan who have been responsible for the unrest in the port city.
Although officials claim some high-profile arrests from a list of over 400 people involved in targeted killings and other acts of terrorism, extortion and cases of kidnapping for ransom since the start of Karachi operation in September last year, more than 100 have fled abroad.
The top-most civil intelligence network, which directly reports to the prime minister, is now trying to stand on its feet after a lapse of 13 years and for this purpose the prime minister has announced a Rs7billion package for restructuring of the organisation in three years.
Official sources said that of the Rs1.4b, up to Rs500million had already been spent on the ongoing Karachi operation in which IB officials had been given weapons, IT-related devices, computers and vehicles. They have also prepared an intelligence-gathering system to help the Karachi police in fighting acts of terrorism, sectarianism and gang wars.
Up to 500 officials, from constables to the assistant sub-inspectors, have been recruited in the IB for the purpose.
The newly-inducted officials are now under training at Simli Dam in Islamabad. The force’s strength is now around 3,100 after fresh induction, which sources said, was much less than what was required to deal with acts of terrorism in KP, Balochistan, Fata and other parts of the country.
Informed sources said that intelligence role of the IB in the ongoing Karachi operation and the number of arrests made by the Karachi police and Rangers had also been acknowledged by the Capital City Police Officer Karachi and the Director General of Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) at a recent high-level meeting presided over by the prime minister in Karachi.
The sources further said that political use of IB had been discouraged and the IB would now act purely as a counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence agency.
They said that a number of reforms were in the pipeline and if implemented, these would restore the previous image of the IB which had been weakened by a supreme intelligence agency of the country after the 1999 military takeover.
Sources said that the prime minister had held out an assurance to restore all powers that the IB had been given by former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.