Washington: Pakistan has become an "abnormal" and ISI-driven entity which uses Islamic militants to pursue its defence and foreign policy goals, an eminent Pakistani writer has said.
   
"Pakistan has become an abnormal state that uses Islamic militants – jihadi groups, non-state actors – in addition to diplomacy and trade to pursue its defence and foreign policies," Ahmed Rashid says in his forthcoming book.
   
The book 'Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan and Afghanistan' by Viking of the Penguin Group is slated to hit the market on March 19.
   
In his book running into more than 230 pages, Rashid says that these non-actors, who are groomed and sheltered by the ISI, have deeply antagonised Pakistan's neighbours, all of whom have at one time or another, felt the pressure.
   
Rashid argues that to win trust at home and abroad, Pakistan Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani needs to immediately reform the ISI.
   
"Pakistan must act as a normal state, rather than a paranoid, insecure, ISI-driven entity whose operational norms are to use extremists and diplomatic blackmail. The ISI has become a state within a state and must be put under civilian control," Rashid says.
   
A normal state would put civilians in charge; it would employ diplomacy, nuance, and flexibility; it would view its own national security as interconnected with that of its neighbors and allies; and it would, as its first and primary task, de-radicalise its own society, he writes.
   
"But normality is not what we have in Pakistan. To function as a normal state, Pakistanis desperately need a new narrative from their leaders, one that does not perpetually blame the evergreen troika of "India, the United States, and Israel" for its own ills," Rashid says.
   
Rashid, who has written several books including 'Descent into Chaos' now being considered as one of the standard reference books on the region's recent history, in his latest book writes that the ISI continues to allow the retired military class and a handful of extremist intellectuals to publicly advocate near lunatic ideas.

For some years, Rashid writes, that former Pakistan Army Chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg has blamed all of Pakistan's ills on a RAW established spy network in Afghanistan, which he locates at Sarobi, to the east of Kabul.
   
"I have visited Sarobi and needless to say, found nothing of sort," he writes.
   
The eminent Pakistani author writes that at one point of time a few years ago, many Taliban preferred making peace with Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan, but ISI persuaded them not to do so.
   
In 2003, Rashid says, ISI helped the Taliban restart the insurgency in Afghanistan.
   
"The ISI helped the Taliban raise funds in the Arabian Gulf states and facilitated their acquisition of guns and ammunition," he writes.
   
"It set up training camps manned by its own officers in Baluchistan province, where many Taliban leaders had settled. It set up a secret organisation to run the Taliban, even as it was cooperating with the CIA in apprehending Al Qaeda," he writes.
   
Noting that retired army and ISI officers, operating outside the traditional military structures, manned the secret organisation, Rashid says for several years, the US failed to detect this support base or understand how it operated.
   
The main Taliban under Mullah Omar set up offices in Quetta and Peshawar; its leaders in Quetta directed the insurgency in southern Afghanistan.
   
Another Afghan Taliban ally, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezb-i-Islami party, operated out of northern Pakistan, he says, adding that from their bases in Pakistan, the Taliban launched attacks into Afghanistan while recruiting Pakistani Pashtuns to provide them with base security and additional manpower.

(Agencies)