Many people have asked me what ISI means and what it stands for. The ISI stands for Inter Services Intelligence and is an organization that is an independent arm of the Armed forces. In theory the ISI draws its officers from all the 3 services, but in reality it has a preponderance of Pakistan army officers and is headed by a Lieutenent General of the Pakistan army. The Chief of ISI nominally reports to the President( After the recent amendment), but in real terms his boss is the Army Chief. Presently the Chief of the ISI is Lt General Pashaand he reports to General Kayani.
The ISI over the years has become a shadowy arm of the Pakistan ruling elite, in this case the army. It has its own budget and has complete freedom of action in all spheres. It also has trained and hardened killers in its ranks. The ISI is known to carry out assissinations and killings in Pakistan as well
The ISI has its Headquarters at Islamabad, but it chalks out its own policy.It also carries out terrorist strikes like the one organized in Mumbai 3 years back.The ISI furthers its own agenda which may be contrary to the civil government of Pakistan. An example is its help to Osama bin Laden to hide at Abottabad. No wonder the USA could not locate this man for 10 years.
Lately the ISI has come in for some criticizm for its failure in detecting the assault of the US seals in killing Osama. It was a colossal intelligence failure. The ISI however shoulders on and Gen Pasha remains its head. It will be interesting to see if the ISI can be made accountable to the Pakistan senate as desired by the civil adminstration