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Secret billions paid to ISI by govt remain a secret in Pak

Top Pakistani officials are refusing to disclose how and on what the country’s powerful spy agency ISI spent a whopping

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Top Pakistani officials are refusing to disclose how and on what the country’s powerful spy agency ISI spent a whopping Rs5.55 billion allocated to it during 2007-08.

“This is highly sensitive information and hence I can’t talk about it at an open forum,” finance secretary Salman Siddiqui told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly or lower house of parliament.

He merely told the Parliamentary watchdog that the money was released to the ISI for operations. But opted to keep quiet when asked for details, media reports said on Wednesday. The huge sum was paid to the ISI as a supplementary grant. But the spy agency has so far not accounted for it.

The meetings of most Pakistani parliamentary panels are open to the media.

According to information provided by the finance division to the PAC, the amount was paid to the ISI as a supplementary grant. Despite repeated questions and taunts by members of the PAC, Siddique refused to share details of the allocation.

Details provided to the media described the amount as “provision for relief during the financial year 2007-2008”.

The only thing Siddiqui was willing to concede was that the head was a “cover-up”. Senior PML-N leader Khwaja Asif, a member of the PAC, asked: “How long shall we keep on fooling ourselves?”
Pakistan People’s Party’s Yasmin Rehman, who presided over the meeting, said: “How can we settle such a heavy amount without knowing any details? If the information is not to be shared with the PAC, there is no need to bring the matter to the notice of the panel,” she said.  

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