Federal Investigation Agency
- For the similarly named Mexican institution, see Federal Investigations Agency.
|Federal Investigation Agency|
Urdu: وفاقی ادارۂ تحقیقات
|The emblem of FIA|
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
The Federal Investigation Agency (Urdu: وفاقی ادارۂ تحقیقات; reporting name: FIA), is a counter-intelligence and security agency under Ministry of Interior, Pakistan tasked with investigative jurisdiction on undertaking operations against terrorism, espionage, federal crimes, fascism, smuggling as well as infringement and other specific crimes.
Codified under the Constitution in 1974, the institution act its functions under the Ministry of Interior (MoI). The FIA also undertakes international operations with the close cooperation and coordination with the Interpol. Headquartered in Islamabad, the agency has various branch and field offices located in all major cities throughout Pakistan.
More than 39 international offices, designated as "Immigration Wing" exist in Pakistan embassies and consulates-general worldwide. Its executive figure is appointed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan and as of current Akbar Khan Hoti is currently tenuring as Director-General of the FIA.
Objectives and mission statement
The FIA's main goal and priority is to protect the nation's interests and defend of Pakistan, to uphold and enforce the criminal law and law enforcement in the country. Its current mission statement is regarded:
To achieve excellence in FIA by promoting culture of merit, providing continuous professional training, ensuring effective internal accountability, encouraging use of technology and having a meaningful feedback mechanism.
Priorities and departments
As of 2009, FIA has 10 active departments to lead criminal charges and investigation, with priorities:
In 1942, the British government established the Special Police Establishment (SPE) in British India during the midst of World War II. Originally the Police Establishment was tasked to take up investigation of corruption in Indian Civil Service (ICS), rampant in the Supplies and Procurement Department of the then British Raj. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the SPE was equally divided between the governments of India, which formed the CBI, and Pakistan, which remained it as Pakistan Special Police Establishment (PSPE) in 1947. With the passage of time, the PSPE, apart from investigating the offenses of bribery and corruption against officials of federal government, was also given powers to investigate cases relating to the offenses under the following laws:-
After the 1971 war with India, the police reforms were carried out by Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto after adopting recommendations from the report submitted by bureaucrat G. Ahmad in Prime Minister Secretariat, on 7 March 1972. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) was created on 13 January 1975, after being codified in the Constitution with the passing of the FIA Act, 1974, by the State parliament. Initially, its first roles were to build efforts against the organized crimes, smuggling, human trafficking, immigration offenses, and passport scandals.
When the FIA was created, it took cases on corruption at every level of the government. Although ostensibly a crime-investigation service, the FIA also took investigations onto accused political opponents and critics of financial impropriety from tax evasions to taking bribery while in office.
National security and efforts against terrorism
Initially, its role was to conduct investigations on public corruption but the scope of FIA's investigation was increased to take actions against communist terrorism in 1980s. In 1981, the FIA agents successfully investigated and interrogated the culprits behind the hijacking of the PIA's Boeing 720CR, immediately holding Murtaza Bhutto for its responsibility. The FIA keenly tracked the whereabouts of Murtaza Bhutto in Syria, and successfully limited the influence of his al-Zulfikar group. In 1985, the FIA's undercover operation busted the drug trade, with the illicit trade leaders and their culprits apprehended by the FIA. Known as the "Pakistan League Affair", the FIA effectively put an end on the illicit drug trade with the arrest of the gang's key drug lord.
From 1982–88, the FIA launched the series of investigations and probes against communist leader Jam Saqi and aided the courts proceedings relating to its findings. In 1986, the FIA successfully infiltrated the terrorist group responsible for the Flight 73 of the Pan American Airways, and quickly detained the Libyan commercial pilot suspected to have a role in the hijacking.
After securing voting plurality in general elections held in 1993, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto further widened the scope of FIA, making FIA akin to ISI in the intelligence community. After approving the appointment of senior FIA agent Rehman Malik, the FIA's intelligence and investigations were now conducted at the international level, with close coordination of American FBI. The FIA notably worked together with the FBI to conduct investigations on the terrorist bombing event occurred in World Trade Center in New York, United States in 1993. The FIA and FBI tracked down the mastermind of the 1993 WTC bombing Ramzi Yousef in Pakistan. In 1995, the successful investigation led to the extradition of Ramzi Yousef to United States.
In 1990s, the FIA directed by Rehman Malik was involved in leading the investigations and actions against al-Qaeda operatives, KSM and Ramzi Yousef, assisted FBI to apprehend Ramzi in 1995, and KSM in 2002. The FIA pushed its efforts against terrorism and track on crime syndicated organizations affiliated to the terrorist organizations. The FIA was said to be launched secret intelligence operations against the terrorist organizations, which mounted a secret competition with the ISI. In leading its intelligence operations, the FIA was in direct contact with Israeli Mossad to assist FIA in gaining intelligence and further interrogating the extremist elements. According to the military authors, such reports equally dismayed the Pakistani military which was already upset with FIA's intelligence operations interfering the ISI's intelligence operations. Despite difficulties, the FIA had gained world prominence after reportedly leading successful operations against the terrorism in 1996.
In 2001, the FIA successfully investigated the case against Sultan Mahmood for his alleged bidding in nuclear terrorism, though the FIA cleared Mahmood of his charges in 2002. In 2003, the role of counter-terrorism was assigned in the FIA, which led to an establishment of the Counter-Terrorism Wing (CTW). The CTW agents were provided extensive training and equipment handling by the FBI under the Anti Terrorism Assistance Program (ATTP).
The FIA began investigating Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his movement around the world was monitored by the FIA. The FIA agents kept the investigations with FBI agents over the case of KSM. Eventually FIA's successful investigations led to KSM's capture in Rawalpindi, Punjab, in a paramilitary operation conducted jointly by CIA and the ISI in 2003. In 2002, the FIA continued its investigation and had strictly surveillance the movements of Afia Siddiqui in Karachi. In 2003, the FIA had been investigating the investigation on Siddiqui's movements and activities, subsequently sharing with the United States.
In 2002, FIA launched several probes against the privacy violation elements and Pakistan was en route to having its US duty-free GSP agreements being taken away from it in 2005. In order to avert any further negative fallout, sections of the Copyright Ordinance 1962 were included in the FIA's schedule of offenses This legislation paved the way in 2005, under the direction of the federal interior ministry, to raid the country's largest video wholesale centre: The Rainbow Centre.
Raiding the factories of the dealers that operated within the centre proved to be a highly successful enterprise, resulting in a reduction of 60% of sales of pirated video material. A spokesman from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), later confirmed, that many of the outlets had stopped selling pirated video goods and were now selling mobile phones, highlighting that the FIA's raids and the resultant legal action was a success.
Special FIA teams
On 9 June 1975, the FIA formed the Immigration Wing (IW) to help the NARA agents and officials to conduct probes against the illegal immigration to Pakistan. In 1979, the Anti-Human Smuggling Wing was formed to take evasive actions against the human smugglers and trafficking. In 1975, another special team, the Technical Wing, was formed to tackle the financial crimes.
In 2003, the FIA formed an elite counter-terrorism unit to help deal with exterminating terrorism in the country. Named Counter-Terrorism Wing (CTW), it acts as Elite team in related procedures and all counter-terrorism case. Also the same year, the FIA formed the Cyber Investigation Unit (CIU) and the Computer Analysis and Forensic Laboratory.
Since then, the FIA has assigned its agents and officials have received physical trainings and electronic equipment from the United States. In 2011, the CTW was further expanded and FIA established another Terrorist Financing Investigation Unit (TFIU) to conduct and lead operations against the terrorism financing. The CTW operatives have also assist other intelligence agencies to conduct joint investigations against the terror groups. To date CTW has always been an integral part of high profile terrorist cases. It has also managed the most wanted list of individuals involved indirectly or directly in taking part in terrorism. In 2008, the FIA successfully led and concluded the joint investigations on Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad. The FIA shared most of its findings gathered through interrogation of the arrested suspects to help hunt down the top members of the al-Qaeda to FBI.
Other FIA special teams included the Anti-Corruption Wing (ACW) which was established in 2004 to lead probes against the corrupt officials and other white collar criminals. In 2004, the Economic Crime Wing (ECW) was also established in 2004 but transferred to NAB; though it was restored by FIA in 2008. In 2014, the FIA formed an elite response team with the NACTA agency to take decisive and through counter-terrorism actions, based on gained internal intelligence, against the terror groups.
Criticisms and Controversies
Covert operations on political groups
The FIA has used covert operations domestic political groups since its inception; the FIA launched covert operations against the right-wing activists of the PNA. In 1990s, the FIA was involved in running the active intelligence operation against the BLLF on behest of the government. Critics of FIA has called the agency as "secret police". In 1980s, the FIA also targeted the leftist groups and was instrumental in conducting inquiry in preparation of against communist party.
2005 FIA Scandal
In 2005, the MoJ agents successfully infiltrated the immigration wing of the FIA, leading the FIA to launch its investigation against its own department. The special agents of FIA arrested five FIA's immigration agents for their alleged role in human trafficking and most of them were dismissed from the service.
2008 Lahore Bombings
On 11 March 2008, the TTP coordinated the twin suicide bombings to target the counter-terrorist unit of FIA based in Lahore. The building was severely damaged during the suicidal attack. The Geo News later reported that "the building also housed the offices of a special US-trained units of FBI created to counter terrorism" suggesting a motive.
Cooperation with Foreign counterparts
The FIA participates in the PISCES project which was initiated by the US Department of State, Terrorist Interdiction Program (TIP) in 1997, as a system to improve their watch-listing capabilities by providing a mainframe computer system to facilitate immigration processing. PISCES system has been installed at seven major airports of the country i.e. Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Multan and Faisalabad airports. The system has provision to accommodate information on suspects from all law enforcement agencies like Immigration, Police, Narcotics Control, Anti-smuggling, and Intelligence Services.
The FIA is head by the appointed Director-General who is appointed by the Prime Minister, and confirmed by the President. Appointment for the Director of FIA either comes from the high-ranking officials of Police or the civil bureaucracy. The Director General FIA is assisted by three Additional Director-Generals and ten Directors for effective monitoring and smooth functioning of the operations spread all over the country.
The FIA is headquartered in Islamabad and also maintains a separate training FIA Academy, also in Islamabad which was opened in 1976. In 2002, FIA formed a specialized wing for investigating Information and Communication Technology (ICT) related crimes. This wing is commonly known as National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes (NR3C) and has the credit of arresting 12 hackers, saving millions of dollars to the government exchequer. This wing of FIA has state-of-the-art Digital Forensic Laboratories managed by highly qualified Forensic Experts and is specialized in Computer and Cell Phone Forensics, cyber/electronic crime investigation, Information System Audits and Research & Development. Officers of NR3C carryout training for Officers of Police and other Law Enforcement Agencies of Pakistan.
Organizational Structure of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has its headquarters in Islamabad. The chief presiding officer of the agency is called the director general, same is appointed by Ministry of Interior. The headquarters provide support to 4 provincial offices, i-e Sindh, Punjab, KPK, Balochistan and Federal Capital Islamabad. The provincial heads of agency are called "directors". Further there are about (?) smaller offices known as wings or circles e.g. Crime, Corporate Crime, Banking Crime and Anti-Human Trafficking Circles at provincial level, they are headed by additional and deputy directors, these are helped by investigation officers (I.O.) like assistant directors, inspectors, sub-inspectors and assistant sub-inspectors etc. for running of bureau business. The wings are major segments of agency known as Anti-Corruption or Crime Wing, Immigration Wing, Technical Wing, Legal Wing, Administration Wing and National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes (NR3C). Further there are branches working under the command of above-mentioned wings, viz. counter-terrorism branch (SIG), Interpol branch, legal branch, crime branch, economic crime branch, intellectual property rights branch, immigration branch, anti-human smuggling branch, PISCES branch, administration branch, implementation and monitoring branch.
FIA Director Generals
Main article: Director General of the Federal Investigation Agency
The FIA is headed by a Director-General (DG), appointed by the federal government, generally a very senior Police Officer of BPS 21/22, based at the Headquarters in Islamabad. The current FIA Director General is Ghalib Ali Bandesha of the Police Service of Pakistan who was appointed in 2014, succeeding the former DG Saud Mirza.
Notable FIA personnel
Tariq Pervaiz PSP, Tariq Khosa PSP, Mohammad Akbar Khan Hoti PSP, Inam Ghani PSP QPM (Bar)