PRESIDENT Bush has reportedly conveyed his concern to the visiting government leaders from Pakistan regarding elements in the ISI allegedly leaking out actionable information to the militants. He also reportedly questioned how the Agency was being controlled. On Wednesday a report in The New York Times indicated that the "members of the ISI" had deepened their ties with some militant groups responsible for a surge of violence in Afghanistan and that the matter was taken up with Islamabad by a CIA deputy director early this month. While in Washington PM Gilani insisted that the ISI was under his direct control and he would now be responsible for its actions. The ISI is a highly professional security agency of the state. When established, its role envisaged providing strategic information regarding foreign threats to the defence establishment. With the passage of time its sphere of activities increased. Under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto a political cell was established in the agency. Under Zia it was given the charge to collect, train and supply the mujahideen, with the collaboration of CIA, to fight the Soviet troops in Afghanistan. As the ISI's political cell expanded under successive regimes, it blatantly started interfering in politics. It created the IJI to counterbalance the PPP, distributed funds among politicians, brought the PML-Q into existence, and after 2002 elections conducted a not too covert operation to deprive the PPP from forming government in Sindh. Its hobnobbing with communal and terrorist outfits and frequent claims by government leaders, past and present, that "hidden hands" stood in the way of their efforts to put them on leash further made it unpopular. These activities made many forget the vital role the ISI was playing in providing strategic information needed for the confidence of the country. There is a need under the circumstances to forthwith close for good the political wing in the agency. While dealing with militancy there is a need to ensure that the agency's activities are in fully conformity with government policy. The Prime Minister cannot micromanage the agency. The hasty attempt made recently to bring the ISI under the Interior Ministry was not well thought out. What is needed is to set up a bipartisan committee to define the scope of the agency and to suggest a civilian mechanism to oversee its activities. The ISI must have a clearly defined charter, spelling out its administrative, financial and operational control system. The Parliament should subsequently pass the charter after it has been thoroughly discussed in the concerned committees.