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Federal Investigation Agency

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Subject: Rehman Malik, Law enforcement in Pakistan, Jam Saqi case, Director General of the Federal Investigation Agency, October 2009 Lahore attacks
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Federal Investigation Agency

For the similarly named Mexican institution, see Federal Investigations Agency.
Federal Investigation Agency
Urdu: وفاقی ادارۂ تحقیقات
Abbreviation FIA
The emblem of FIA
Motto Urdu: صداقت دیانت
Accuracy and Honesty
Agency overview
Formed January 13, 1975 (1975-01-13)
Preceding agency Pakistan Special Police Establishment (1948)
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Legal jurisdiction Constitution of Pakistan
Governing body Government of Pakistan
General nature
  • Civilian agency
Operational structure
Overviewed by Islamabad, Pakistan
Agency executive M.Ghalib Ali Bandesha, PSP, [03.02.2014], Director-General
Major Unitss
Official website

The Federal Investigation Agency (Urdu: وفاقی ادارۂ تحقیقات‎; reporting name: FIA), is an autonomous agency under Ministry of Interior, Pakistan tasked with investigative jurisdiction on undertaking operations against terrorism, 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.[1] Its executive figure is appointed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan and as of current Saud Ahmed Mirza is currently tenuring as Director-General of the FIA.

National Intelligence Directorate (NID) is formed in 2014 in order to pool intelligence gathered by over 30 Pakistan's intelligence agencies.[2]

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.
—Mission Statement of FIA, source[3]

Priorities and departments

As of 2009, FIA has 10 active departments to lead criminal charges and investigation, with priorities:

  • Counter-terrorism Wing (CTW)—Tasked to protect Pakistan from all kinds of terrorist attacks, including cyber, bioterrorism, chemical, electronic and nuclear terrorism (see counter-terrorism);[4]
  • Anti-Corruption Wing (ACW)—Tasked with undertaking investigations and combat all public corruption at all levels of command (see also NAB).[5]
  • Economic Crime Wing (ECW)—Mandate with to protect Pakistan from economic terrorism and protection of intellectual property rights of the people. (see also: Economic terrorism).[6]
  • Immigration Wing (IW)—Combat Human trafficking activities and measure against illegal immigration in Pakistan.[7]
  • Technical Wing (TW)—Tasked to make efforts to protect Pakistan against foreign intelligence operations and espionage (see counterintelligence and counterproliferation) as well as using the scientific assistance to resolve the high-technology crimes.[8]
  • Legal Branch (LB)—Responsible to provide legal guidance in all administrative and operational matters as well as protect civil rights.[9]
  • National Central Bureau (NCB)—Tasked with to combat transnational/national criminal organizations and enterprises (see Interpol and FBI.[10]
  • Anti Trafficking Unit (ATU)—Task to combat major violent crimes, to ensure country wide coverage of human trafficking as well as preventing and protecting the victims of trafficking.[11]



In 1942, the British government established the Special Police Establishment (SPE) in British India during the midst of World War II.[12] 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.[12] 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.[12] 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:-

  • Official Secret Act, 1923
  • Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947
  • Passport Offenses Act, 1952
  • Customs Act, 1959


After the [12]

When the FIA was created, it took cases on corruption at every level of the government.[13] 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.[13]

National security and efforts against terrorism

A compound where Ramzi Yousef Captured. The FIA worked in close coordination with American FBI to capture Ramzi Yousef in 1995.

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.[12] 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.[14] The FIA notably worked together with the FBI to conduct investigations on 1993 WTC bombing in New York, United States.[14] The FIA and FBI tracked down the mastermind of the 1993 WTC bombing Ramzi Yousef in Pakistan.[14] In 1995, the successful investigation led to the extradition of Ramzi Yousef to United States.

In 1990s, the FIA directed by ISI.[17] 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.[17] 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.[17] Despite difficulties, the FIA had gained world prominence after reportedly leading successful operations against the terrorism in 1996.[17]

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.[18] In 2003, the role of counter-terrorism was assigned in the FIA, which led to an establishment of the Counter-Terrorism Wing (CTW).[4] The CTW agents were provided extensive training and equipment handling by the FBI under the Anti Terrorism Assistance Program (ATTP).[4]

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.[19] 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.[19] In 2002, the FIA continued its investigation and had strictly surveillance the movements of Afia Siddiqui in Karachi.[20] In 2003, the FIA had been investigating the investigation on Siddiqui's movements and activities, subsequently sharing with the United States.[20]

Anti-piracy efforts

Efforts on probes against the privacy was increased after a petition was filed by the FBI which disputed Pakistan's commitment to rooting out piracy within its national borders in 2001.[21]

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.[21] In order to avert any further negative fallout, sections of the Copyright Ordinance 1962 were included in the FIA's schedule of offenses[21] 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.[21]

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.[21] 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.[21]

Notable organizations

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.[22] In 1979, the Anti-Human Smuggling Wing was formed to take evasive actions against the human smugglers and trafficking.[22] In 1975, another special team, the Technical Wing, was formed to tackle the financial crimes.[23]

In 2003, the FIA formed an elite counter-terrorism unit to help deal with exterminating terrorism in the country.[24] Named Counter-Terrorism Wing (CTW), it acts as Elite team in related procedures and all counter-terrorism case.[24] Also the same year, the FIA formed the Cyber Investigation Unit (CIU) and the Computer Analysis and Forensic Laboratory.[24]

Since then, the FIA has assigned its agents and officials have received physical trainings and electronic equipment from the United States.[24] 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.[24] 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.[25] In 2008, the FIA successfully led and concluded the joint investigations on Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad.[26] 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.[27]

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.[28] In 2004, the Economic Crime Wing (ECW) was also established in 2004 but transferred to NAB; though it was restored by FIA in 2008.[29]

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.[13] 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".[30] In 1980s, the FIA also targeted the leftist groups and was instrumental in conducting inquiry in preparation of against communist party.[30]

FIA Scandals

It was also reported that 5 FIA personnel were investigated for their alleged role in human trafficking and most of them were dismissed from the service.[31]

International access

Cooperation with Foreign counterparts

In 2006, the FIA resumed operational links with its Indian counterpart, the Central Bureau of Investigation, after a gap of 17 years.[32][33]

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 watchlisting 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.[34]


The FIA is head by the appointed [36]

The FIA is headquartered in Islamabad and also maintains a separate training academy FIA, also in Islamabad which was opened in 1976.[37] In 2002, FIA formed a specialized wing for investigating Information & 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.[38] 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.[38]

Organization Structure

  • Immigration Wing (Additional DG)
    • PISCES (Director)
    • Immigration (Director)
    • AHS (Director)
      • ATU (Deputy Director)
      • Law (Director)
      • LO (Deputy Director)
  • National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes *NR3C (Director), as directly under the Director General
  • Crime wing (Additional DG)
    • Tech (Director)
      • Tech (Deputy Director)
      • Crime (Deputy Director)
    • Law (Director)
    • I&M (Director)
    • IPR (Director)
  • Administration Wing (Additional DG)
    • FIA Academy
    • Admin
  • SIG (Director)
    • Operations
    • Admin/Intel
  • National Central Bureau (NCB) (Interpol) (Director)
  • SIU (Deputy Director), as directly under the Director General
  • Legal Branch
  • Punjab (Director)
  • Sindh (Director)
  • Islamabad (Director)
  • Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (Director)
  • Balochistan (Director)


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

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.

Lahore Bombings (2008)

The FIA office in Lahore was targeted during the Lahore twin suicide bombings. The building was severely damaged during the suicidal attack. Geo News later reported that "The building also housed the offices of a special US-trained unit created to counter terrorism" suggesting a motive.[39]

Notable people

  • Mr. Chaudry Nisar, Minister Interior
  • Mr. Tariq Pervez, Ex DG FIA
  • Mr. Tariq Khosa, Ex DG FIA


  1. ^ FIA. "Immigration Wing of FIA". Immigration Wing of FIA. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  2. ^ Intelligence: Pakistan Tries A DNI
  3. ^ "Mission Statement of FIA". Government of Pakistan. Mission Statement of FIA. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c "Counter-terrorism department". FIA Counter-terrorism department. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  5. ^ "Anti-Corruption Department". FIAAnti-Corruption Department. 
  6. ^ "FIA Economic Crime Wing". FIA Economic Crime Wing. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  7. ^ "FIA Immigration Wing". FIA Immigration Wing. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "FIA Technical Wing". FIA Technical Wing. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  9. ^ "National Central Bureau NCB". National Central Bureau NCB. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  10. ^ "Anti Trafficking Unit". ATU. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h "History of FIA". FIA history. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c Haqqani, Husain (2005). Pakistan : between mosque and military (1. print. ed.). Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.  
  13. ^ a b c Reeve, Simon (1999). The new jackals : Ramzi Yousef, Osama Bin Laden and the future of terrorism (1st pbk. ed., 2002 ed.). Boston: Northeastern University Press. pp. 91–96.  
  14. ^ Benjamin, Daniel & Steven Simon. The Age of Sacred Terror, 2002
  15. ^ Shane, Scott (June 22, 2008). "Inside a 9/11 Mastermind’s Interrogation" The New York Times.
  16. ^ a b c d e et. al. Pakistan Intelligence, Security Activities & Operations. 
  17. ^ Khan, Kamran; Baker, Peter (30 January 2002), "Pakistan to Forgo Charges Against 2 Atomic Scientists,", Washington Post
  18. ^ a b Fouda, Yosri; Fielding, Nick (2003). Masterminds of terror : the truth behind the most devastating terrorist attack the world has ever seen (1st North American ed. ed.). New York: Arcade Pub.  
  19. ^ a b Scroggins, Deborah. Wanted women faith, lies, and the war on terror : the lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Aafia Siddiqui. New York, NY: Harper.  
  20. ^ a b c d e f Anis, Khurram (March 5, 2006). "Rainbow Centre business bombs 60% in raid aftermath". Daily Times area archives. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  21. ^ a b "Immigration Wing". IMMIGRATION WING. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  22. ^ "Technical Wing". Technical Wing. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  23. ^ a b c d e FIA. "Counter-Terrorism Wing". Counter-Terrorism Wing. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  24. ^ FIA. "Pakistan Most Wanted List". Govt. Pakistan. CTW Listing. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  25. ^ News reports (2008). "Timeline of Marriot Hotel bombings". Geo News archives, 2008. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  26. ^ Asghar, Mohd' (June 28, 2009). "FBI links Marriott bombing to Al Qaeda". Dawn area studies 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  27. ^ "Anti-Corruption and Economic Crime Wing". Anti-Corruption and Economic Crime Wing. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  28. ^ "ECONOMIC CRIME WING (ECW).". ECONOMIC CRIME WING (ECW). Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  29. ^ a b Sattar, Abdul (1999). CHILD LABOUR : The Cry of Innocence. Pakistan: Market Place.  
  30. ^ , BBC News, June 3, 2005Pakistan off human smuggling list
  31. ^ , The Hindu, Mar 24, 2006India, Pakistan to share expertise in investigation
  32. ^ , PakTribune, Mar 23, 2006India, Pakistan to form joint group to tackle crime
  33. ^ Malik, Rehman (2005-03-03). "Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES)". Federal Investigation Agency. Retrieved 2005-07-31. 
  34. ^ "Directors of the FIA". Directors of the FIA. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  35. ^ "FIA Organs". FIA Organs. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  36. ^ "FIA Academy". FIA Academy. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  37. ^ a b "National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes(NR3C)". National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes(NR3C). Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  38. ^ , The Long War Journal, Mar 11, 2008IDual suicide bombings in Lahore kill 28

External links

  • FIA's official website, Government of Pakistan
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