Under the pressure of insurgents in Balochistan, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan, has purchased four Wing Loong I unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs from China. This will be for what Pakistan says part of “counter-insurgency” operations in the troubled province. Along with the UAVs will come several earth stations and a Chinese technical team.
While the Wing Loong, developed by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, claims to have “long-endurance” — they can be in the air for surveillance purposes for a long while — they can also carry weapons, particularly air-to-surface rockets.
Pakistan has never been slow to use advanced weaponry against its own civilians. This includes using the Pakistan Air Force, which was first deployed in Balochistan in the Seventies
Besides, China has gifted two more modern Wing Loong-2 UAVs along with ground stations and air-to-ground weapons to go with them. China will provide other equipment and technical assistance to its all-weather ally.
Pakistan Aeronautics Complex (PAC) and China’s Chengdu Aircraft Corporation had in 2018 said they would produce Wing Loong II UAV (GJ-2) for Pakistan Air Force in a collaborative effort. This drone is intended for use as a surveillance and aerial reconnaissance, and precision strike platform. Wing Loong II has long range strike capability with a satellite link.
Compared to the CH-4 drones Pakistan had received from China on 15 January, the Wing Loong II has a greater maximum take-off weight of 4,200 kg. It can attain speeds of up to 370 km/h and has an endurance of 32 hours.
ISI is the premier intelligence agency of Pakistan, operationally responsible for gathering, processing, and analyzing national security information from around the world. As one of the principal members of the Pakistani intelligence community, the ISI reports to the Director-General and is primarily focused on providing intelligence for the Government of Pakistan.
Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, who was appointed director-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence on 17 June 2019, heads the ISI currently. The director-general reports directly to both the prime minister and the army chief of Pakistan.
The ISI gained global notoriety in the 1980s when it supported the Afghan mujahideen against the Soviet Union in the then-Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. During the war, the ISI worked in close coordination with the Central Intelligence Agency of the US to train and fund the mujahideen with American, Pakistani, and Saudi funds.