Meet Inter Services Intelligence's brand manager

Kamran Khatmal heads the branding division at the Inter Services Intelligence. In this capacity, he is responsible for naming and renaming over 70 terrorist organizations affiliated to the ISI and Al Qaeeda operating in Pakistan and elsewhere. Rajcreep spoke to the man on his duties and workload. Here’s the story of the ISI’s very own brand man.

RS: What exactly do you do, as a brand manager?

KK: you see ISI has over 70 different terror groups operating under its umbrella. Every now and then a new group is created or an existing one renamed due to a ban. During such times, they approach my team to name or rename a group and we are the ones who suggest the names after checking with our regional and global databases. We don’t want two organizations to have the same names; neither do we want a new organization to be named after a banned one.

RS: It must indeed be a tough role…

KK: When I joined in 1990, we just had 3 groups spreading terror in Kashmir. Today we have groups operating in over 30 countries. On an average a group is banned every three months. You know whats the worst part? Most groups are banned after a major terrorist strike and none of these jokers bother to inform me before embarking on one. You see if I get a prior notice, I get enough time for coming up with better names. These guys mostly approach me after the group is banned.

RS: That must hurt…

KK: That’s not the whole story. You see the Pakistani government acts very fast. The moment they know that a group will be banned, they ask the state bank or other banks to move their funds to a temporary ISI account. The funds are then moved to a new account of this group once they are renamed and get a new account. But no one bothers to inform me till the ban is in force and I often get a deadline of just 24 hours to come up with a name and have it approved by all stakeholders.

Does it affect your personal life?

Sometimes when I go home I forget the names of my wives and kids. I remember once I called my wife Harkat Ul Badr and she flung the rolling pin at me. I was out of action for almost a week.

RS: You must be liaising with the branding team at Al Qaeeda.

KK: Yup, we are on mails. Sometimes I have to get approvals from Al Zawari and others. Everyone agrees on the conference calls that we have. But then when I seek a mail approval, it takes minimum 5 reminders for people to budge. That’s very frustrating.
RS: What happens after you name\rename a group.

KK: A group mail is sent to all the SPCs from various terror groups informing them of the development. We have to document their response and inform the office of ISI chief. Sometimes our boys meet the field guys from various terror groups to familiarize them with the new name. Then we undertake a series of brand awareness programs.

RS: What do you do as part of such programs?

KK: We undertake some promotional activity. Like in the last instance, a group operating in the NWFP was renamed and we hired 100 donkeys in the region and painted them with the new name and color of the group and gave them back to the owners. We have also booked vantage spots on the world’s first superhighway for donkeys built by Pakistan in Swat to publicize the name change.

Comments

Apple said…
oh boy this is funny...
and well...no wonder they succeed...even the branding is so much of a procedure.. ;)
Prayukth said…
Yup, Appy...the ISI is a process driven organization ;)
Anonymous said…
hey PJ,
very funny... rajcreep is too gud :)

I can relate it with our corp comm team :) hahaha.... spl'ly the deadline bit ;)
al brazzakh said…
Wah wah what a blog ul khabarnama!
Are you mulla in kafir's clothing , kyonki such gems arent produced by dark kafirs :)
keep up the j'had!

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