News Analysis |
In a recent development, the former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lieutenant General (r) Asad Durrani on Monday requested the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to lift the restriction on his foreign travel. His counsel has given the argument that Mr. Durrani wants to go abroad to fulfill his professional commitments and also see his children. It has also been clarified that former DG ISI does not hold the nationality of any other country.
As a matter of fact, earlier in May, the government had placed Durrani’s name on the ECL, a day after the Pakistan Army recommended imposing a travel ban on him. The decision to place his name was taken after Durrani appeared at the General Headquarters (GHQ) to clarify his stance pertaining to “The Spy Chronicles”, a book he has co-authored with Amarjit Singh Dulat, the former chief of Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). This book was widely read, discussed and criticized across the country.
Nawaz is considered by many to be the political protege of Durrani. Durrani was the ISI chief at the time when the IJI was formed with the connivance of the intelligence agency.
The sensitive topics discussed in the book, included Kashmir, the Mumbai attacks, the presence of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, and the Kargil war around which criticism revolved. The petition submitted to the court also states that the former spy chief, on September 5, requested the adjutant general of Pakistan Army to remove his name from ECL on account of professional commitments and that he and his wife wanted to visit their grandchildren living abroad.
After receiving no response, Durrani requested the federal government on September 13 to review its decision. The counsel stated that both the respondents failed to respond to Durrani’s requests. This is what motivated Mr. Durrani to approach the court. Moreover, the counsel maintained that Mr. Durrani had retired from the army over 25 years ago and is not subject to the provisions of Pakistan Army Act, 1952. Therefore, any inquiry initiated against him has been done without jurisdiction and is illegal.
Right after the publication of the book DG ISPR Maj Gen Ghafoor assured the nation that an inquiry was ongoing and whatever came of it would be shared with the media. “He retired as a 3-star general, and you know the circumstances of his retirement — it was premature. He’s involved in the Asghar Khan case as well,” he recalled, indicating that the army was clearly unhappy with what the retired officer had done. “As soon as the book was published, we took action.”
In a recent development, the former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lieutenant General (r) Asad Durrani on Monday requested the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to lift the restriction on his foreign travel.
He also noted that Durrani’s book referred to incidents that took place after the former DG ISI’s tenure. Nonetheless, he noted that it was not okay for the retired spy chief to use his experience to comment on matters that happened after his retirement. “We are all human, we make mistakes. But when you make mistakes, you suffer the consequences. Pakistan Army has never forgiven any mistake, whether made by a soldier or a general. What will happen to Durrani sb will be in front of you, “he had said
In the controversial book, Mr. Durrani has revealed that track-II diplomacy was in place since long aimed at averting war between the two nuclear-armed neighbors. The former spy head had to face a strong backlash after the publication of the book. There were many points in the book which demanded explanation and clarity. Importantly, former DG ISI’s comments and observations on his post-retirement incidents raised eyebrows and compelled Pakistan army to initiate an inquiry against him.
At the time of the book launch, many considered that the timing of the book was to help the beleaguered disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. For many, it was not difficult to look at the timing and content of the book’s release. At that time, Nawaz was battling the Dawn leaks fiasco and he took no time at all to call for an emergency meeting of the National Security Committee be summoned over the book.
Nawaz is considered by many to be the political protege of Durrani. Durrani was the ISI chief at the time when the IJI was formed with the connivance of the intelligence agency. Many observers cite that Durrani’s attempt to leave the country is actually an attempt to leave the country just as Gen Pervez Musharraf did to escape punishment.