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IHC seeks GHQ inquiry report against former ISI chief

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News Analysis |

In an interesting move, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has ordered the interior ministry to explain as to why has the name of former DG Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) been placed on the Exit Control List (ECL)? The court was hearing a petition filed by the former spy agency head.

The court has also ordered the Defence Ministry to submit an inquiry report conducted into former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt (r) Gen Asad Durrani by General Headquarters (GHQ). According to media reports, IHC Judge Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani was hearing Durrani’s petition and ordered the Interior Ministry to submit a reply explaining “why Durrani’s name had been placed on the ECL”.

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.

The former ISI chief Lieutenant General (r) Asad Durrani on October 1st requested the IHC to lift the restriction on his foreign travel. His counsel argued that Mr. Durrani wanted to go abroad to fulfill his professional commitments and see his children. It was also clarified that former DG ISI did not hold the nationality of any other country.

The court has maintained that without getting into the inquiry report of the GHQ and an answer by the interior ministry, nothing could be done. The case has been postponed till December 3.

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.

Read more: Former DG ISI Asad Durrani approaches IHC over his travel ban

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 has maintained that Mr. Durrani 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 controversial book of Mr. Durrani, 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.

Air Marshal (r) Asghar Khan had accused former army chief General (r) Mirza Aslam Beg and Durrani of corrupting the democratic process with money.

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.” 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.

Read more: Spy Chronicles: A one-sided narrative

In his book, Mr. Durrani has revealed that track-II diplomacy was in place since long aimed at averting war between the two nuclear-armed neighbors. 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 the eyebrow and compelled Pakistan army to initiate the inquiry against him. Moreover, Mr. Durrani is allegedly a part of Asghar Khan Case. According to detail, Air Marshal (r) Asghar Khan had accused former army chief General (r) Mirza Aslam Beg and Durrani of corrupting the democratic process with money.

Read more: Interior ministry puts ex-spymaster Durrani’s name on Exit Control List

Following that, in 2012, the apex court ruled that “the 1990 general elections had been polluted by dishing out Rs140 million to a particular group of politicians only to deprive the people of being represented by their chosen representatives” and sent notices to 21 army officials and politicians.


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