Ex ISI Chief General Asad Durrani submitted an affidavit in the Islamabad high court to take out his name from the ECL list and allow him to fly out of the country. It has to be noted that after his book, Honour Among Spies, was published, the Military Intelligence (MI) had written to the interior ministry to put Durrani’s name on the ECL and the same was done in May 2018. The case is supposed to be taken up by the court in the second week of February 2021. The MoD has countered this application and asked the court not to remove his name from the ECL underlining that Durrani has been working with foreign elements like RAW since 2008 and that “certain contents concerning [the] national security of Pakistan, [were] in contravention of the provisions of the Official Secrets Acts, 1923” and his traveling out of Pakistan to attend any seminar or conference will be a threat to the national security of the country. Sami Abraham in this episode analyzed why this step by MoD is a significant development?
Sami Abraham pointed out that this is an important development because earlier, the powerful people were not questioned like Parvez Musharraf he was accused of breaking the constitution and laws of the country but he traveled out and no one could bring him back. There is a myth in Pakistan that only politicians are questioned and cornered for their acts but this plea by the MoD against the ex ISI chief not to remove his name from ECL has broken this myth and proves that Pakistan is changing and no one who acts against the country will be spared, even if they are from the government, opposition or the establishment. He pointed out that Asad Durrani was in the army for almost 32 years and held important positions; even then he could not escape scrutiny. Under Imran Khan and head of COAS Qamar Javed Bajwa, there is an effort to ensure accountability across the board. GHQ has also expressed its doubts over the removal of Asad Durrani’s name from the ECL list.
The view in Pakistan is that “The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace” coauthored with former RAW chief AS Dulat in 2018, was a problematic book. Durrani criticized the ISI in this book and pointed out that RAW was a better agency than ISI because, in RAW, the officers are intelligent while ISI is mostly run by people from the army. The analyst believed that this is a pointless argument and that in the war against the Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s, it was the ISI that helped Afghan Mujahedeen and helped them win the war against Russia. The whole World gave ISIS and Pakistan credit for pushing Russia out of Afghanistan but Durrani said RAW is better. Another anti-Pakistan statement given by Durrani was related to the Abbottabad attack on Osama Bin Laden; he said that the Pakistan army might have helped the SEAL to find Osama and may have taken money from the US in return. This is a serious accusation against the Pakistani army. He also said that there was a provision for running the book through the GHQ because Durrani was bound by his oath of secrecy but he did not go through this process.