Saturday, May 26, 2018

Lt Gen (retd) Asad Durrani summoned to GHQ for violating military's code of conduct

'[Durrani] will be asked to explain his position on views attributed to him in book Spy Chronicles', DG ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor says


RAWALPINDI: Lieutenant General (retd) Asad Durrani, the former chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has been summoned to the Pakistan Army's General Headquarters (GHQ) to explain his position on the views attributed to him in his book The Spy Chronicles, a spokesperson for the Pakistani military confirmed Friday.

"Lt Gen (retd) Asad Durrani [is] being called to the GHQ on 28th May, 2018," Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, the director-general (DG) of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), wrote on Twitter.

"[Durrani] will be asked to explain his position on views attributed to him in book 'Spy Chronicles'."

Maj Gen Ghafoor further said the "attribution [is] taken as [a] violation of Military Code of Conduct applicable on all serving and retired military personnel".

The development comes hours after former premier Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani voiced their reservations over the book.

Speaking to journalists in Islamabad on Friday, Sharif demanded that an emergency meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) be summoned over the book written by Durrani.

The former premier said a trustworthy national commission should be constituted to look over such matters.

Rabbani, who formerly served as the chairman of the Senate of Pakistan, also severely criticised the teaming up of former chiefs of Pakistan and India’s spy agencies to write the book.

"A book co-authored by former chief of India’s spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) AS Dulat and ex-chief of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant General (retd) Asad Durrani has recently been published," said Rabbani, while addressing a Senate session on Friday.

"It is shocking that on one hand Pakistan and India relations are at an all-time low and on the other hand, former spy chiefs of both the countries are teaming up to write a book."

Rabbani further lashed out, saying there would have been a "hue and cry" had a civilian or a politician teamed up with a counterpart to write a book similar to Dulat and Durrani’s.

"Had a politician done the same thing he would have been labelled a traitor," he asserted.

On May 14, a meeting of the NSC had been called over Sharif’s statement on the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

In an interview to Dawn newspaper recently Sharif had said: "Militant organisations are active. Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai?

"Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial?"

Sharif's remarks were played up by the Indian media as an admission of Pakistan's involvement in the terrorist attacks, even though similar questions and statements have been raised from civilian and security officials in Pakistan earlier.

Following the backlash on international and local media, army spokesperson Maj Gen Ghafoor had said on Twitter the army had "suggested" that the NSC meeting be called to clarify the country's stance on the statement.

Analysts' views

Defence analyst Shehzad Chaudhry, in his response to the latest development, said that it's not just the military that could inquire into whoever speaks against the state, but a citizen could also go to a court of law against the person. 

Irshad Bhatti termed the decision correct, saying the former spy chief should be summoned to the court and punished as well.

Maj Gen (retd) Aijaz Awan said it is good to impeach a person. "There is no expiry date of the military's oath.

"If the book has such revelations that fall into the category of an official secret act, then a punishment should be given," Awan added.