Posts Tagged ‘Kashmir’

India: Lawmaker Says Killing People in Kashmir is “No Achievement”

June 23, 2018

Kashmir crisis can not be resolved through operational and military means

SRINAGAR: National Conference (NC) vice president Omar Abdullah today said the NDA government’s claim that more militants were killed in Kashmir during its rule than in the UPA dispensation actually tells how it allowed militancy and violence to re-emerge in the Valley.

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Omar Abdullah

“Actually Minister Sahib this tells the story of how your government allowed militancy & violence to re-emerge in J&K forcing the security forces to kill more terrorists,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

The former J&K chief minister was reacting to Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad‘s tweet and statement that more militants were killed under the NDA government than in the UPA rule. Prasad said security forces had killed 72 and 67 militants in 2012 and 2013 under the UPA and the figure rose to 110 in 2014 when the BJP-led NDA came to power at the Centre.

He said the forces killed 108 militants in 2015, 150 in 2016, 217 in 2017 and 75 till May this year.

Omar said the increase in the number of militants killed was not an achievement.

“You should be embarrassed by these statistics not be claiming them as some achievement,” the NC vice president wrote.


Srinagar , 20 Jun 2018

National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah on Wednesday chaired a meeting of the Party’s Core Group at Party Headquarters ‘Nawa-e-Subha’ in Srinagar to discuss the prevailing situation and recent developments in the State.

Addressing reporters at the conclusion of the Core Group Meeting, Omar said the party sought the dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly to thwart attempts and plans of horse-trading as this would result in further erosion in the credibility of the democratic process and institutions in the State.In a statement issued to PTK, the National Conference Vice President said dialogue internally as well as externally was imperative and the political issue in Kashmir as well as the ensuing crisis could not be resolved through operational and military means.

Omar said there should be zero-tolerance for Human Rights Violations and the fundamental rights of the people should be upheld at all costs.

NC Vice President said the foremost concern should be to provide relief to the people of the State through a reconciliatory rather than confrontational approach and to work towards creating a peaceful, positive atmosphere in the State.In response to a question, the National Conference Vice President said Mehbooba Mufti’s Government would be remembered for its ruthless, anti-people legacy that fueled alienation in the Valley through its iron-fist approach to deal with widespread disenchantment and disillusionment that was stoked by PDP’s glaring ideological U-turns to remain in power.

Omar said PDP’s approach to deal with recurring crises in the Valley was an approach of denial, persecution and insensitivity evidenced by her silence on glaring human-rights violations where youth were used as human shields and mowed down by vehicles in stark contrast to the hollow rhetoric of the former Chief Minister.

He reiterated the party’s stand that it would neither seek support nor offer support for Government formation in the State and reiterated that the Assembly should be dissolved to thwart attempts of horse-trading which aim to discredit the aspirations of the people.

The Core Group Meeting was attended by National Conference General Secretary Haji Ali Muhammad Sagar, Additional General Secretary Dr. Sheikh Mustafa Kamal, Chief Spokesperson Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi, Provincial Presidents Nasir Aslam Wani and Devender Singh Rana, Senior Leaders Abdul Rahim Rather, Mubarak Gul, Muhammad Akbar Lone, Chaudhary Muhammad Ramzan, Ajay Sadhotra, S. S. Slathia, Sajjad Ahmed Kitchloo, Mushtaq Ahmed Bukhari, Mian Altaf Ahmed, Javed Ahmed Rana, Sakina Ittoo, Shameema Firdous and Shammi Oberoi. (PTK)


India to resume strikes on militants in held Kashmir

June 18, 2018

India said on Sunday it was resuming military operations against rebels in held Kashmir after a rare 30-day suspension for Ramazan expired, with a top minister blaming militant attacks.

Army operations were halted on May 16 at the start of the fasting month, despite a months-long escalation of violence in the Muslim-majority Himalayan region.

Troops would stop the pursuit of militants and door-to-door house searches but would still retaliate if attacked, officials said at the time.

“While the security forces have displayed exemplary restraint during this period, the militants have continued with their attacks, on civilians and SFs (security forces), resulting in deaths and injuries,” Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Twitter.

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Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh

“The security forces are being directed to take all necessary actions as earlier to prevent militants from launching attacks and indulging in violence,” Singh added.

“The government of India decides not to extend the suspension of operations” in held Kashmir, Singh’s office said in a separate statement on Twitter.

“The operations against militants to resume,” it added.

The government’s suspension had failed to halt the mounting death toll in India-held Kashmir, which is also claimed by Pakistan.

A youth died after being hit by a paramilitary vehicle during a demonstration. A number of militants and at least five soldiers or police were also killed in clashes.

One young Indian soldier from Kashmir, who was on leave for the end of Ramadan, was abducted and murdered by suspected militants.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a cabinet meeting on Thursday to discuss whether to extend the initiative, amid a heated debate on the move.

It was the first time in almost two decades that Indian authorities had suspended military operations against militants.

The killing of the abducted soldier and the shooting last week of a leading Kashmir editor, Shujaat Bukhari, put pressure on the government to resume operations.

The home minister said the suspension had been ordered “in the interests of the peace-loving people” of Kashmir “to provide them a conductive atmosphere to observe Ramadan”.

Violence in held Kashmir has escalated since Indian troops killed a top militant commander in 2016. Last year was the deadliest in the region for the past decade.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British rule in 1947 and the two nations have fought two wars over the territory.

Rebel groups seek independence or a merger of the territory with Pakistan.

India accuses Pakistan of arming the rebels but Islamabad says it only gives diplomatic and moral support.

Troops fire at anti-India protests in Kashmir, 1 killed

June 16, 2018

SRINAGAR, India — At least one man was killed and over a dozen others wounded on Saturday as protests against Indian rule followed by clashes erupted in Indian-controlled Kashmir shortly after Eid prayers, police and residents said.

Shouting slogans “Go India, go back” and “We want freedom,” hundreds of people began marching in the southern Anantnag area but were confronted by government forces firing tear gas, leading to clashes with stone-throwing protesters.

Indian policemen and paramilitary soldiers stand guard near the site of shootout in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Friday, June 15, 2018. (Dar Yasin/AP)

The use of force intensified as the protesters barraged police and paramilitary soldiers with a hail of stones while the troops fired shotgun pellets, injuring at least 17 people.

One young man among the injured died at a hospital. He suffered pellet injuries in his head and throat while at least other men were hit by pellets in their eyes, medics said.

Protests and clashes also were reported at several places across Kashmir, including the main city of Srinagar, after Eid prayers concluded.

Muslim Kashmiris on Saturday were celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan and its daytime fasting.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Kashmir, a disputed Himalayan territory divided between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan but claimed by both in its entirety. In recent years, the Indian-controlled portion has seen renewed rebel attacks and repeated public protests against Indian rule.

Rebels have been fighting Indian control since 1989, demanding that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, a charge Pakistan denies.

Most Kashmiris support the rebels’ cause while also participating in civilian street protests against Indian control. Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.

World Bank Urges Pakistan, India To Accept Neutral Expert in Dam Dispute

June 5, 2018

The World Bank has asked Pakistan to stand down from pursuing its stand of referring the Kishanganga dam dispute to the International Court of Arbitration (ICA) and instead accept India’s offer of appointing a “neutral expert”.

In a fresh communication last week, World Bank president Jim Yong Kim advised the government to withdraw from its stand of taking the matter to the ICA for which the bank had on Nov 10, 2016 even picked a US chief justice, the rector of Imperial College, London, and the WB president for appointing chairman of the court to resolve the dispute over the dam.

Pakistan considers the construction of the Kishanganga dam in India-held Kashmir over the waters flowing into the western rivers a violation of the Indus Waters Treaty 1960 since it will not only alter the course of the river but also deplete the water level of the rivers that flow into Pakistan. Thus the dispute should be referred to the international court of arbitration.

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On the other hand, India describes the issue as differences between it and Pakistan over the design of the dam and, therefore, it should be addressed by some neutral experts.

A source privy to the development told Dawn that Pakistan believed that acceding to India’s proposal of referring the dispute to neutral experts or withdrawing from its stand would mean closing the doors of arbitration and surrendering its right of raising disputes before international courts. “It will become a precedent and every time a dispute emerges between Pakistan and India, the latter will always opt for dispute resolution through neutral experts,” he said.

CJP Nisar says water will now be biggest priority of apex court

In Dec 12, 2016, the WB president had informed Pakistan through a letter to then finance minister Ishaq Dar that he had decided to “pause” the process of appointing the ICA chairman as well as the neutral expert.

At this, Mr Dar had lodged a strong protest with the World Bank telling it point-blank that Pakistan would not recognise the pause. He had asked the bank to play its due role in the matter.

Pakistan believes that on the one hand the World Bank has tied its hands from raising the dispute at the ICA, and on the other, it has not blocked the Indian effort to complete the construction of the dam.

The World Bank did not even heed to Pakistan’s concern when provided with satellite images during a number meetings with the bank that India was constructing the dam. The bank even denied Pakistan the opportunity to stay the construction of the dam.

In February last year, the World Bank further extended its pause until the secretary-level talks between the two countries bore some fruits. Subsequently, four rounds of talks were held in February, April, July and September in Washington in which the bank was willing to appoint an international court to determine which forum under the treaty was proper — arbitration or neutral experts. But India did not accept it, the source said.

The World Bank even declined Pakistan’s forceful plea on May 22, 2018, asking it to express concern by stating that it had “noted the inauguration of the Kishanganga Dam by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi”, the source added.

The 1960 treaty recognises the World Bank as an arbitrator in water disputes between India and Pakistan as the bank played a key role in concluding this agreement which allows India to have control over the water flowing into three eastern rivers — Beas, Ravi and Sutlej — also permitting India that it may use the water of western rivers — Chenab, Jhelum and Indus — but it cannot divert the same.

India considers this as a permission to build “run-of-the-river” hydel projects that neither change the course of the river nor deplete the water level downstream.

SC hearing on water scarcity

On Monday, a three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar directed the federal government to furnish a comprehensive report on reduced flow of the Neelum river because of the construction of the Kishanganga dam.

The court had taken up a petition filed by Barrister Zafarullah Khan of the Watan Party seeking its directive for construction of dams, including teh Kalabagh dam, to ameliorate the worsening water scarcity in the country.

The petitioner informed the court that for the past 48 years not a single dam had been built when 20 per cent of development in the country depended on the availability of water.

At this, the chief justice in a loud and clear message said that from now on the biggest priority of the court would be water and the court would hear matters relating to the scarcity of water and lack of initiative to build dams on Saturday in Karachi, on Sunday in Lahore and later in Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta.

The court is taking the issue of water scarcity very seriously and, while referring to the building of dams by India, regretted that the water level in the Neelum and Jhelum rivers had reduced considerably.

“We will be failing in our duty if we do nothing for posterity,” the chief justice observed. He regretted that not a single political party had ever mentioned the water crisis in their respective manifestos.

In his petition, Barrister Zafarullah highlighted that nobody was willing to sponsor loan to Pakistan to build Diamer-Basha dam that might cost $18-20 billion.

The petition regretted that instead of saving water in reservoirs, 35.5 million acre feet (MAF) of water was being drained to the sea annually. It said had Kalabagh dam been built, it would have saved 6.5MAF water annually in its reservoir which would be filled during the rainy season.

Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2018

US and Pakistan’s childish, tit-for tat behaviour is a departure from good sense

June 3, 2018

SO it has come to this: Pakistan and the US are treating diplomats to each other’s capitals as representatives of hostile states, much as Indian and Pakistani diplomats are treated in New Delhi and Islamabad.

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Hard vs Soft Power

June 02, 2018

This childish, tit-for tat behaviour is, if not a violation of the Vienna Convention governing diplomatic rights and obligations, certainly a departure from good sense. After all, missions overseas are established to improve relations, boost trade, and, yes, gather intelligence. But this last function is carried out by spooks who are usually attached to embassies, but their cover is well known to local counterparts.

So by curbing diplomats from carrying out their normal duties, how are we improving ties with countries we consider important, or those we would like to normalise relations with? US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has gone on record to register his protest about the treatment of American diplomats in Islamabad. I have no doubt our man in Washington — too new at the job as he took charge only this week — will soon have similar complaints against his hosts.

The overuse of hard power doesn’t necessarily win friends abroad.

But there was a time when diplomatic niceties were more scrupulously observed, and there was little harassment of the kind we see now. And while I don’t remember an American military attaché running a red light and killing a motorcyclist and injuring a passenger, there was little anti-American sentiment until the start of the Vietnam War,

My early memories of America were mostly formed by the United States Information Service (later the American Centre) library. Walking there with the books I had borrowed to exchange for new ones, my early reading consisted of Steinbeck, Faulkner and Norman Mailer. The Service also arranged concerts by some famous jazz musicians on tour.

So, yes, I was influenced by books I read at the USIS library as well as the British Council. Soft power certainly has a place in projecting a country’s image abroad. India is very good at it to the extent that its many problems have not dented its tourist numbers. We, on the other hand, are lousy practitioners of this obvious policy. But then, you have to have a decent product to sell before you can go global. Our image hardly tempts tourists to book the first flight to Pakistan.

Hard power, however, carries temptation of another kind. Well-armed states use their military capability to bully others into accepting their ideology, or to grant them concessions. Regime change is never off the agenda.

American hard power has been so overwhelming since the Second World War that it has become the policeman on the block in most corners of the world. Even under an isolationist like Trump, its forces continue to dominate the globe through hundreds of military bases. This preponderance has also reduced the importance of diplomacy: why bother talking to an adversary when you can bully or bomb it?

But the excessive use of hard power doesn’t necessarily win friends abroad. My disenchantment with America began with the Vietnam War, and has only deepened over the years, especially after its catastrophic interventions in the Middle East. Its current demonising of Iran is yet another example of a missed diplomatic opportunity.

In Pakistan, of course, the security establishment has long called the shots on how our relationship with important countries is to be conducted. This reduced input from the Foreign Office has rendered it impotent in the task of formulating and implementing a coherent foreign policy that’s in line with our true national interest.

And while countries like Israel, Saudi Arabia and America can afford not to bother much about international public opinion, Pakistan doe­sn’t enjoy this luxury. In fact, it needs all the friends it can get. But far from making friends, countries that once supported us on Kashmir have distanced themselves.

The transactional relationship that has formed the basis of our on-again, off-again alliance with the US is obviously transient. Ultimately, all alliances are formed to counter real or perceived threats. In the Second World War, the USSR was allied with its arch-enemies, the US and the UK, to defeat Nazi Germany. But once Hitler had fallen, the Soviet Union and the West were fighting the Cold War against each other.

In this sense, the Americans still need Pakistan because of our proximity to Afghanistan as we still provide the shortest route for military supply convoys. And we also allow US overflights to bases in Afghanistan. Pakistan, on the other hand, needs America for access to high-tech weapons systems. But once the Americans pull out of the neighbourhood, it is difficult to see why they would need us.

Nor should we forget that we have no cultural affinity with China, our ‘all-weather friend’, and ultimately, only rivalry with India has kept the informal alliance going.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2018

India and Pakistan Agree to Truce on Kashmir Border

May 31, 2018

India and Pakistan have declared a cease-fire along their disputed border in Kashmir, a move welcomed with uneasiness among the population in the area, where a series of such agreements have failed in the past.

The cease-fire was agreed to on Tuesday evening. If successful, it would temper border hostilities between nuclear-armed neighbors in a disputed region that has recently witnessed some of its worst violence in years. On Wednesday, a tense calm settled on the border separating the Indian-controlled part of the region, known as Jammu and Kashmir, from the Pakistani-held area.

Shelling has been a weekly part of life near the disputed Jammu and Kashmir, which stretches for about 1,200 miles .CreditChanni Anand/Associated Press

Civilians displaced by the violence cautiously contemplated returning to their homes on Wednesday, waiting to see whether violence would resume. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in recent years along the straggling boundary, which stretches for about 1,200 miles. Cross-border shelling has been a weekly part of life.

Eager to restart their lives and return home, many were hopeful that the truce would stick, but not confident.

Read the rest:


Lessons Learned: Blunders committed in isolation (without consultation with other government institutions)

May 30, 2018

A few military generals planned and conducted the operation without taking other institutions in the country into confidence.

‘From Kargil to the coup: Events that shook Pakistan’ by Nasim Zehra

Speakers at a book launch on Tuesday emphasised the need for learning a lesson from the Kargil military operation which they said was a blunder committed in isolation (without consultation with other institutions) in the country and without anticipating the world response to it.

A few military generals planned and conducted the operation without taking other institutions in the country into confidence. The then prime minister also went to Washington without consulting any other national institution to settle the issue with President Clinton in a one-on-one meeting. Now is the time to learn from such mistakes and jointly bring the country out of choppy waters without indulging in the civil-military conflict any more, was the nutshell of views expressed by the speakers at the launch of ‘From Kargil to the Coup’ written by journalist Nasim Zehra at a local hotel.

Read: When Pakistan and India went to war over Kashmir in 1999

To start with, the writer dispelled the impression that the launch coincided with the present political (civil-military) situation. “I am launching it just when it is complete,” she said.

Launch of Nasim Zehra’s book on Kargil war

Former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar said it was foolish to repeat mistakes wondering if any lesson was learnt from the Kargil operation in the country’s war colleges. There existed other institutions in the country (other than the military) when the operation was conducted but they were wary of one another. “Four people decided the operation without estimating its consequence. In fact they did not have the ability to think of it,” she said.

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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is greeted by army chief General Pervez Musharraf on arrival at the snow-clad town of Kail on the border in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir in this February 5, 1999 file photo. — Reuters

She said the decision-makers did not anticipate how India, China, the USA and the UN would think of it and moved forward Pakistani soldiers into Kargil even without a withdrawal strategy. Withdrawing Pakistani forces from Kargil without any cover was wrong. Similarly, what Nawaz Sharif did as the prime minister in this connection was also wrong, she said.

Retired Lt Gen Ghulam Mustafa said military and political leadership were not on the same page when the Kargil operation was conducted. “We need to handle such situations collectively,” he said.

The civil-military divide which the country witnessed at the time of the Kargil operation still exists. “Why don’t we come out of it,” he asked rhetorically.

He said the enemy was making concerted efforts to harm Pakistan but “our nation stands divided.” It’s high time concerted efforts were put in to handle the enemy, he said.

Militarily speaking, he said, the objective of the Kargil operation was not wrong. Had there been proper planning and full logistical support, the operation could have delivered the desired results of clogging the support line of India in Kashmir, he believes.

He said as a soldier he always dreaded Indian military’s habit of introspection and learning from all wars with Pakistan including the one it won in 1971. “We never did this,” he said.

Former foreign secretary Salman Bashir explained how he worked for a composite dialogue with India in 1997 and said there was an absence of institutional (collective) decision in the Kargil operation. There was a certain naivety at the national level, he said, contesting Gen Musharraf’s claim that the Kargil operation flagged up the Kashmir issue. “How a superpower or the UN could resolve the Kashmir issue… thinking of it was naivety, “ he said. He said Musharraf had in fact followed in Nawaz’s footsteps in normalising relations with India.

Prof Ayesha Jalal said the book was like a thriller as it chronicles the Kargil events as they unfolded. Terming the Kargil operation a misadventure, she asked, “why Pakistan never learns from its mistakes. It is in the habit of hushing up follies like the Kargil operation and the Operation Gibraltar of 1965 in the name of national interest. Those who took the decision (of Kargil) had a myopic view of the world, and pushed Pakistan to an armed conflict. Pakistan needs to move ahead without indulging in who is superior,” she said.

Journalist Arif Nizami said by removing Gen Musharraf, Nawaz Sharif had underestimated the army. He went to Washington to negotiate with President Clinton on the issue without any institutional consultation, appearing nervous and shaky in the White House. Pakistan did not gain anything from the Kargil operation strategically. Musharraf had blamed Nawaz Sharif for sabotaging the Kargil operation, he said.

Nasim Zehra said she had tried to objectively chronicle the Kargil events as they occurred and dispelled the impression that the operation was a part of a plan to oust Nawaz Sharif. In fact, Musharraf was given another important office after the operation, she said, adding that the book was an attempt to find out what the country did wrong.

Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2018

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Book launch by Nasim Zehra: ‘From Kargil to the coup: Events that shook Pakistan’

Pakistan Army to investigate former ISI chief over claims in book

May 29, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Army on Monday set up a ‘court of inquiry’ to investigate former director general of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) retired Lt Gen Asad Durrani’s collaboration with A.S. Dulat, former chief of Indian spy agency RAW (Research and Analysis Wing), in what is being seen as a lightning-rod book project that has stirred heated controversy, and asked the government to impose travel ban on him (Gen Durrani).

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“A formal court of inquiry headed by a serving lieutenant general has been ordered to probe the matter in detail. Competent authority has been approached to place the name of Lieutenant General Asad Durrani (retd) on Exit Control List (ECL),” ISPR Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor tweeted.

Asks govt to place Durrani’s name on exit control list

Mr Durrani had earlier been “called to” the General Headquarters to provide his personal clarification over his involvement in the book project and the assertions that he has made in the book. The book The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI, and the Illusion of Peace was last week launched in India. It contains conversations between Mr Durrani and Mr Dulat that were mediated by an Indian journalist.

Also read: The former ISI chief should be willing to justify what he has written

The two former spies have in the book touched upon some of thorny issues that have kept Pakistan-India ties strained for decades and at times pushed them to the brink of war. These issues include terrorism, particularly the Mumbai attacks, Kashmir, spy wars and the influence of defence bureaucracies and spy agencies in the two countries.

The military is taking it as a potential case of violation of ‘Military Code of Conduct’, which it says is applicable to all serving and retired military personnel. Section 55 of the Military Law, which relates to “conduct unbecoming of an officer” is considered to have a very wide scope.

The court of inquiry would look into the book and determine if its content and Mr Durrani’s involvement with the book was culpable and then based on its findings it would make recommendations to the army chief on how to proceed further with the matter.

In the worst-case scenario, former military officers fear, court martial proceedings could be initiated against him. If the army chief determines that there is sufficient ground to start court martial, then the process would begin with the recording of the summary of evidence.

“It is the first stage in the process in which the court would examine the available evidence and find if some wrong has been committed,” a retired military officer explained, adding it was more of an official inquiry.

Although no time frame has been provided for the court, but another retired officer said such courts usually worked on a daily basis.

The book contains several controversial statements attributed to Mr Durrani, including those on the independence enjoyed by ISI in its decision making, the 2011 US Special Forces Operation in which terror kingpin and Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was eliminated, the possible eventual outcome of spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case and probably the way the Kashmir movement was planned to be controlled, but many believe that he did not spill any classified secrets.

Defence analysts, however, say he could be at fault for not getting prior permission for the book and then not getting his part vetted and cleared by the army, which is the usual procedure.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2018


Pakistan, India former spy chiefs’ allegations necessitate disciplinary committee

May 28, 2018

TWO former spy chiefs across the seemingly unbridgeable Pakistan-India divide in conversation with a writer was an unusual enough premise for a book.

Guaranteed to draw widespread interest and likely to stir debate if the subjects of the book offered candour instead of guarded comments, Spy Chronicles appears to have led to more controversy than either the Indian or the Pakistani state seem willing to accept.

Retired Gen Asad Durrani, the ISI chief between August 1990 and March 1992, and embroiled in the Mehrangate election rigging scandal yet again, has been summoned to GHQ tomorrow to explain comments he has made in the recently published book co-authored with former RAW chief A.S. Dulat.


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DG ISPR Gen Asif Ghafoor has tweeted that Mr Durrani will be “asked to explain his position on his views attributed to him” in the book and suggested that a “violation of the Military Code of Conduct” has been committed by the former spy chief.

In the absence of any details so far about which statements attributed to Mr Durrani in the book are considered a violation of the code of conduct, further information by the military, presumably after Mr Durrani’s appearance before a disciplinary committee in GHQ, are necessary.

Mr Durrani’s comments in the book are now a part of the public record and so should the official complaint against him be made public.

Obfuscation and non-disclosure at this juncture will only deepen and prolong controversy.

Following former prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s recent hard-hitting allegations against sections of the state, Mr Durrani’s comments indicate a propensity by the state to push out from the national discourse — at least the controlled, public aspects of it — topics that are uncomfortable for the state or for the powerful individuals within it. That must change.

Nawaz Sharif is the only three-term prime minister in the country’s history and Mr Durrani is a veteran spymaster who has maintained a public profile more than two decades after retirement from the military.

Both men will clearly be aware of some genuine state secrets, but both can be assumed to have a good understanding of what is unquestionably damaging to the country when discussed in public and what may be painful for some to hear but that must be explored and exposed in the true national interest.

In the more immediate case of Mr Durrani, now that he has gone on the record with his book, he should speak publicly about his motivations for agreeing to the joint venture and his intentions in claiming what he has in the book.

Spy chiefs and ex-premiers in more advanced democracies have routinely published memoirs and written books on policy matters without stirring too much controversy.

In fact, such books are seen as an effort to aid the public historical record. Mr Durrani should be willing to justify what he has written.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2018


Pakistan military summons ex-spy chief over book controversy

May 26, 2018

Pakistan’s army has summoned the ex-head of the intelligence agency, accusing him of violating the military code of conduct over a book he co-authored with the former spy chief of arch rival India.

Retired Lieutenant General Asad Durrani, who headed Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) from 1990 to 1992, also came under fire from former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for allegedly disclosing national secrets in the book.

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Asad Durrani

In a surprise move, Durrani co-authored “The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of peace” with A.S. Dulat, the ex-chief of India’s Research and Analysis Wing intelligence agency.

The book is based on a series of discussion between Durrani and Dulat with Indian journalist Aditya Sinha on various topics including Afghanistan, Kashmir and the tense relations between Pakistan and India.

Military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said Durrani had been called to the general headquarters on May 28 — and “will be asked to explain his position on views attributed to him in book ‘Spy Chronicles'”.

“Attribution taken as violation of Military Code of Conduct applicable on all serving and retired military personnel,” the spokesman added.

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Durrani was summoned after Sharif Friday criticised him for disclosing secrets in the book.

Sharif apparently tried to draw a parallel between Durrani’s revelations and his own statement suggesting Pakistani militants were behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which sparked a firestorm at home and in India and was later slammed by Pakistan’s National Security Council.

The former prime minister had approached what is seen as a red line by touching on criticism of Pakistan’s powerful armed forces, especially their alleged use of proxies in India, in his interview with Dawn newspaper published last week.

“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 told Pakistan’s leading English daily, referring to stalled court cases against several suspects.

The Mumbai attacks left 166 people dead and brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war.

Media reports said Durrani had admitted Pakistan’s role in the unrest in Indian-administered Kashmir in the book.

Sharif had called for the National Security Council to convene over Durrani’s views in the book and accused the general of disclosing classified information.

Sharif was ousted from the premiership by the Supreme Court last July but his party remains in power.