Defense ministry maintains Asad Durrani’s name should be kept on no-fly list over his involvement in ‘anti-state’ activities
Pakistan’s Ministry of Defense has opposed an application seeking the removal of former spymaster Lt. Gen. (retd.) Asad Durrani’s from the Exit Control List by alleging that he had been regularly interacting with “hostile elements” since 2008.
Durrani, a former director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was accused of betraying national secrets after he co-authored The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace with former India spy chief A.S. Dulat in 2018. In its written reply to the Islamabad High Court, the Ministry of Defense said his name should remain on the no-fly list due to his “involvement in anti-state activities” and interactions with India’s Research and Analysis Wing.
The ministry’s response states that Durrani was with the Pakistan Army for 32 years, during which he was posted on several key and sensitive positions. It said the inquiry against Durrani was ongoing and was now in its “final phase,” adding that it was too early to remove his name from the ECL. It claimed that the book he had co-authored with his Indian counterpart was reviewed from a security perspective and had been found to be against the interests of Pakistan by an inquiry board.
“Moreover, the petitioner also appeared on social media on Oct. 12 and 13, 2020, and expressed his views, which of course cannot be well received by any patriotic citizen,” it claimed.
The defense ministry’s reply recalled that Durrani was placed on the ECL in 2019 on its request, adding that his intent to travel abroad to participate in international conferences, forums and talks shows could pose serious national security implications. It cited the book he published last year—Honor Among Spies—as having been “published through Indian publishers/RAW supported elements.” The book has been widely described as a thinly-veiled account of his own troubles with the armed forces following the publication of The Spy Chronicles.
According to the defense ministry, existing laws do not permit a person to be allowed to leave the country if they have been accused of planning a conspiracy against the state. It emphasized that Durrani’s name should be retained on the ECL. “Durrani had submitted an affidavit committing to refrain from such activities, which is still not tangible,” it added.