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Pakistan would have understood if India retaliated after Mumbai attacks, says Pak ex-spy chief

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Asad Durrani has been summoned to the Pakistani army headquarters Monday, as the book he co-authored with former Indian spy chief A.S. Dulat makes waves.

New Delhi: A book by two former spymasters from India and Pakistan is continuing to make waves, with the Pakistani army spokesperson Maj-Gen Asif Ghafoor tweeting Friday that the General Headquarters (GHQ) had summoned the Pakistani author, former intelligence chief Gen Asad Durrani, to explain his position.

Ghafoor is clear about what he wants, which is an explanation on why Durrani, who should have known better, has violated the military code of conduct applicable to both serving and retired personnel. There’s no such thing as peacetime jhappi-pappi — once a spy, always a spy.

The book, The Spy Chronicles : RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace, was launched earlier this week in New Delhi, amid a high-profile setting that included a former prime minister (Manmohan Singh), a former vice-president (Hamid Ansari), a former external affairs and finance minister (Yashwant Sinha), and a former RAW chief (K.M. Singh).

Now, none other than former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif is using the revelations in the book as a lifeline. Having been banned from politics for life by the Supreme Court, and having been severely castigated for an interview in Dawn newspaper recently (in which he said, “should we allow them (non-state actors) to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai?”), Sharif has now asked for a National Security Council (NSC) meeting to discuss the book.

An NSC meeting, called in the wake of his Mumbai remarks, had been so rough on the former PM that a lesser man would have been felled by the body blow.

So what does the book say that is stirring the tea leaves in Pakistan?

1. Former RAW chief A.S. Dulat talks of how he and Durrani got a bottle of whiskey from Durrani’s car in Islamabad in 2011 — three years after the Mumbai attacks — and discussed the possible fallout of another attack. Durrani concedes here that “India had to retaliate” but that “it could be managed”.

“It was interesting,” says the former RAW chief. “Here was a former ISI chief with a considerable reputation, suggesting how to choreograph surgical strikes. How can a person get more candid?”

2. Durrani admits that the Pakistani position on Kulbhushan Jadhav, the former Indian naval officer accused of spying, was linked to the Indian position of connecting the 1 January, 2016, Pathankot attacks to the Pakistani military.

3. Durrani concedes that Nawaz Sharif didn’t have full knowledge of the Kargil operation but may have been part of one of two early meetings. He adds that the Musharraf-led operation was a disaster from the beginning, as it was always clear that Kargil “lay this side” of the Line of Control (within India).

4. Dulat admits that it was RAW that tipped off the ISI, which averted the terrorist attack against Pakistani army chief Pervez Musharraf soon after the 9/11 attacks.

5. Durrani talks about the conversations between former army chief Hamid Gul and then PM Narasimha Rao’s principal secretary A.N. Verma on the possibility of a solution to Kashmir. He adds that such conversations also took place between himself and former RAW chief G.S. Bajpai in 1991 as well as between former RAW chief C.D. Sahay and his spy counterpart, Ehsanul-Haq, after the 2003 ceasefire.

6. Durrani admits that Pakistan is not going and won’t go after the Haqqani terror network as that would be “suicidal” for the country.

7. Durrani admits that Pakistan’s handling of Balochistan has been faulty from the start. That, although the Pakistan state can control it through force, the state’s corruption is making this increasingly difficult.

8. Durrani states that the Agra summit failed because “all the eggs” were placed in former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s basket, rather than L.K. Advani, then deputy PM, who had been instrumental in making the summit happen.

9. Durrani talks of how the Pakistanis collaborated with the US on “taking out” Osama bin Laden from his three-storey home in Abbottabad, located within shouting distance of the Kakul military academy. Durrani doesn’t name who “leaked” the information to the Americans, but he says he knows.

10. Durrani says he told Musharraf that he should not undertake a coup against Nawaz Sharif but handle it differently. “Even banana republics nowadays have a façade of democracy,” he says.

11. Musharraf is described by the Americans as “he’s a good guy, English-speaking, whiskey-drinking, we can do business with him”.

12. Durrani, right towards the end, blames the media. “Media is the enemy of peace. If there is peace, the media will lose their jobs. Channels will close down. Many who go yap-yap-yap and shout their heads off will not get a second look.”


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  1. It is almost unbelievable that SPY MASTERS of India and Pakistan are so friendly. Ye to ‘mili bhagat’ wala maamla hua. Very strange.

  2. Lol . Are you saying all this is a RAW ( Brahmin / Bania ) conspiracy where the innocent Punjabi Mussalman / Pashtun have been effectively entrapped and compromised?

  3. What he said or what Mr Nawaz Sharif has been saying carry no credibility as they were never privy to the information they are “revealing” but they very successfully made effective gains; they made the country and its institutions talk of the town. There should be some institution who should reign in this general.
    This is the time for our armed forces to make it clear; if you cross the line, you will pay dearly no matter you’re a general, a judge, a prime minster or a media mogul. To read the story in full perspective, visit:

    • The head of ISI does not know what went on in his bailiff? Is that what you are saying?
      All kinds of things happen which are kept concealed from the public,
      Both facts and inferences from these based on experience are used to take decisions considered in the best interest of the country at that time. If the decision turns out right, an unsung hero is acclaimed. And vice versa.
      If one is to learn any lessonlesson from mistakes then facts have to be placed before those likely to face similar scenarios in the future, and case studies prepared.
      However kiss-and-tell stories for the general public whuch merely titillate without any other useful purpose, must be examined to see if it is just an immature disclosure, or whether there is a deeper motive to it.
      Spy masters well know they never have the luxury of idle gossip even when retired. They simply know too much.

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