RAWALPINDI: In an unprecedented move, Pakistan's military has barred an ex-spy chief from leaving the country, after ordering a probe into a book he co-authored with a former counterpart from rival India.
Asad Durrani, who headed the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency from August 1990 till March 1992, along with former RAW chief A.S. Dulat has recently published the book titled The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace in India.
An army statement said Monday the former ISI Chief was summoned to the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi for an explanation over the recently launched book attributed to him.
"A formal court of inquiry headed by a serving Lt. General has been ordered to probe the matter in detail," the army announced, and added "competent authority" has been instructed to place Durrani's name on an Exit Control List.
The list contains names of people facing legal proceedings and probes in Pakistan to prevent them from fleeing the country.
The Pakistan army maintained Durrani's role in the book was being "taken as a violation of Military Code of Conduct applicable on all serving and retired military personnel."
Durrani has been under fire at home, particularly from ex-military officials for teaming up with the former Indian spy chief to write the book at a time when relations between the two countries are at a low and deadly clashes in the disputed Kashmir region have raised regional military tensions.
The book, penned in a casual dialogue format between the two ex-spy chiefs moderated by Indian journalist Aditya Sinha, reveals some startling pieces of information about Kashmir, India and Pakistan's tense relations, spies and clandestine agencies, politics and heads of states, to doctrines, Afghanistan, Russia, the US, and bin Laden.
Durrani has expressed dismay at his "own people" after facing severe backlash over the book. He was also targeted by some retired senior army officers on different TV talk shows.
Lt Gen retired Abdul Qayyum and Maj Gen retired Ijaz Awan questioned the motive behind releasing the book on the internet.
Durrani was apparently summoned after ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif demanded an urgent meeting of the high-powered National Security Committee (NSC) to discuss the book.
Also, former chairman Senate Raza Rabbani and prominent leader of Pakistan Peoples Party criticised the joint book by rival spy chiefs and said if it was written by a civilian, he would have been branded a traitor.
Pakistani army officials reportedly have objected to some of the comments in the book, dismissing them as baseless and contrary to facts, but they gave no further explanation for Monday's actions against Durrani.
It is widely perceived in Pakistan that politicians and activists campaigning for a peaceful relationship with India are declared traitors and maligned allegedly at the behest of the military and ISI to discourage peace efforts, but retired as well as serving army officers are not held accountable for undertaking similar activities.
The controversial book discusses ISI's alleged links to Muslim militants in Kashmir. Durrani has also suggested the Pakistani military leadership at the time covertly assisted the United States in conducting the famous 2011 raid in the city of Abbottabad that killed al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden.
U.S. leaders maintain the raid was conducted without Pakistan's knowledge and they have found no evidence Pakistan officials were aware of bin Laden's presence in the country.
In the book, Durrani has revealed that track-II diplomacy was in place since long aimed at averting war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
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