ISLAMABAD: The defence ministry informed the Islamabad High Court on Friday that since it had initiated two more inquiries against a former director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), retired Lt Gen Asad Durrani, his name was retained on the Exit Control List (ECL).

His name was placed on the no-fly list last year after he co-authored a book with a former chief of Indian spy agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

In February this year, a military spokesman annou­nced that Gen Durrani had been found guilty of violating the military code of conduct. He said a court of inquiry was ordered against Gen Durrani for co-authoring the controversial book with Amarjit Singh Dulat. Subsequently, a military court stripped him of pension and other post-retirement benefits.

In May, Gen Durrani filed a petition in the IHC, seeking removal of his name from the ECL. He argued that since the case against him had concluded, there was no need to retain his name of the no-fly list.

Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani of the IHC, while disposing of his petition, had directed the federal government to decide his representation filed with the interior ministry for review of its decision to place his name on the ECL.

Gen Durrani had last month filed a contempt of court petition against the interior secretary for not complying with its order.

The court had on Oct 15 directed the ministry to submit compliance report to its order.

On Friday, the deputy interior secretary informed the IHC that the matter of Gen Durrani was placed before a cabinet committee which decided to retain his name on the ECL. He said a speaking order had also been filed on the representation of Gen Durrani.

A defence ministry official informed the court that the competent authority had ordered two separate inquiries against the former ISI director general which were in progress. He said the defence ministry would summon Gen Durrani in connection with these inquiries and, therefore, his presence in the country was indispensable.

The Military Intelligence wrote to the interior ministry last year to put Gen Durrani’s name on the ECL for co-authoring The Spy Chronicles with A.S. Dulat.

Gen Durrani, who headed the ISI from August 1990 to March 1992, was also summoned to the General Headquarters in May when a formal court of inquiry, headed by a serving lieutenant general, was set up to probe the matter. He was asked to explain his position on views attributed to him in the book.

In an earlier petition filed in the IHC, the former ISI chief’s counsel said his client was invited to the GHQ over “a cup of tea”. He said Gen Durrani wanted to go abroad, but couldn’t do so because his name was on the ECL.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2019