IHC asks for govt reply to Durrani’s plea seeking ECL relief

Updated 21 Nov 2020

Email

In 2018, the Military Intelligence had written to the interior ministry to put the name of former ISI chief retired Lt-Gen Asad Durrani on the no-fly list for coauthoring a book with the former chief of RAW. — Aljazeera/File
In 2018, the Military Intelligence had written to the interior ministry to put the name of former ISI chief retired Lt-Gen Asad Durrani on the no-fly list for coauthoring a book with the former chief of RAW. — Aljazeera/File

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday sought a reply from the ministry of interior on a petition seeking removal of the name of former director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) retired Lt-Gen Asad Durrani from the Exit Control List (ECL).

IHC Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani last year issued the directive to the interior ministry for deciding the representation of Mr Durrani.

The interior ministry, however, in October last year rejected the representation. Mr Durrani then filed another petition against placing of his name on the ECL.

During the course of hearing on Friday, Mr Durrani’s counsel argued that the government had put the name of the ISI’s former chief on the ECL in connection with an inquiry related to a book he co-authored with a former chief of Indian spy agency RAW (Research and Analysis Wing).

He pointed out that the inquiry has since been concluded and Mr Durrani had also been punished accordingly; however, his name was still on the ECL.

IHC Justice Kayani remarked that the government had already stopped pension and post-retirement privileges of Mr Durrani and wondered what they wanted to achieve by keeping his name on the no-fly list.

“If you have decided to send him behind bars, then it would be a different case,” remarked the judge.

He directed the interior ministry to explain the reason for keeping the spymaster’s name on ECL.

Additional Attorney General Tariq Mehmood Khokhar told the court that he would seek instruction from the federal government and apprise the court on the next date of hearing.

Subsequently, the court adjourned hearing in this matter till Dec 4.

It may be mentioned that in 2018 the Military Intelligence (MI) had written to the interior ministry to put Mr Durrani’s name on the Exit Control List (ECL) for co-authoring a book, "The Spy Chronicles", with Amarjit Singh Dulat, former chief of the Indian spy agency RAW.

On Feb 28 last year, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani of the IHC had directed the federal government to decide his representation pending before the interior ministry for review of the decision to place his name on the ECL.

Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2020