ISLAMABAD: Major General (retd) Mahmud Ali Durrani, a former national security adviser to the prime minister, has disclosed that the much-talked about decision to reveal the identity of Ajmal Kasab, the lone survivor of Mumbai terror attacks, to the media was his own, but that it was taken after consultations with all important officials, including ISI chief Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pas ha.
Gen (retd) Durrani was unceremoniously removed from his post in Jan 2009 by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for publicly disclosing Ajmal Kasab’s nationality.
“I did not issue the statement on his (Pasha’s) directive. However, I did consult him” and there was an understanding between the two of us that the identity of Kasab should be revealed as most people were already aware of it,” Mr Durrani said in an exclusive interview with DawnNews television.
Asked why he had issued such a sensitive statement, Mahmud Durrani said, “I am not a fool. Before giving the statement I consulted all relevant quarters”.
In reply to a question whether he felt that he was made a scapegoat, Gen (retd) Durrani said the prime minister was a “peer sain” who issued a “royal order without even listening to me”. Mr Gilani issued the orders on hearsay and did not even speak to him, he added. He said Mr Gilani had no powers to remove him as only the president could do so.
Asked if he spoke to the president after his ouster as he was appointed by Mr Zardari, Durrani said President Zardari made him a phone call. However, he refused to divulge the details of his discussion with President Zardari. Talking about the WikiLeaks controversy in which Durrani was accused of handing over the notes of an in camera session of parliament in 2008, he said it was incorrect that he had handed over any documents to Anne Paterson, the then US Ambassador to Pakistan.
Durrani, while referring to a WikiLeaks cable released recently, denied that he had accused the ISI of having a hand in an attack on the Indian High Commission in Kabul in 2008. According to the cable, Mahmud Durrani, in his meeting with Indian National Security Adviser M. K. Narayanan in 2008, had alleged the Inter Services Intelligence had a role in the bomb attack on the Indian High Commission.