Former spy chief Durrani moves IHC to strike name off ECL

Lt Gen (retd) Asad Durrani. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: The former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lieutenant General (retd) Asad Durrani on Monday requested the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to quash a memorandum placing his name on the Exit Control List (ECL).

Durrani, in the petition submitted through his counsel, said his sole intention to travel was to pursue his professional commitments and visit his children living abroad and added that he and his wife do not hold a nationality of any other country.

Earlier this year, on May 29, the government placed Durrani’s name on the ECL – a day after the Pakistan Army recommended imposing a travel ban on him. The decision to place his name was taken after Durrani appeared at the General Headquarters (GHQ) to clarify his stance pertaining to “The Spy Chronicles”, a book co-authored by Amarjit Singh Dulat, the former chief of Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

Former ISI chief Asad Durrani placed on ECL

Durrani’s counsel relayed that the petitioner retired from Pakistan Army in 1993 as a three-star general and since then he has served as Pakistan’s ambassador to Germany and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He added that Durrani has numerously represented Pakistan in various seminars, conferences and dialogues, both nationally and around the world.

According to the petition, respondents in the case are the federal government through the interior secretary, defence secretary and Qalandar Khan, the section officer of the Ministry of Interior.

The ECL order stated that the petitioner’s name is on the list due to an on-going inquiry. However, on May 29, Durrani said his name was placed on the ECL without any notice.

The petition added that the former spy chief, on September 5, requested the adjutant general of Pakistan Army to remove his name from ECL on account of professional commitments and that he and his wife wanted to visit their grandchildren living abroad.

After receiving no response, it added, Durrani requested the federal government on September 13 to review its decision. The counsel stated that both the respondents failed to respond to Durrani’s requests.

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The counsel maintained that Durrani retired from the army over 25 years ago and is not subject to the provisions of Pakistan Army Act, 1952. Therefore, any inquiry initiated against him has been done without jurisdiction and is illegal. He said Durrani has the right to enter a lawful profession and earn a living as guaranteed by Article 18 of the Constitution.

The former spy chief’s counsel further added that Durrani has numerously spoken, defended and represented the country’s position on matters of national and international importance and he has been invited to the Herat Security Dialogue to be held on October 26 and 27 in Herat, Afghanistan.

Before concluding, the counsel said the petitioner’s inability to travel will leave Pakistan unrepresented.

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