How RAW helped secure release of ex ISI head’s son, book co-authored by former Indo-Pak spy chiefs contains shocking revelations

  • Osman Durrani was not put behind bars by Indian authorities despite flouting visa restrictions
  • RAW chief said in reference to Durrani, "It's our duty, after all, he's a colleague."
Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – In an unprecedented development, former spy chiefs of Pakistan and India have co-authored a book having a plethora of sensational disclosures about the security discourse of South-Asia and other issues of prominence.

The book named ‘The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace’ is written by General Asad Durrani and former chief of Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), A S Dulat and reveals shocking aspects of how the son of Asad Durrani, former Inter-Services Intelligence chief, was released after Indian spy agency RAW intervened in the matter.

It states that in May 2015, Osman Durrani came to Kochi (Indian port) for work on behalf of a German company and according to visa restrictions, he should have left the country from the city that he entered from but his office booked him from a flight back via Mumbai; he was detained by authorities in Mumbai following which 24 hours of backchannel networking helped release of Durrani’s son, despite the visa violation.

Asad Durrani, who is also making headlines in Pakistan due to Asghar Khan case, continues in the book that his family was in a panic because they were unaware of how events would unfold after the detention of his son.

“But even those people (Mumbai special branch) did not grill him about his Bombay visa and did not put him behind bars. That could have happened, but it didn’t,” stated Durrani.

The former spy chief recalled that in the meantime, his family was concerned about the consequences if someone reported that the son of a former ISI chief was roaming around Mumbai, at a time when the Indians hadn’t forgotten 26/11; even then he enlisted the help of Dulat.

“Dulat called several people including then RAW chief Rajinder Khanna. The Indian intelligence establishment sprung into action as Osman was stonewalled. Things however worked out and Osman was able to fly back to Germany after a day from Mumbai,” wrote Durrani.

In the page-turner, Dulat recalls that the most touching part of the incident was that when he called Khanna to thank him for his help, the RAW chief said in reference to Durrani, “It’s our duty, after all, he’s a colleague.”

The book is of pivotal importance especially in the backdrop of how both the neighbours harboured a grudge against each other, however, their spy chiefs were having cordial relations.

The rescue of Osman Durrani was also confirmed by his father in a brief interaction with a leading newspaper.

The book, which will be available in Pakistan soon, also sheds light on the so-called surgical strike of the Indian Army in Azad Kashmir, the arrest of Kalbhushan Jadev, Nawaz Sharif, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Kashmir, Muzaffar Burhan Wani Shaheed and Akhand Bharat plan of India.

Besides narrating the spine-chilling incidents, former Indian RAW chief AS Dulat – who served as the RAW boss from 1999-2000 – has reminded the Indian leadership to address the Kashmir issue first of all. Despite dim hopes, the book has also indicated the possibility of resumption of talks between Pakistan and India in the wake of forthcoming elections in the Muslim-majority nation.

The book is hitting the shelves days after Pakistan and India renewed the Track II diplomacy with an Indian delegation holding talks with a Pakistani team on April 28-30.

Although India claims that the recent efforts for detente did not signify any watering down of New Delhi’s position that terror and talks can’t go together, a senior bureaucrat privately admitted that such a dialogue would surely be at the behest of the government.

The Track II diplomacy is generally called Neemrana Dialogue, named after the fort in Rajasthan where it was first held in 1991, but it is brushed aside by New Delhi, with Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar saying that “…functional exchanges between the two sides have continued and is actually a part of normal process between the two countries. So there is nothing new which we see in this dialogue”.

First-ever public debate between ISI, RAW chiefs

The contents of ‘The Spy Chronicles’ will be unfurled in next few days, however, this is not the first time the top guns of spy agencies from both the countries have come closer.

In the public debate of its kind, the former spy chiefs of Pakistan’s top spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) sat together in October last year for an event titled ‘Spymasters Speak’.

The discussion was held in the packed Sheikh Zayed Theatre of the London School of Economics, where General (r) Ehsan ul Haq and Amarjit Singh Dulat talked about the challenges, limits and potential faced by spy agencies when it came to domestic and international security issues.

The gathering, arranged by South Asia Future Forum, was one of its kind for both countries which are deeply entrenched in long-standing rivalries, starting from the Kashmir conflict to the most recent episode involving Kulbhushan Jadhav.

Ex-ISI and RAW chief engage in debate for the first time ever at “Spymaster Speak” event at London School of Economics

Starting off the debate, General Ehsan stated that the Jammu & Kashmir dispute continued to haunt India-Pak relations, highlighting that terrorism was an issue that further strained the relationship between the two countries.

He said that the relations between Indian and Pakistan had deteriorated after the latest uprising in the restive valley, referring to the martyrdom of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, but hastened to add that the rebellion was to be expected as the Kashmir issue could not be washed away.

Ehsan also condemned the use of pellet guns in the valley, declaring that Kashmiris were living in a highly militarised zone.

“After many years, the tension in Kashmir has escalated Indo-Pak acrimony,” said the Pakistani representative.

He continued that the Indian bid to pacify the region did not prove successful, as a politico-humanitarian approach could solve the crisis.

The former ISI boss clarified that Pakistan was ready to fully cooperate on the issue of terrorism, and discuss ways to solve the problem.