Retired Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani, who is also the former head of the formidable Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) believes that the Pakistani military’s involvement in political affairs is a reality and detrimental to the country in an interview given to BBC Urdu.
When asked about allegations of Pakistan’s military interfering in political affairs, the former ISI chief said that people were angry at the military’s interference in political affairs.
“People are angry with this intervention,” he said. Imran Khan’s biggest problem (about him) is the impression that he did not come himself, he came with a heavy burden. Some people don’t learn from history because they say we will make our own history.
According to Asad Durrani, “there is military intervention. Whether it should be or not is a debate that has not gone in any direction to date. The experience is that whenever the army intervened, the political parties that were tried to be kept out came back.
Citing an example, he said, “As Ayub Khan was supposed to keep Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto out, he came back and got elected. After Zia-ul-Haq, Bibi (Benazir Bhutto) came to visit. As soon as Musharraf came out, the two parties which he thought should be kept out, both the Pakistan People’s Party and the Muslim League-Nawaz, were elected after contesting the elections. So this (interference) is so harmful when you do (political) engineering. ‘
Previously, Asad Durrani’s name was found in the Exit Control List after he wrote The Spy Chronicles with former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief AS Dulat.
Asad Durrani was appointed Director-General of Military Intelligence in 1988. In 1990, he was appointed as DG ISI. Since retiring in 1993, he has also served as Pakistan’s ambassador to Germany and Saudi Arabia.
Asad Durrani is often the subject of controversy, whether it is about the information contained in his two published books or his statements about Osama bin Laden, which he calls his “analysis.”
As for the ongoing meetings of the United Opposition (PDM) against the present government, the leaders of the opposition parties are talking about the army interfering in political affairs.
Former Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, during a PDM meeting, directly accused the Pakistani army chief of overthrowing his government and making Imran Khan successful in the 2018 elections. He also alleged that the judiciary was prosecuting him at the behest of the army.
Speaking on the occasion, Asad Durrani said, “Even when they (the army) do not exist, it seems that they have a role to play. The ISI is an organization primarily for counterintelligence. Because it consists mostly of army personnel and service officers present, especially their chiefs. So if they get this kind of (political engineering) job, more or less, they can do it”.
Regarding the Pakistan Democratic Movement, he said, “Maulana Fazlur Rehman has the most experience in this field. Why would they listen to them (ie ISI) to sit down? The general impression is that there can be no (sit-in) without the ISI. As it was said before, nothing can happen without America.
On the current situation in Pakistan, he said, “Pakistan is facing internal problems and problems always remain. One thing is for sure, the most dangerous problem is inside.
Asad Durrani added, “Some people are politically angry at the moment. There is unrest in some areas, such as Balochistan. It faces political alienation.
“The economy is really bad. It’s not that when the economy recovers, everything recovers. But when the government is not trusted and it is said that it has brought the army and what kind of a leader is he who says on everything that I will take a u-turn, then I will become a leader, otherwise I will not become one. Goes back to everything. Such a government is not trusted. What has happened is that all these issues have come together,” the retired general said in the startling interview.