The Spy Chronicles RAW, ISI And The Illusion of Peace, has proven to be an unprecedented development in an atmosphere where a notion promulgating utter despise against one another stands firm. The recent revelations disclosed through this memoir authored by the former spy chiefs of the most hostile neighbours –Pak and India– have strangled both the states yet another time, to debate the long-haunting issues that have always remained the cause of rifts between these two neighbours.

The outrage caused by the exposé in the book would’ve never made any difference if our former spy chief hadn’t gotten too far in demeaning the stance of Pakistan’s military over some issues of national integrity. Cases, such as Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case, Mumbai Attacks, Kashmir’s dilemma are the ones where there is no silver lining which could abate the severity of the consequences being faced by Pakistan in general. It is a fact that Kulbhushan Jadhav was a serving officer of the Indian Navy deployed in Pakistan to cause unrest and to carry out several campaigns of espionage. In recent events following the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, Lt Col Mohammed Habib Zahir from Pakistan Military has gone missing in Nepal.

Even though Pakistani embassy has made several pleas to locate the missing military personnel, India seems to have turned a deaf ear to all the requests made also via diplomatic channels as well. Several intelligence sources have confirmed that Lt Col Habib is being held in RAW custody yet they keep denying this fact. Does it, in any way, support the idea of cooperative endeavour which is being claimed to be the crux of the said book? Violating the clauses of UN human charter is what India has been doing no matter whether its the case of Lt Col Habib or Kashmir. Ironically, not even once, both the spy chiefs in their follow-up interviews have ever mentioned the missing colonel’s name nor did they stated their views on the recent excuses being made by the Indian government.

The comradeship between both spy chiefs is not to be questioned because it’s a personal matter of their own. Undoubtedly, Pakistan army, if not always, most of the times have proven to be the saviour of the country. Casting aside a few notorious generals who damaged the reputation of the institution, others have always stayed loyal to the state and to the cause for which they have ever fought in the line of duty. Following our former spy chief’s stance on Mumbai attacks, in which he blatantly accuses Pakistan’s to be an accomplice, seems to have forgotten the sacrifices of his comrades in the same military which honoured him to be worthy of holding one of the most prestigious chairs in the country. 168 brave soldiers of Pakistan, some even as young as 22-years, embraced Shahadat and 454 soldiers were injured in the Operation Rah-e-Rast, conducted in May 2009 to curb the militancy from Swat Valley. After sweeping the terrorist elements from Swat Valley, the military set out to lead another grand operation, Rah-e-Nijat, in South Waziristan in which the toll amounted to 83 martyrs and 253 fatally wounded. These operations, and many operations afterwards, were meant to clear the insurgency in the region, which they undoubtedly have. The reason why such heroic achievements weren’t a part of the whisky-talk of both the spy chiefs? We don’t know yet.

Pakistan Army, after having a whiff of the book’s content issued a press release and of course summoned Gen. (retd) Asad Durrani on 28th May to clear the aura of ambiguity. The military panel wasn’t convinced by the answers presented by former spy chief, and his name has now been put on the Exit Control List (ECL). Presently, Asad Durrani is under the hawks’ eyes and has been accused of violating the military code of conduct. The proceedings will be supposedly held in the military courts under a serving Lt. General, the name of whom remains to be concealed. Such a transparent and quick action against the former boss by the military itself is not only exemplary, but also projects the notion that no one, either from the civil government or the military, is allowed to compromise the national integrity. No one reserves the right to stay quiet and enjoy the comforts of the office while in service and start irrational whistle-blowing the moment tides take a turn. Same goes for Nawaz Sharif who, at once was an accomplice, abetted the wrong sides in turning over civilian governments and now when he is going through a trial of embezzlements, started befooling the nation once again by digging up the mishaps from the past. The army’s action against former DG-ISI indicates that if a military man can be put on trial for the misconduct against the service code, same needs to be done with a former civilian officeholder. Other than the accusations of money laundering, Mr. Nawaz Sharif, who in the light of day, is making outrageous statements following the Mumbai attacks, should also be put on trial where he should be made to produce facts which actually proves Pakistan’s involvement in those brutal killings of the innocents, which have been condemned hundreds of times not just by government and military, but also by civil society as well.

Analytically, the Spy Chronicles seems to highlight the already unsolved problems rather than offering a solution for these issues. It reflects the naivete of the national security elites and original game players who were incompetent enough to conceive any effective formulas which could have saved thousands of lives on both sides of the line of control. This book, of course, is going to be a hot topic for the blind patriots on either side but will eventually, wither away with time.


The writer reports for Fox News in Pakistan and is a freelance columnist.