The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI And The Illusion Of Peace : SpookHypothesis - BY: Zafar Iqbal Rawana

"A book is a loaded gun in the house next door .......................

Who knows who might be the target of the well read man ?"

' Ray Bradbury '




As the first half of 2018 closes in the shadow of deadly attacks, contests and unrest, the hybrid and asymmetric threats loom the world over. The world's landscape presents a multi-layered view. One peeks through, European Union in dire straits, according to some analysts in existential crisis and may result in implosion or disintegration. U.S strenuously outlining " New Iran Strategy " with sweeping demands. Global attention has once again focused on Myanmar's Rohingya muslims and the military crackdown to quell the protests. Egypt and Israel's teaming up to form an unnatural alliance in order to contest Islamic state's affiliates. G-20 forming up for a show down with United States and Donald Trump on climate change. The historic inter-Korean summit , the interaction between presedent Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi at Wuhan, China, revealed their domestic priorities and regional strategic undercurrents. The strong leadership in the shape of Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Recep Tayyib Erdogan, Dr Mahathir and Modi has emerged, each with self interests and imbued with idiosyncrasies . Antithetical to the global scenario in Pakistan the analysts, free-lance journalists, anchor persons, electronic and print media contributors are entangled in the war of narratives, presented by the book " The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and The Illusion of Peace". The book based on discussions, assumptions, perceptions, suppositions, speculations and hypothesis is a joint venture of Amarjit Singh Dulat, Lt.Gen Asad Durrani ( Retd ), moderated by Aditya Sinha, a journalist and author of " A CEO who lost his head " and " Kashmir- The Vajpayee Years ". It comprises of 344 pages, divided into 33 chapters and published by " Harper and Collins " India. Durrani and Dulat came close in May 2015, when Durrani's son Osman, settled and working in a German software developing company was held in Mumbai apparantly on travel documents but subsequently released on the intervention of Dulat and Rajinder Khanna ( then RAW chief ). The interaction was maintained and led to series of dialogues which took place in cities like Istanbul, Bangkok, Khatmandu and set out meeting grounds between the two . On the table were a range of controversial issues. The most sensational was the claim relating to Al-Queda chief Osama Bin Laden ( OBL ), which contradicted the official position of Pakistan. The invitation to co-author a book came from Dulat. It may sound prudent to apprise that such co-authoring projects were done by them in the past also and include intelligence cooperation after the Pugwash conference ( Berlin 2011 ) and a paper on Kashmir later published by University of Ottawa (2013 ). The book is infact a proposition without an assumption of its truth. The subjects confered about included , Kashmir, Afghanistan, ISI vs RAW, Agra Summit (2001 ) Hafiz Saeed , 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Doval Doctrine , Kulbhushan Jadhav, the surgical strikes , OBL ordeal and how Russia, U.S feature in Indo-Pak relations . How terrorists undemined the peace efforts. The book encompasses interesting and at times deriding narratives , for example , Durrani while discussing Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan pokes fun at, "loved to be seen, recognised and appreciated, self projection was his biggest weakness ". On Afghanistan Dulat admits that RAW did not like ISI to have a free hand because it would feed Hizb, Lashkar and Jaish in Kashmir. Dulat links that mujahedeen trained in Afghanistan would be a potential threat to Kashmir. The sensitive matter that infuriated public sentiments include, Durrani and co-author's claim that ISI fueled militancy in Indian administered Kashmir. Moreover, the views expressed on self-confessed Kulbhushan Jadhav, whom Durrani anticipates will be returned to India.

The book benefitted Nawaz Sharif, who was circumscribed by corruption charges, facing severe criticism over his controversial comments on 26/11 Mombai attacks in a newspaper interview and embarrassed due to sub judice Asghar Khan case. Durrani praised Nawaz Sharif describing his government's decision to go ahead with the 28 may 1998 nuclear tests as "Brave " and cleared him of any knowledge or involvement in Kargil operation. Durrani flaunted that there is no bar on him to discuss intelligence/ intelligence work with the chiefs or ex chief of any other intelligence agency. However contrary to his claim , Durrani being hauled up in GHQ, to explain his position on the revelation he made in violation of official secret act, he might not have thought of to happen. Durrani stepped out of lines and did not pay heed to the law of the land or code of conduct by divulging sensitive matters in a rogue way.

I try to lay my hands on fresh arrivals but in this case it was a pleasant surprise as the book was widely circulated and available on whatsapp in pdf even before the launching ceremony. After having gone through the book, one is compelled to believe that goals and objectives of the book are not to simply focus the issues of two neighboours, which are not working. Moreover, it is neither a road map nor guide to amplify the issues and fix responsibilities so that it does work. Most of the issues talked out are not based on sound evidences. If the attempt is wrong rather violation of official secret act even the objective questions and right answers steer wrong. However, one thing is crystal clear that spook, spy and sinha, a veritable dream team of latent know how seemed eager to contribute, setting out ambitious goals. People from all walks of life are though riveted with the theme, ironically no one is pointing out, financial outlay of this joint venture having huge expenditures of Istanbul, Bangkok and Khatmandu stays, travelling abroad and finally publishing cost. Dullat and Durrani headed the prime intelligence agencies of respective countries, pursued goals set out and might have delivered to in respective spheres, still work ethics have been violated. It appears the book aimed at making an impact, a very big impact, even challenge how the people on either side perceive, instead they drifted to beat the system playing their own game. No matter how visionary, brilliant, a great idea or a great achievement is not worth much if no one accepts. Its a fact beyond any doubt that the complexities and implications have not been taken care of whilst deciding to undertake this illusive work. Army has ordered an inquiry into the matter and put Durrani on 'ECL' to bar him from leaving Pakistan. Though the investigations will encompass the violation of official secret act and military code of conduct but the timings of its release also need to be digged out whether politically motivated or ...

some Sanjay Kathuria was playing the string of puppets . It will be appreciated if the court of inquiry spells out policy guidelines and parameters defining bounds in clear terms so that the writers remain within .

Posted on Jun 12, 18 | 7:51 am