Islamabad: Pakistan’s former National Security Adviser Major General (retired) Mahmud Ali Durrani has revealed that he had taken the decision to reveal the nationality of 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab only after consultations with all important officials, including Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha.
General (retired) Durrani was unceremoniously removed from his post in January 2009 by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for publicly disclosing the nationality of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
“I did not issue the statement on his (Pasha’s) directive. However, I did consult him, and there was an understanding between the two of us that the identity of Kasab should be revealed as most people were already aware of it,” Durrani said in an exclusive interview with Dawn News.
When asked why he had issued such a sensitive statement, Durrani said: “I am not a fool. Before giving the statement I consulted all relevant quarters”.
In reply to a question whether he felt that he was made a scapegoat, Durrani said Gilani was a “peer sain”, who issued a “royal order without even listening to me”.
The prime minister issued the orders on hearsay and did not even speak to him, he said, adding that Gilani had no powers to remove him, as only the president could do so.
When asked if he spoke to the president after his ouster, as he was appointed by Asif Ali Zardari, Durrani confirmed that the president had telephoned him, but refused to divulge the details of his discussion with Zardari.
Talking about the WikiLeaks controversy in which Durrani was accused of handing over the notes of an in-camera session of parliament in 2008, he said it was incorrect that he had handed over any documents to the then US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Paterson.
Referring to a recently released diplomatic cable by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks, Durrani denied that he had accused the ISI of having a hand in an attack on the Indian High Commission in Kabul in 2008.
According to the cable, in his meeting with Indian National Security Adviser MK Narayanan in 2008, Durrani had alleged that the ISI had a role in the bomb attack on the Indian High Commission.