Islamabad: Pakistan‘s spy agency ISI’s ex-chief Lt Gen (retd.) Asad Durrani and two former head of the military’s media wing have been denied permission by the army to appear on media as defence analysts.
In a notification issued on Monday, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) – the media wing of the military – has allowed 26 retired officers of the armed forces to appear on media as defence analysts.
“The prominent omissions are Brig (retd.) Mahmood Shah, Lt Gen (retd.) Asad Durrani, Lt Gen (retd.) Talat Masood, Maj Amir (retd.) and DG ISPR Maj Gen (retd.) Athar Abbas and Maj Gen (retd.) Rashid Quershi,” the Dawn reported, citing the notification.
Seven retired Lt Generals are among those allowed to appear on media as defence analysts.
“Their views/comments/opinions on media shall remain personal/independent expression and not attributable to the institution,” the notification said.
It also said that any other retired officer desirous of appearing as defence analyst can contact the ISPR to obtain a no-objection certificate.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority recently instructed all TV channels to seek prior clearance from the ISPR before inviting retired military officers on news and current affairs programmes “to solicit their views on matters of national security”.
In a notification dated April 4, the media regulator said that “concerned quarters” have observed that retired military officers, when invited on TV programmes, “are usually not fully conversant with the latest defence and security developments due to their service background and post-retirement time”.
Lt Gen (retd.) Durrani and Lt Gen (retd.) Masood frequently appeared on the Indian media.
In February, the Pakistan Army held Durrani guilty of violating military code of conduct by co-authoring a controversial book with India’s former intelligence head and punished him by stopping his pension and other benefits.
Durrani, who headed the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) from August 1990 till March 1992, along with former RAW chief A S Dulat published the book titled ‘The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace’ in India.
The powerful army had ordered a Court of Inquiry against Durrani over the book in which the two former spy chiefs touched upon some thorny issues including terrorism, particularly Mumbai attack, Kashmir and the influence of intelligence agencies.
Durrani is also not allowed to leave the country due to his name being on no-fly list.