New Delhi: The cost of prosecuting Mumbai terror attacks mastermind and banned Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) head Hafiz Saeed is too great, former ISI chief Asad Durrani has said in a book co-authored with ex-RAW chief As Dulat.
"If you prosecute Saeed, the first reaction will be: it's on India's behalf, you're hounding him, he's innocent, etc. The political cost is big, now," he said.
The book titled ‘Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace’ features moderated conversations between Durrani and Dulat, wherein the two discuss topics, including surgical strikes, Kulbhushan Jadhav, Nawaz Sharif, Kashmir and Burhan Wani.
When Dulat asks Durrani about Saeed's “value” to Pakistan, Durrani replies, "The cost of prosecuting him is too great."
Saeed, who carries a $10 million American bounty for his role in terror activities, was under house arrest from January to November last year.
The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai attacks in 2008 in which 166 people were killed.
Saeed was declared a global terrorist by the US and the UN after the Mumbai strikes and was put under house arrest in November 2008 but freed by a court some months later.
"He was taken to the courts though they had nothing (new) against him. It is still possible that he was detained to let the storm blow over. In six months, he could come out," writes Durrani about Saeed's detention.
In the book, published by HarperCollins India, Dulat and Durrani are in conversation with journalist Aditya Sinha.
Asked by Dulat if Saeed's house arrest was choreographed, Durrani says, "What's new, as far as Hafiz Saeed is concerned, is more evidence available? One would expect that there's an arrangement with Hafiz Saeed.”
Asked if there were any positive implications for Indo-Pak relations from Saeed's house arrest, he says, "There are very few positives on the India-Pakistan front right now. But this can provide breathing space to a country that is constantly under pressure."
In an interview with News18 three days ago, the retired ISI chief had also hinted that Pakistan is actively involved in the current unrest in Kashmir. “Some in Pakistan may have reasons to watch India lose its grip over the Kashmiris with expectancy. One indeed could not be playing fiddle while Kashmir burns and bleeds,” he said.
Pakistan's powerful military has accused Durrani of 'violating' the military code of conduct and has summoned him on Monday seeking clarification over the book.
Durrani tweeted on Sunday that he was “saddened” by the allegations against him.
I am saddened by the allegations made on me by my own people. I have served Pakistan all along putting my life at risk. People who live life for others selflessly never get respect they deserve & instead those who do all wrongs for their own benefits are treated like King.— Gen Asad Durrani (@GenDurrani) May 27, 2018
Durrani said in another tweet that the proceeds from the book would be used for charity.
For the people who are accusing me of making money through my new book - the profit earned is not for my luxury but will be used for the poor people who are victim of terrorism through various NGOs with whom I have association since many years.— Gen Asad Durrani (@GenDurrani) May 27, 2018
(With PTI inputs)