Did Manmohan Singh and Hamid Ansari Release Ex-ISI Chief’s Book?
An image doing the rounds on social media claims that it was shot ‘yesterday’ irrespective of when the posts were shared. As per the posts, the image is from a book launch in which former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Vice President Hamid Ansari released a book authored by Asad Durrani, former chief of Pakistan's premier intelligence agency – Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Further, the posts claim that the Indian government did not give a visa to Durrani to attend his book launch. Hence, a video conference was arranged for him.
Several social media users have shared the image with a similar narrative on Twitter and Facebook.
TRUE OR FALSE?
This image was not taken ‘yesterday’ as mentioned in the viral post but on 23 May. It is true that Manmohan Singh and Hamid Ansari were present at the book launch of Asad Durrani’s book, ‘The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace.’ However, the book has not been written by Durrani alone but also by two other authors namely Indian journalist Aditya Sinha and India’s former RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) chief AS Dulat.
Publishing company HarperCollins India shared the image of the event on its official Twitter handle on 23 May.
The tweet mentions that along with Manmohan Singh and Hamid Ansari, other eminent personalities like Yashwant Sinha, Kapil Sibal, Shiv Shankar Menon, KM Singh and Barkha Dutt were present as well.
Asad Durrani could not attend the book launch as he was denied the visa. In a pre-recorded video message, he said, “At the end, a very special thanks to the Indian deep state. By denying me the visa, they have saved me from the wrath of our hawks. They will be happy to know that I have not yet been cleared by the South Block (which houses India's PMO and Ministries of Defence and External Affairs),” reported IANS. There is no mention of any video conferencing being organised.
HOW DID THE BOOK GET DURRANI INTO TROUBLE?
The book had previously raised a serious issue in Pakistan. Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif asked for an emergency meeting of the National Security Committee over the controversy. Post the meeting on 25 May, the ex-ISI chief was summoned to the General Headquarters by the military. Reportedly, Durrani’s views on Kulbhushan Jadhav and Osama bin Laden had got him into trouble with the ISI.
Further, Pakistan Army said that Durrani did not procure a 'No Objection Certificate' from it before publishing the book. ‘Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace’ unfolds dialogues and discussions between AS Dulat and Durrani, moderated by journalist Aditya Sinha. Durrani was the chief of ISI from August 1990 to March 1992.
(With inputs from PTI)
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