Pakistan fired the wrong guy

I’m sorry to see that Mehmud Ali Durrani, the former Pakistani ambassador to Washingon, was fired as national-security advisor to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. I met Durrani a few times at the embassy in Van Ness, and he was always gracious, unfailingly polite and — if somewhat evasive, due to the nature of his ...

I'm sorry to see that Mehmud Ali Durrani, the former Pakistani ambassador to Washingon, was fired as national-security advisor to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

I’m sorry to see that Mehmud Ali Durrani, the former Pakistani ambassador to Washingon, was fired as national-security advisor to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

I met Durrani a few times at the embassy in Van Ness, and he was always gracious, unfailingly polite and — if somewhat evasive, due to the nature of his job — at least he made an effort to answer our questions. 

The following is an interview with FP from November 2007:

Close observers of Pakistani politics will note that he doesn’t seem to go out of his way to defend Pervez Musharraf, who was clearly on his way out at that point. Perhaps that’s why Durrani landed on his feet in the new government.

But this time, too much candor did him in. Gilani says he cashiered Durrani for disclosing to the press that Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving Mumbai attacker, was Pakistani "without having taken me into confidence." 

Now, Islamabad has officially acknowledged that Kasab was Pakistani. But maybe Gilani should be the one who gets fired. I mean, who’s in charge here? 

While the Indian television channel CNN-IBN quoted Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Mehmud Ali Durrani as saying that Ajmal Kasab’s identity as a Pakistani had been established, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir told the same channel that it was premature to say anything because the investigation was continuing.

In the midst of all this, American news agency APTN quoted Information Minister Sherry Rehman as confirming that Ajmal Kasab in fact was a Pakistani national. The minister later confirmed it to Dawn that "he is Pakistani" and that investigations are ongoing.

Similarly, the Foreign Office which at the initial stage appeared either detached from reality or completely out of the loop, admitted by broadcasting through the state-run PTV that Ajmal Kasab was indeed a Pakistani national.

During the course of Dawn’s own investigation, a number of senior officials in the interior ministry and police said that investigations were started soon after initial reports had suggested that Ajmal Kasab might be a Pakistani national. But the authorities wanted to be doubly sure about his identity because there was no record of Kasab and his family in the national database maintained by Nadra. 

More from Foreign Policy

Newspapers in Tehran feature on their front page news about the China-brokered deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore ties, signed in Beijing the previous day, on March, 11 2023.
Newspapers in Tehran feature on their front page news about the China-brokered deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore ties, signed in Beijing the previous day, on March, 11 2023.

Saudi-Iranian Détente Is a Wake-Up Call for America

The peace plan is a big deal—and it’s no accident that China brokered it.

Austin and Gallant stand at podiums side by side next to each others' national flags.
Austin and Gallant stand at podiums side by side next to each others' national flags.

The U.S.-Israel Relationship No Longer Makes Sense

If Israel and its supporters want the country to continue receiving U.S. largesse, they will need to come up with a new narrative.

Russian President Vladimir Putin lays flowers at the Moscow Kremlin Wall in the Alexander Garden during an event marking Defender of the Fatherland Day in Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin lays flowers at the Moscow Kremlin Wall in the Alexander Garden during an event marking Defender of the Fatherland Day in Moscow.

Putin Is Trapped in the Sunk-Cost Fallacy of War

Moscow is grasping for meaning in a meaningless invasion.

An Iranian man holds a newspaper reporting the China-brokered deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore ties, in Tehran on March 11.
An Iranian man holds a newspaper reporting the China-brokered deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore ties, in Tehran on March 11.

How China’s Saudi-Iran Deal Can Serve U.S. Interests

And why there’s less to Beijing’s diplomatic breakthrough than meets the eye.