I was sold to Lashkar by my father: Kasab
IANS | Washington|Monday, November 16, 2009| See Original in Daily Pioneer
Ajmal Amir Kasab, the sole surviving terrorist of the group of ten sent by the Pakistan based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba to attack Mumbai, says his father essentially sold him into the group.
Kasab, who was part of the pair that killed 50 and wounded more than 100 at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the city’s main railway station, makes the suggestion in tapes included in a new documentary, “Terror in Mumbai” airing on HBO Thursday.
Snatches of cellphone conversations – many never heard before – between the gunmen and their controllers in Pakistan, as well as video footage of the police with Kasab were aired Sunday in a preview of the documentary by narrator Fareed Zakaria in his GPS programme on CNN.
One of the tapes of Kasab’s interrogation points to how he got involved with the LeT terror group:
Kasab: He said, “These people make loads of money and so will you. (Inaudible) We’ll have money, we won’t be poor any more. Your brothers and sisters can get married. Look at these guys living the good life. You can be like them,” he said.
Unidentified Male: Your dad said this?
Kasab: Yes. So, I said, “Fine, whatever.”
Unidentified Male: What does he do for a living?
Kasab: He used to sell yogurt and potato snacks in the street.
Unidentified Male: How much did they give you? Did they put it in your account?
Kasab: There is no account. They gave it to my dad.
Unidentified Male: How much did they give him?
Kasab: I don’t know. Maybe (ph) a few hundred thousand.
In another tape, Kasab recalls how the terrorist group was trained.
Police: How long were you in training?
Kasab: Three months. There were 24 or 25 in our class.
Police: Where were the people from?
Kasab: They don’t tell you. I only knew about one. He said he was from Lahore. He became my friend.
Police: Didn’t they allow you to speak to each other?
Kasab: We were forbidden to speak to each other. It was very strict. The proper training where they say, “This boy is ready now” – that only takes three months. That’s it.
Police: Did you ever ask, “Won’t I feel pity for the people I’m killing?”
Kasab: I did, but he said you have to do these things if you’re going to be a big man and get rewarded in heaven.
Police: So you came here for jihad? Is that right?
Kasab: (crying) What jihad?
Police: It’s no use crying. Tell me the truth. Is that right or no?
Kasab: You wouldn’t understand.
Locked in a bathroom at Mumbai’s Trident Oberoi hotel, another young Pakistani terrorist named Fahadullah knew the end was near. He was out of food, water, energy and ammunition, and could hear the steady stream of police gunshots getting closer.
He and nine other terrorists were winding down from a gruesome, 36-hour killing spree through the city, and he was talking on the phone to a handler far away in Pakistan.
“You mustn’t let them arrest you, remember that,” the controller insisted.
“Fahadullah, my brother, can’t you just get out there and fight?”
Fahadullah could not. “I am out of grenades,” he weakly offered.
“Be brave, brother. Don’t panic. For your mission to end successfully, you must be killed. God is waiting for you in heaven.”
Taliban under fire from Pakistan’s faithful
Pakistani Muslims gather at one of the world’s largest Islamic four-day religious meetings in Raiwind, some 25 kilometres from Lahore on November 14, 2009. — AFP
Sunday, 15 Nov, 2009 | See Original in Dawn
RAIWIND: Inayatullah Khan sits on a dusty rug and prepares to pray at Pakistan’s biggest religious gathering of 400,000 Muslims, cursing the Taliban for their ‘unholy crusade’ against humanity.
Khan travelled all the way from the tribal region of South Waziristan to take part in the four-day event, one of the world’s largest Islamic meetings, in Raiwind on the outskirts of Pakistan’s cultural capital Lahore.
A resident of Kanigurram, a former Taliban hub that the military says it has captured during its ongoing five-week offensive in the northwest, Khan, 50, accused the Taliban of straying from the path of God and butchering Muslims.
‘They call those who refuse to follow their brand of Islam infidels, not knowing they are inviting the wrath of Allah the almighty by killing Muslims, which I call an unholy crusade,’ Khan said.
A Muslim whose faith is important enough to make an arduous three-day journey and sleep in a tent for four days, Khan invited the Taliban ‘to join us in spreading Islam’s eternal message of love, affection and peace.’
The Tablighi Ijtema is an annual feature, founded by religious scholars more than five decades ago and focused exclusively on preaching Islam.
The Thursday-Sunday gathering in Raiwind, near the estate of opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, is being held under tight security due to the campaign of attacks that have swept the country killing more than 2,500 people in two years.
Contingents of police guard the single-carriage road, lined by eucalyptus trees, that links Raiwind with downtown Lahore.
Spread over 150 acres of land with a huge parking space made available for thousands of buses and vehicles, the venue looks like a big tented village where pilgrims sleep, say prayers and eat together.
‘Despite having to sleep under tents in cold and inhospitable weather, there is no let-up in our resolve to make this country a cradle of peace, a country free of suicide attacks and explosions,’ Khan said.
Hundreds of camps and sub-camps set up on the dusty ground accommodate people from cities across Pakistan.
Stalls sell cooked food, raw chicken and meat, vegetables and fruit, even electrical appliances and batteries for mobile phones at a subsidised rate.
A mixture of aromatic Pakistani dishes ranging from as little as 10 to 20 rupees gives the religious gathering a festival feel.
Faced with near-daily attacks, concentrated most heavily in the northwest, many mourn the mounting civilian toll from bombings, often targeting market places, but lace their comments with pervasive anti-American fears.
‘Our hearts bleed for the hundreds of innocent people who have lost their lives… and our security officials who are being killed by the Taliban,’ said Mohammad Farooq, from northwest town Tank, where some of the tens of thousands displaced by fighting in South Waziristan have sought shelter.
‘The Taliban are enemies of Islam and humanity and advance only an American and Indian agenda — to destabilise Pakistan,’ said Farhan Hamad Khan, who had come from Dera Ismail Khan, where many other refugees are also living.
When the prayer leader gave the call to prayer, people rushed towards hundreds of temporary washrooms to make their ablutions.
As Mohammad Azhar, an Islamabad-based chartered accountant waited his turn, he remembered how Pakistan’s ‘icon of democracy,’ former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated in a gun and suicide attack in 2007.
‘Her killers still roam around scot-free,’ said the bearded Azhar. ‘No religion, including Islam, allows the killing of humans.’
‘We need to hold gatherings like this one and inculcate in our people a true spirit of Islam, which is a code of life for all of us and not the kind of Islam that Taliban want to introduce.’
The prayer leader in his Friday sermon addressed the same issue.
‘A stern punishment awaits all those who refuse to follow commandments of Allah the almighty,’ he said into a pin-drop silence among the avid masses.
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