Four days prior to the terror attack, Lashkar-e-Tayyeba commander Zaki-ur -Rehman Lakhvi gave a final pep talk to the group of 10 terrorists in Karachi, before bidding them adieu on their Mumbai mission.
“My brave soldiers. With sanity in conscience and enlightened souls, you have endured enough penance for the ultimate goal. The time has come. Henceforth, you all are fidayeen for the greater cause…” These were the last few words Lakhvi reportedly uttered to the group of 10.
Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terror suspect captured alive, is learnt to have told his interrogators that Lakhvi, presently under arrest by the Pakistani government, had given them (10 of them) the final lesson on ‘Shahdat’ (martyrdom in a religious war) in Karachi on November 22.
Kasab reportedly said that the group had been taken to a “small house” where the sermon was delivered.
“He then embraced each one of us, and repeatedly asked us to be prepared for the fidayeen (suicide) mission,” Kasab reportedly told the interrogators, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
He said after Lakhvi’s sermon, they were led to a ship, Al Hussaini, at the Karachi port before they set sail for their Mumbai mission.
Kasab and the rest nine members of his team, had undergone intensive and isolated training at a place called Azizabad near Karachi for three and half months before the mission.
During the three-month stint, they were virtually cut off from the rest of the world.
While top Lashkar commander Abu Hamza had given them training in maritime operations, handling advanced weapons and explosives. Another Lashkar commander, identified as Khafa, had used PowerPoint presentations to give the group minute details of the terror operation by showing them photographs of the targeted sites in Mumbai.
Lakhvi was also a trainer in the camp while Jamat-ud-Dawa chief, Hafiz Saeed, had given motivational speeches to the group, a police officer said.
As part of the training, the group would be woken up at 2.30 am and made to recite religious verses till morning before saying the morning prayer. The physical training (commando training) would begin after daybreak, Ajmal had told his interrogators.