Here is proof of Pakistani involvement in the Mumbai terrorist strikes that it will find difficult to deny. London’s The Observer newspaper tracked down the family home of the arrested terrorist, Ajmal Amir Kasab, in a Pakistani village.
It’s in Faridkot village in Punjab. Kasab’s father is Mohammad Amir Iman and mother Noor Elahi. They are both registered voters with national identity card numbers 3530121767339 and 3530157035058 respectively.
<b1>But they were not home. A neighbour who described himself as a relative said, “They have gone to a wedding.” The Observer team was “eventually told … he and his wife, Noor, had been mysteriously spirited away earlier in the week.”
Villagers recognised Kasab in pictures shown to them by The Observer team.
“We’ve all known from the first day [of the news of the terrorist attack] that it was him, Ajmal Amir Kasab,” the report quoted a Faridkot villager, who refused to be identified. “His mother started crying when she saw his picture on the television."
But the village has since straightened out its story, under pressure from local plainclothes policemen who are now controlling access to the village. The Observer said that journalists were being turned away, and not very politely.
India has said that the Mumbai strikes were carried out by 10 Lashkar-e-Tayyeba terrorists from Pakistan. They set out from Karachi, hijacked an Indian trawler that had strayed into Pakistani waters and made it to the shores of Mumbai in a dinghy.
Pakistan has asked India for proof to back this story.
Kasab was captured on the first day of the attack, November 26, as he and an accomplice tried to flee in a stolen car. The other terrorist was shot down. At least 173 people died in the three-day attack.
Indian investigators have known most of what was reported by The Observer as Kasab is said to be cooperating during interrogation. Now, there is independent on-ground corroboration of all that he has said, and has been reported.
Villagers told the London newspaper that Kasab had not lived in Faridkot for about four years but would return to see his family once a year and “frequently talked of freeing Kashmir from Indian rule”.
The Observer said quoting a villager, “Local religious clerics were brainwashing youths in the area and that Lashkar-e-Tayyeba’s founder, Hafiz Sayeed, had visited nearby Depalpur, where there were ‘hundreds’ of supporters.”
Depalpur is an economically backward area with a reputation for producing jihadists who are snapped up by the Lashkar, which has an office in the area — “hurriedly shut down in the last few days” — and a newspaper.
It was not clear yet, the newspaper said, if Kasab was radicalised in the village or after he left to work in Lahore. Investigators in India have said he may have come in contact with the Lashkar in Lahore.
Hindustan Times has reported earlier that investigators believe Kasab may have agreed to Lashkar training to further a career in crime. But turned once at the camp and did extremely well at the training to be selected for the Mumbai strikes.
(Reproduced with permission from Dawn)