Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, the amir (chief) of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, is the key motivator of Lashkar-e-Tayyeba recruits, captured terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Mohammed Amir Kasab has told investigators.
Lashkar is the militant wing of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa.
Kasab, the 21-year-old Rawalpindi thief-turned-terrorist, the only survivor of the terror squads that attacked Mumbai, has cast new light on the Lashkar’s methods.
Saeed, who has denied links with the Lashkar, visited its training camps in Rawalpindi, Muzaffarabad and Kotli regularly and gave inflammatory speeches, he told investigators.
Kasab, who along with Mohammed Ismail Khan attacked Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, said it was a Saeed speech at Rawalpindi and a meeting with Lashkar co-founder Abu Waleed Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi that drew him to the terror outfit.
Saeed is among the 20 men that India has sought from Pakistan.
Once at a Jamaat-ud-Dawa camp, Saeed convinced Kasab that Lashkar and its suicide missions were for the glory of the religion.
He told investigators Lakhvi kept referring to Saeed. Police sources said the Lakhvi-Saeed link dates back to 1990 when
they formed the Markaz al-Dawa wal Irshad with the help of Al-Qaeda operative Sheikh Abu Abdel Aziz.
Lakhvi, a trained Afghan-Arab terrorist, then scouted for cadres in and around Pakistan. But Lashkar got a boost only after Pakistani dictator Zia-ul-Haq gave Saeed 200 acres of land near Muridke.
Kasab said Lakhvi was the key plotter. Kasab, who finished his training last year, trusted the Jamaat-ud-Dawa after his family was pulled out of abject poverty. Lakhvi also promised to give his family Rs 1.5 lakh if he agreed to go on the operation.
Kasab said he was given weapons training for six months, while training for tactics and explosives lasted four weeks at two different camps in Rawalpindi and Kotli.
Later, handpicked cadres were taken to Mangla Dam in Muzaffarabad for eight weeks of marine and commando training.