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UK, US get access to Dawa chief

Pak allows FBI and M15 to question Hafiz Sayyed, report Rajnish Sharma and Rahul Singh.

india Updated: Aug 25, 2006 13:01 IST
Rajnish Sharma and Rahul Singh
Rajnish Sharma and Rahul Singh

Pakistan is reported to have allowed the American FBI and the British intelligence agency, M15, to question Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Mohammed Sayyed, currently under house arrest in Lahore.

Sources here said the American and British agencies quizzed Sayeed about Al Qaida operative Matiur Rehman, who is said to be the brain behind the mid-air terror plot — thwarted by British intelligence agencies — to blow up planes taking off from London’s HeathrowAirport.

A Turkish national, Rehman, has been a close associate of Sayeed and had even visited the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba’s camps near Muridke to training its cadre.

Indian intelligence agencies have also been keeping a close watch on Rehman’s activities as he is said to be monitoring LeT’s operations in the Valley as well. “Rehman is very important for India as he is using the LeT as Al Qaida’s outsourcing agency to carry out subversive activities in India.

There is information that he is planning big strikes in India on the scale of 9/11 and the London Metro bombings,” an intelligence source said. This Al Qaida operative also has close ties with Rashid Rauff of Jaish-e-Mohammed, who was picked up from his Bhawalpur residence after the London episode.

Rauff is the brother-in-law of the younger brother of Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar. He assisted Rehman in planning the London incident. Though Rauff’s whereabouts are not known following his arrest, Rehman is also not believed to be in Pakistan now.

Sources claim American and British agencies have also probed Sayeed on the funding of Jamaat-ud-Dawa that has been carrying out relief activities following the earthquake in Pakistan- administered-Kashmir.

It is suspected that a major part of Jamaat’s funds were routed through an agency called Mercury in England.The ISI reportedly agreed to give access to the FBI and MI5 only after an assurance that they will not interrogate Sayeed and will only pose pointed queries on Rehman and the funding of Jamaat. “Had Sayeed been interrogated at length, he would have revealed a lot, which would have made ISI very uncomfortable," a sourcesaid.

First Published: Aug 25, 2006 03:19 IST