UK Daily Exposes the Paki attempt to cover up Terrroist linkage

published on December 7, 2008


Revealed: home of Mumbai’s gunman in Pakistan village


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/07/mumbai-terrorism-india-pakistan/print

[Since the terrorist attacks
in Mumbai 10 days ago, speculation has been rife about the birthplace
of the lone surviving gunman, Ajmal Amir Kasab. India and Pakistan have
clashed over reports that he came from the Punjab. Saeed Shah, after
spending days travelling throughout the region, tracked down the
killer’s home – and his grandfather – and found conclusive proof of his
identity]



 

The little house was certainly that of a poor
family, with a courtyard to one side and a small cart propped up in one
corner. The old man and middle-aged woman who answered the door were
not the owners. No, they insisted, the owners were away.
 
 
‘They’ve gone to a wedding,’ said the old man,
identifying himself as Sultan. He was, he said, Amir’s father-in-law.
So, that would make him Ajmal’s grandfather? At last, it seemed, this
was the right place.
 
 
It had taken days to get to Faridkot, a small, dirt-poor village in



Pakistan



‘s Punjab province.
More than a week after the arrest of the only Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist
taken alive during the terror strike on Mumbai, so little was still
known about him. His name, for instance. Was he Mohammed Amin Kasab, Azam
Amir Kasav? Or was he Mohammed Ajmal Amir? The name Kasai in fact means
he would hail from a butcher community – that would be his caste. But
it was recorded as Kasav, then later Kasab. The discrepancies
reportedly stemmed from the fact that the Mumbai police officers who first questioned him were Marathi speakers and unable to communicate with the south Punjab resident in anything other than Hindi patois.
 
 
And where exactly was he from? Faridkot is what he
told his interrogators, but this is a common village name. There were
four candidates in the Punjab region.
 
 
Days of trying to establish which was the right one
had led to a Faridkot near the Indian border, outside a town called
Depalpur. The nearest city was Okara. It seemed to fit. And it was at
this Faridkot that Ajmal’s father was believed to live.
 
 
Initially villagers were unhelpful. No, said those
approached, there was no one known here of that name. Even shown a
photograph of Ajmal taken during the Mumbai siege, all swore they did
not recognise him. The mayor was clear. ‘There is a man who came to see
me called Amir Kasab, who was worried,’ said Ghulam Mustafa Wattoo. ‘He
told me that the Ajmal on the news was not his boy. That boy’s gone
away to work. There’s no extremist network here.’
 
 
Was this another dead end?
 
 
As the villagers were questioned, the confusions
appeared to multiply. Finally the name Mohammed Ajmal Amir, son of
Mohammed Amir Iman, who ran a food stall, emerged.
 
 
At other Faridkots, including one near the town of
Khanewal, villagers had been friendly and helpful, proffering tea as
they shook their heads. ‘No. Not from here,’ they said. For a while, it
appeared that this Faridkot would also prove a wasted journey. The
mayor said there had been no local police investigation, suggesting
that the authorities did not view this place with suspicion. But, over
time, inconsistencies in the villagers’ accounts heightened suspicion
that this was the place. ‘He [Amir] has lived here for a few years,’
said one villager, Mohammad Taj. ‘He has three sons and three
daughters.’
 
 
Noor Ahmed, a local farmer, said: ‘Amir had a stall
he pushed around, sometimes here, sometimes elsewhere. He was a meek
man, he wasn’t particularly religious. He just made ends meet and
didn’t quarrel with anyone.’
 
 
Still the picture was confusing. While sometimes
confirming that Amir did live in the village, and had a son called
Ajmal, on other occasions locals claimed to know nothing.
 
 
Finally one villager confirmed what was going on:
‘You’re being given misinformation. We’ve all known from the first day
[of the news of the terrorist attack] that it was him, Ajmal Amir
Kasab. His mother started crying when she saw his picture on the
television.’
 
 

Attempts to meet Amir, the father, however,
were not to be successful. Villagers eventually told us that he and his
wife, Noor, had been mysteriously spirited away earlier in the week.

 
 
‘Ajmal used to go to Lahore
for work, as a labourer,’ continued the villager who feared being
named. ‘He’s been away for maybe four years. When he came back once a
year, he would say things like, “We are going to free Kashmir.”‘
 
 
Wresting the whole of Kashmir
from Indian rule is Lashkar-e-Taiba’s aim. Ajmal had little education,
according to locals. But it is still unclear whether he was radicalised
in the village or once he had left to work elsewhere.

It is said that from the age of 13 he was shuttled
between his parents’ house and that of a brother in Lahore. If he did
indeed speak fluent English, as claimed in Indian press reports, he
would have had to have learnt that after he left the village.
 
 
But the villager who turned whistleblower said that
local religious clerics were brainwashing youths in the area and that
Lashkar-e-Taiba’s founder, Hafiz Sayeed, had visited nearby Depalpur,
where there were ‘hundreds’ of supporters. There was a Lashkar-e-Taiba
office in Depalpur, but that had been hurriedly closed in the past few
days. The Lashkar-e-Taiba newspaper is distributed in Depalpur and
Faridkot. Depalpur lies in the south of Punjab province, an
economically backward area long known for producing jihadists.
 
 
Shown a picture of Ajmal, the villager confirmed
that he was the former Faridkot resident, who had last visited the
village a couple of months ago at the last festival of Eid.
 
 

Some locals have claimed that this
Faridkot, and another poor village nearby called Tara Singh, are a
recruitment hotbed for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant group accused of carrying out the Mumbai attack.
On the side of a building, just outside Faridkot,
is graffiti that says: ‘Go for jihad. Go for jihad. Markaz Dawat
ul-Irshad.’ MDI is the parent organisation of Lashkar-e-Taiba. In
Depalpur, a banner on the side of the main street asks people to devote
goatskins to Jamaat ud Dawa, another MDI offshoot.
Tara Singh is home to a radical madrasa – Islamic
school – and there is another hardline seminary in nearby Depalpur. The
nazim (mayor) of Tara Singh, Rao Zaeem Haider, said: ‘There is a
religious trend here. Some go for jihad, but not too many.’
 
 
Some reports emerging in



India




suggest that Ajmal may have joined Lashkar -e-Taiba less because of his
Islamist convictions but in the hope that the jihad training he would
receive would help to further the life of crime upon which he had
already embarked. But once inside Lashkar’s base, his world-view began
to change.
 
 
Here, films on India’s purported atrocities in
Kashmir and heated lectures by fiery preachers led him to believe in
Lashkar’s cause. It has also been said that, when he was chosen for the
Lashkar basic combat training, he performed so well that he was among a
group of 32 men selected to undergo advanced training at a camp near
Manshera, a course the organisation calls the Duara Khaas.
 
 
And finally, it seems, he was among an even smaller
group selected for specialised commando and navigation training given
to the fedayeen unit selected to attack Mumbai.
 
 

The authorities may now attempt to deny
that Ajmal’s parents live in Faridkot, but, according to some locals,
they have been there for some 20 years.
But by the end of our visit, a crucial piece of evidence had been gained. The
Observer has managed to obtain an electoral roll for Faridkot, which
falls under union council number 5, tehsil (area) Depalpur, district
Okara. The list of 478 registered voters shows a ‘Mohammed Amir’,
married to Noor Elahi, living in Faridkot. Amir’s national identity
card number is given as 3530121767339, and Noor’s is 3530157035058.


That
appears to be the last piece of the jigsaw. A man called Amir and his
wife, Noor, do live in Faridkot, official records show. They have a son
called Ajmal.

 
 

Following our last visit to Faridkot, the
mayor, Wattoo, announced via the loudspeaker at the mosque that no one
was to speak to any outsiders. By yesterday, Pakistani intelligence
officials had descended in force on Faridkot. Locals, speaking by
telephone, said a Pakistani TV crew and an American journalist had been
roughed up and run out of town. It appeared that the backlash had begun.

 

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