Captured Mumbai terrorist from Pakistan, media probe reveals


London : Ajmal Ameer Kasab, the lone terrorist caputred after the Mumbai strikes, is from Punjab in Pakistan, his parents’ names are on the electoral rolls and villagers say they knew “the boy”, an investigation by a British newspaper has revealed.

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Kasab reportedly told Indian security officials that he belonged to Faridkot in Pakistan’s Punjab province, his father’s name was Mohammed Amir and mother’s name was Noor – and an investigation carried out by the Observer newspaper found matching evidence on the ground.

“The Observer has obtained electoral lists for Faridkot showing 478 registered voters, including a Mohammed Amir, married to Noor Elahi. Amir’s and Noor’s national identity card numbers have also been obtained. At the address identified in the list, a man identifying himself as Sultan said he was the father-in-law of Mohammed Amir,” said the report, published Sunday.

A villager, who was not named for sake of his protection, said the hamlet was an active recruiting ground for the banned militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba that India has named as being among the organisation’s responsible for the Mumbai attacks.

“We know that boy (caught in Mumbai) is from Faridkot,” the villager told an Observer reporter in Faridkot. “We knew from the first night (of the attack). They brainwash our youth about jihad, there are people who do it in this village. It is so wrong,” he added.

According to the villager and other locals, Ajmal has 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 daily said.

Kasab was the only terrorist captured while his nine fellow gunmen were killed during the attacks in Mumbai that began Nov 26 night and continued for more than 60 hours, killing 172 people and injuring nearly 250. Indian security officials have whisked him away to a secret location and have been interrogating him to piece together the plot behind the worst terror attack on India in recent years.

According to Indian officials, Kasab has said he was from Pakistan and that all 10 of them had boarded a boat from Karachi. Pakistan has maintained there was no sufficient evidence to say so.

The Observer report noted that while Kasab said he was from Faridkot, this was a common village name and there are four such villages in Pakistani Punjab. The Observer reporter checked out all of them and finally established the right one near the Indian border, outside a town called Depalpur, with the nearest city being Okara.

The reporter also managed to obtain the electoral roll for Faridkot, “which falls under union council number 5, tehsil 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.”

One villager told the Observer: “We’ve all known from the first day (of the Mumbai attack) that it was him, Ajmal Amir Kasab. His mother started crying when she saw his picture on the television.”

Villagers said his parents had been mysteriously spirited away earlier in the week.

“Ajmal used to go to Lahore for work, as a labourer,” the villager, who feared being named, told the daily. “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.'”

Shown a picture of Kasab, the villager confirmed he was a Faridkot resident who had last visited the village a couple of months ago during the Eid festival, the report said.