26/11 Mumbai Attack : The Headley Huddle
The testimony of David Headley, an active participant in 26/11 Mumbai attack, is historical for many reasons. First, it was recorded through new technology while the accused is actually sitting continents away. Secondly, it makes Pakistan and Bharatiya pseudo seculars run for a cover.
In fact, there is nothing new in what Hedley said, as he has already narrated many of the things before the US authorities in and the media had already covered them. The current testimony is important because he recorded his testimony before the court in Bharat which has actual jurisdiction for Mumbai attack case and the truth is being put on record in the country where it matters.
- David Coleman Headley (55), born as Daood Sayed is an American terrorist of Pakistani origin
- What Headley was up to?
- He worked as a spy in Bharat for the ISI and terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba and provided them with necessary information in giving final shape to 2008 Mumbai attacks (26/11). He visited between Mumbai to Karachi six times to provide information
- Nine visits between 2006-2009
- Mumbai-7; Delhi-2 (including once in 2009 after the attack).
- Place Headley stayed in Mumbai: Shyam Niwas near Breach Candy Hospital.
- Targets identified for attacks: Siddhivinayak Temple, Naval air station, Mumbai PHQ, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre: Not accomplished.
- Taj Mahal Hotel, Trident Hotel, Leopold Café, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Chabad House, Metro Cinema, Mazgaon Docks, Wadi Bunder, Vile Parle, Cama Hospital: Attacked and killed people.
A double agent for American spy agency CIA, Hedley revealed how he was trained and financed by Pakistani ISI through Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). He named Hafeez Saeed along with Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi as masterminds of Mumbai terror attack and Sajid Mir as his handler from LeT. He also made it clear how he was trained at various places like Muzaffarabad in Pak occupied Jammu & Kashmir (POJK), Abbottabad and few other places in Pakistan. He also named Pakistan’s official spy agency ISI as co-conspirator in the plot. Hedley also named his handlers from ISI—Major Ali, Major Iqbal and Major Abdul Raheman Pasha. He named few more Pak officers which now legally exposed Pak governments hand in terrorism, a long known fact for Bharat. This is the first time that direct clinching evidence against Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI was recorded in any court of law. Government of Bharat officials and Mumbai police are in upbeat mood to have this record being put straight.
- Headley was working for the ISI too and had met many people from the Pakistani Army, joined the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in 2002
- ISI and the LeT work in close coordination with each other. The ISI provides financial, military and moral support to the LeT.
- The Hizbul Mujahideen and the Jaish-e-Mohammad led by Masood Azhar, which is suspected to have attacked the Pathankot airbase in Punjab in January also receive similar support.
- They function under the umbrella body called United Jihad Council, with only have one aim – to promote terror activities in India.”
- A year before the 26/11 attack, Lashkar operatives planned an attack on a meeting of Defence scientists that was to be held at Taj Mahal Hotel.
- He was assigned with the task to conduct recee of the hotel and he had video-graphed the second floor of Taj Hotel, while staying there with his wife Faiza.
- Headley had advised terror leaders Hafiz Saeed and Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi, the main plotters of 26/11, to legally challenge US ban on the LeT.
- In 2006, ISI official Major Pasha and LeT functionary Sajid Mir and others met to discuss plans to set up a business for Headley in Mumbai. Later, in November 2007, he met LeT top leaders in Muzaffarabad to plan the attack.
- According to Headley, the LeT group as a whole was responsible for the terror attacks in India, taking orders from top commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.
- Headley, who is serving a 35-year prison sentence in the US for his role in the Mumbai attacks, revealed that his ex-wife, a Moroccan national Faiza Outalha had complained to police about his links with LeT.
- In March 2009, Headley made another trip to India to conduct surveillance of the National Defence College in Delhi, and of Chabad Houses in various cities.
- Ajmal Kasab and co—a group of ten made two failed attempts before 26/11.
- Ishrat Jahan, killed in a shootout by the Gujarat police in 2004, was a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative.
Bharat has already submitted dossiers against Hafeez Saeed and Zaki -ur-Raheman Lakhavi to Pakistan, which had kept denied its hand and also kept projecting these both terrorist masterminds as “Social Workers”. Pakistan also coined a term – “Non-State Actors” to avoid embarrassment before international community, which keep shielding Pakistan’s use of terrorism as a tool in foreign policy. Hedley’s testimony will come in handy to nail Pak lies before international community and expose
the Pak mentors within the international community.
Political fallout within Bharat
The surprise “victims” of Hedley’s testimony in Bharat are the Bharatiya ‘secular’ brigade functional in in politics, journalism and academics. Headley in his deposition mentioned that Ishrat Jahan, the young girl from Mumbra near Mumbai, who was killed by Gujarat police in an encounter, was indeed an LeT operative. She was a suicide bomber and was on a mission of attacking some major police establishments in Gujarat. The secular political class including the whole NCP including ‘legendary’ Sharad Pawar, Congress, the entire left including AAP, Nitish – Lalu -Mulayam – Mayavati type of leaders did not miss a chance to prove that Ishrat was innocent and was just killed for being a Muslim! Just to ensure garnering minority votes.
Exposing Fountainhead of Terrorism
The deposition made by one of the 26/11 masterminds, David Coleman Headley alias Daood Sayed Gilani, before a designated court in Mumbai through video conferencing from the Chicago jail does not reveal anything new. The only difference is that a deposition made by a foreign terrorist in our national court will be first time be considered admissible. Though we have got the statement, the real question is whether Pakistan will make any amends in its old habits of denying any evidence of promoting terrorism. Or will it continue to use those dossiers to destroy the evidences leading to the culprits. In reply to Pakistan’s demand of joint investigation in Pathankot blasts, our reply should be asking Pakistan to take similar deposition from Headley in the Pakistani court. So that Pakistan cannot hide behind the legal technicalities.
Pakistan controls all anti-Bharat operations by terrorist groups is a well known fact told by Headley. Still to believe that the names revealed by Headley of ISI handlers such as Major Iqbal and Major Saleem Ali are true is against the work culture of intelligence agencies who generally disguise the identities of operatives. Still, it is certain that some ISI official provided Headley with support of $25,000 US to stay in Bharat. The claims of Bharat that ISI has been training Lashkar-E-Taiba (LeT) and nurturing the elements like Hafiz Saeed are open now. Hafiz is Bin Laden for Bharat. In our talks with Pakistan these issues should be the focal point. Whether Hafiz is leading the LeT or Jamat-ud Dawah is not the issue, he is spreading anti-Bharat sentiments and create suicide terrorist squads to wage war against Bharat is proven beyond doubt. His training is producing deadlier terrorists than Kasab. Kasab had also confessed that he was from Faridkot and the same people trained him. We should use all this deposition by Headley to expose terrorist face of Pakistan.
Presently, Pakistan is not in a position to open many fronts at a time. We should collect maximum hard evidences against the ISI and expose its real face in front of the world. Pakistan is fighting a war against home grown Taliban forces as they are targeting the Pakistani establishment. As LeT is not hurting any Pakistani, Pakistan military is silent on it. Infact, LeT is performing the extended role of Pakistani armed forces.
There many ways to corner Pakistan. Leave America aside. There are many countries that are against Pakistan and understand our viewpoint in a better way. France and Russia can play important role in this regard. These countries are not at all soft on Islamic terrorism. We should not expect much from the US as it will not do anything unless it is in American national interest.
We need to change our policy a bit. Firstly, Bharat should have a clear strategy with drawing a red line. What is acceptable and what is not should be fixed. Every day our soldiers are losing their lives, common people face the brunt and still we are not calling spade a spade.
Secondly, our foreign policy should change over a period of time. A nation cannot have same relations with all the countries. You have to define the relationship with each country on differential parameters with our own priorities. For instance, Bharat-Pakistan, even China should take priority over the other major powers like the US, France and Russia. Big powers will approach Bharat on their own as they want to sell their weapons. Till now we have been pleading in the United Nations or to the US to declare Pakistan as a terrorist state. Why they will say so? Like Israel we should learn to stand for our national interest irrespective of support.
If Bharat really wants to address these issues, then eminent people from various fields should be brought into foreign policy making groups. These people should travel to different countries and identify whether they are with us or against us. We should also ensure while giving licences to the foreign companies to take a stand on Pakistan.
In other words, mere depositions and confessions would not help unless we drastically change our foreign policy making and execution.
NCP MLA Jitendra Avhad from Thane was more ridiculous among them. He jumped the next day of Ishrat killing to visit her Mumbra home—a town known as a den of illegal migrants and illegal construction. He handed over a cheque of Rs.1,50,000/- to her parents and was the first to term the encounter as fake. He ridiculously named his ambulance after Ishrat Jahan and offered his brother a job in his own office. He still works in MLA Avhad’s office. The Ambulance was inaugurated by CPM leader Brinda Karat.
Instead of feeling ashamed, the entire secular class is now busy in openly saying that the Hedley testimony is “managed”. Such people include journalists like Kumar Ketkar, JNU professors, MLA Avhad and other NCP leaders. They do not even think that their actions are maligning the image of Bharat before international community and their political opportunism is weakening our fight against terrorism. Just for few votes and some people for the sake of job, keep telling lies and hope that the public would not know.
Hedley testimony is important in some other ways. It nails Pak internationally. It exposes Pak’s official hands in terror acts and killing of innocent Bharatiya people. 166 martyrs of Mumbai attacks, numerous more from attacks in last two decades are awaiting justice. Ironically, Bharatiya seculars are brought on the same page with Pakistan through this deposition.
Rajesh Prabhu Salgaonkar