MUMBAI: Pakistani-American terror agent David Headley on Tuesday blew another lid off the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) saying the Pakistani spy agency provides financial, military and moral support to terrorist organisations Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) and Hizbul Mujahideen that export terror to India from Pakistan.
One of the planners of the November 26, 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, Headley said he himself was working for the agency. Security agencies earlier believed he worked only for LeT and US’ Central Intelligence Agency.
On the second day of his deposition before special judge G A Sanap of the MCOCA court from US through video link, Headley named a few Pakistan Army officers who worked as handlers of terrorists and planned the execution of the attack.
He “assessed” that ISI and LeT coordinated with each other. “I was working for ISI and met many people from the Pakistan Army. ISI provided financial, military and moral support to terror outfits JeM, LeT and Hizbul Mujahideen,” Headley told the court, but added his opinion was formed based on hearsay. Headley, 55, said ISI officer Brigadier Rivas was the handler of LeT commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. When Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam pressed him on whether ISI paid him for his activities, he said he got a handsome amount as he had business in the US and that he was investing money in a property in Dubai.
He said they planned to attack one of three cities, Mumbai, Bengaluru or Delhi. “LeT held a meeting in Nov-Dec 2007 in Muzaffarabad (PoK). Sajid Mir (his handler in LeT) and Abu Kahfa attended the meet, where it was decided to carry out the attacks in Mumbai,” he said. When Nikam asked why Mumbai, he said he didn’t enquire.
On the terror network across Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Headley said LeT, JeM, Hizbul Mujahideen and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen are all allies of United Jihad Council. He said he met retired Pakistan Army officer Abdul Rehman Pasha in early 2003 at a mosque in Lahore. “When I met Pasha he was with LeT. At the time, he had no relation with al-Qaeda, but maybe after two years, he left LeT to join al-Qaeda,” he said.
He also spilled the beans on Pakistan Army officers involved in the attack. “I met Major Iqbal of ISI in Lahore in early 2006. He asked me to gather military intelligence from India and try to recruit someone from the Indian military to spy.” He added that he had met Colonel Shah, Lt Colonel Hamza and Major Samar Ali of ISI. “Samar Ali wanted me to do some intelligence work in India. We were in contact over phone.”
■ Headley told the court that Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi was the “operational” head of LeT
■ According to an officer, LeT handler Sajid Mir is the key to unravel the conspiracy. Intelligence agencies state that Mir, at the time of the attack, was a high-ranking Pak Army officer and was also in ISI
■ Headley said a Bashir Sheikh received him at Mumbai airport when he arrived in India for the first time from Karachi on Sept 14, 2006
US ready to help India get justice
The US is ready to assist India in pursuing every possible lead to bring the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack to justice, State Department Spokesman John Kirby told reporters, responding to questions on Headley’s deposition.
FB, Twitter help sought in ISIS case
The National Investigation Agency has sought the assistance of social networking giants like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, Telegram, KIK and Surespot to identify the activities of the ISIS and its members promoting the ideology of the terror group.