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Indian dossiers expose ISI-LeT nexus on 26/11 attack

Last updated: 09 May, 2011
Anirban Bhaumik, New Delhi, May 9, DHNS: 1:02 IST

Headley participated in planning and funding the terror strike

India on Monday stepped up pressure on Pakistan and released dossiers of five men, whom the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indicted for plotting the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

The five Pakistanis indicted by the FBI in its second charge sheet filed in a US court on April 25 last include Major Iqbal, whom New Delhi since long suspected to be an official of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

The four others are Sajid Mir, Abu Qahafa, Mazhar Iqbal and another man identified as “Lashkar Member D”. Only one of the five—Mazhar Iqbal alias Abu Alqama—was arrested by Pakistan, along with LeT leader Zaki ur Rehman Laqvi and five others in connection with the 26/11 case.

The Indian dossiers and the FBI charge sheets reveal that the ISI, represented by Major Iqbal, and the LeT jointly planned the attacks on Mumbai. The FBI’s second superseding indictment filed in the US district court in connection with the Headley-Rana case describes Iqbal “as a resident of Pakistan, who participated in planning and funding attacks carried out by the Lashkar (Lashkar-e-Toiba)”.

But according to the dossier released by the ministry of home affairs (MHA) in New Delhi, Major Iqbal is suspected to be an ISI officer, who was posted in Lahore during 2007 and 2008. “Major Iqbal was handling David Coleman Headley on behalf of the ISI for the terrorist attacks in Mumbai,” reads the MHA dossier.

Headley had helped the LeT mastermind the November 26, 2008 attacks in Mumbai. He was arrested by the FBI from Chicago in October 2009. Also arrested with him was Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Hussain Rana.

According to India’s dossiers and the FBI charge sheet, Major Iqbal provided Headley $2,500 and fake Indian currency worth an unspecified amount in July 2006 to open an office of Rana’s Chicago-based First World Immigration Services in Mumbai and use it as a front to carry out surveillance of potential targets in Mumbai to help plan the attacks.

Headley used to give all the surveillance videos he shot in Mumbai first to Major Iqbal and then to the LeT. Major Iqbal, about 35-year-old, was actively involved in 26/11 attacks on behalf of the ISI.

Indian intelligence agencies believe Major Iqbal originally hailed from Sargodha, a town in Punjab, and also lived in the Army Cantonment near Lahore Airport. He is an accused in the case (no: 04 / 2009) registered by the National Investigation Agency in 2009 in connection with the conspiracy to target important locations in India. He also has an Interpol Red Corner Notice (No: A-6270 / 10-2010).

The FBI’s second charge sheet reveals that Headley had met Major Iqbal and senior LeT leader Sajid Mir, who oversaw the terrorist outfit’s operations in India, several times in 2006 and 2007, while helping them plot the 26/11 attacks. Sajid was personally involved in training and briefing of all the 10 terrorists, who carried out the strikes 26/11 attacks.

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