Hunger drove me to the gun: Pakistani militant

December 31st, 2009 - 11:04 am ICT by IANS  

By Binoo Joshi
Jammu, Dec 31 (IANS) Pakistani national Tanveer Ahmad, 22, is tough, but now he’s willing to talk. He speaks of how in a bid to earn a living, he was lured into militancy, indoctrinated in camps, pushed into India - only to find himself in custody of Indian security forces.

Tanveer is an uneducated youth belonging to a poor family in Manshera in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan- administered Kashmir. He was caught by the Indian Army Nov 15 while attempting to cross over into the Indian side from the Line of Control (LoC) in the Poonch sector.

Tanveer told his interrogators that he was being nagged by his parents to work and start earning. He began working as a cook in a roadside restaurant in his native village.

“But cost of living in Pakistan is so high that I was unable to sustain myself with the money I got from my work,” he told his interrogators.

“Mental harassment and torture forced me to join militancy to make easy money,” revealed Tanveer during his interrogation.

He said that a local cadre of the Al-Badr militant outfit “who used to misguide local youth to join militancy” recruited him into the outfit. He said that after recruitment the youths were sent to “an unknown destination in forests nearby”. He said that the camps “have minimal infrastructure and are invariably part of a town or a village”.

For the first four months he worked as a cook in the camp and then his weapon training started. That lasted for seven months.

“The training was very tough. It used to start at 2.30 a.m. and last till 6 p.m., with no breaks and nothing to eat in between,” he told the interrogators.

Three months after the training he along with another youth was sent to a “launch pad” near the LoC in Poonch district to infiltrate into the Indian side.

Army sources told IANS that these two moved close to the fence erected by India when their movement was picked by night vision devices. “But we lost contact due to poor visibility and they kept hiding in the forests,” a source said.

After three days in hiding one of them moved to a nearby village in search of food. “Tanveer kept hiding in the forest surviving on leaves and water for 15 days,” an officer said.

He was found unconscious by an army patrol while his colleague was killed by security forces.

Now Tanveer faces a trial. He is unable to visualise his future, the officials say.

(Binoo Joshi can be contacted at

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