Captured Mumbai attacker is my son, says Pakistani man

December 12th, 2008 - 3:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Dec 12 (IANS) The family of the lone surviving Mumbai attacker may have left their Faridkot village in Pakistan, but before leaving Amir Kasab told a Pakistani reporter that the terrorist captured by Indian police was his son. Last week, a BBC correspondent located a house in Faridkot in Punjab, the inhabitants of which carried the surname Kasab, but the residents denied any link with either Ajmal or with any Amir Kasab, the name of Ajmal’s father as reported by media.

However, the man who said he was Amir Kasab confirmed to a correspondent of Dawn newspaper that the young man whose face had been beamed over the media was his son.

“For the next few minutes, the fifty-something man of medium build agonised over the reality that took time sinking in, amid sobs complaining about the raw deal the fate had given him and his family,” Dawn said in a special report Friday titled “Revealing the Faridkot-Mumbai link”.

“I was in denial for the first couple of days, saying to myself it could not have been my son,” Amir said in the courtyard of his house in Faridkot. “Now I have accepted it. This is the truth. I have seen the picture in the newspaper. This is my son Ajmal,” he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Variously addressed as Azam, Kamal and Kasav, the young man, apparently in his 20s, is being kept in police custody in Mumbai.

According to previous media reports quoted by Dawn, Ajmal left home a frustrated teenager about four years ago and went to Lahore. After his brush with crime and criminals in Lahore, he is said to have joined a religious group during a visit to Rawalpindi.

Along with others, he was reportedly trained in fighting. And after a crash course in navigation, said Amir Kasab, a father of three sons and two daughters, Ajmal disappeared from home four years ago.

“He had asked me for new clothes on Eid that I couldn’t provide him. He got angry and left,” Amir told Dawn.

“While Amir was talking, Ajmal’s two ’sisters and a younger brother’ were lurking about. To Amir’s right, on a nearby charpoy, sat their mother, wrapped in a chador and in a world of her own,” the Dawn report said, describing the scene and the tense atmosphere.

“Her trance was broken as the small picture of Ajmal lying in a Mumbai hospital was shown around. They appeared to have identified their son. The mother shrunk back in her chador but the father said he had no problem in talking about the subject,” the report added.

Amir said he came from nearby Haveli Lakha and settled in Faridkot many years ago. He owned the house and made his earnings by selling pakoras.

Pointing to a hand-cart in the courtyard, Amir said: “This is all I have. I shifted back to the village after doing the same job in Lahore. My eldest son, Afzal, is also back after a stint in Lahore. He is out working in the fields.”

Amir calls the people who snatched Ajmal from him his enemies but has no clue who these enemies are. Asked why he didn’t look for his son all this while, he replied: “What could I do with the few resources that I had?”

But the man in his 50s was agitated at the mention of the link between his son’s actions and money. Indian media quoting investigators claimed that Ajmal’s handlers had promised him that his family will be compensated with Rs.150,000 after the completion of the Mumbai mission, Dawn said.

“I don’t sell my sons,” Amir retorted.

“Journalists visiting Faridkot since the Dawn reporters were at the village say the family has moved from their home and some relatives now live in the house. Perhaps fearing a media invasion, nobody is willing to say where the family has gone,” the newspaper concluded.

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