ISI providing weapons to Kashmir terrorists: Rana to FBI

ISI providing weapons to Kashmir terrorists: Rana to FBI

7 June 2011
The Daily Excelsior


CHICAGO: Pointing at ISIís direct involvement in providing arms to militants in Kashmir, Tahawwur Rana, one of the key accused in the Mumbai terror attacks, has told FBI that Pakistanís spy agency gives weapons to terrorists when they are about to enter the Indian territory. Ranaís questioning video played for the first time during his trial here shows the 50 year old Pakistani-Canadian giving details about his conversations with LeT operative David Headley, another accused in the case, who had identified targets in Mumbai which were attacked in November, 2008. In over 17-minute clips of seven videos, part of Ranaís interrogation on October 18, 2009, hosted on the official website of the court as evidence submitted, he is shown telling FBI officials that US-born Headley had promised him that he would help him return to Pakistan and settle his case in that countryís army which had declared him a deserter. Rana had been declared a deserter by the Pakistani army, where he was a doctor, after he declined to go to the glacier region following his posting there. FBI agent Jeffrey Parsons, while deposing before the court yesterday, said that Headley used his personal links to favour Rana. Parsons along with FBI agent Benabides had interviewed Rana after his arrest in October 2009. Rana, knowing well that his statements could be used against him during the trial, told the FBI investigators that Headley had told him that ISI was providing weapons to 'freedom fighters' in Kashmir. When asked about ISI and weapons, and Headleyís role, Rana said, 'No guns but now obviously itís, uh, a freedom fight in Kashmir. I think he said ISI gives them weapons.' 'When he says, when they (terrorists) about to enter into India. So, at that very moment, when they say bye bye to each other, ISI at that time gives them, you know, guns,' Rana told the investigators. Rana, who was a Pakistani army regular before being declared a deserter, said Major Iqbal was Headleyís contact in the ISI. He also said that he had spoken to Iqbal over phone. 'He (Iqbal) call and he call me sir, and Iím. I was a Captain, when I deserted Pakistan Army,' Rana said amusingly. Rana also told the FBI the Headley was affiliated with both ISI and LeT and also met Ilyas Kashmiri who was the leader of another terror group Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami. Rana told FBI that Headley had asked Major Iqbal to help him in getting an honourable discharge from Pakistan army so that he could visit the country for his business and personal purposes. When asked why Headley was helping him, Rana said it was because of their friendship. He said attitude of Iqbal was not 'professional' as he talked about setting up of meat plants in Pakistan. During the questioning, Rana also said it was easy for him to visit India but impossible to go to Pakistan because he was a Pakistan army deserter. Rana also said in the video that Headley had told him that although ISI knew that he was working for LeT, the terror group was unaware of his links with the spy agency. Rana told FBI that Headley had spent some time with the LeT and received training from them during his contact with the group for five or six years. At the hearing of the terror trial, the defence said employees at Ranaís Immigration offices in New York or Toronto did not remember working with Headley. The employees Rehana and Kashif Khan among others, take calls at the offices. The defence called in a computer forensic expert and an immigration attorney, but Rana waived his right to testify. Rana was involved in the Mumbai attacks and he and his friend David Headley were part of the same team that carried out the terror assault in 2008, a US Federal Attorney told a Chicago court today. 'Evidences flatly contradicts the defense argument that Rana was not part of it. Rana and Headley were part of the same team,' the attorney said as the closing argument in the Rana case started. 'Rana knowingly conspired with Headley on terror plots, both Mumbai and Copenhagen. Rana was not fooled by Headley. Rana was not duped by Headley. Rana knew about the terror plots and helped him in carrying these terror plots and activities.' 'In 2005 Headley told Rana that he was receiving training from Lashkar. There is no dispute that Lashkar-e-Toiba is a designated terrorist organisation. In 2006 Rana helped Headley open an immigration office even he had no immigration experience. Rana knew that Headley had other projects in India and was working with HuJI commander Iliyas Kashmiri and Sajid Mir, one of the Pakistani handlers of Headley. Headley briefed Rana every time he came back from India. Rana knew by May of 2008 of the Mumbai terrorist attack plan. Pakistani handlers knew that Rana was helping Headley in the terror endeavor,' the attorney said. While Headley has plead guilty, Rana has maintained that he is not guilty in the charge of 'support to terrorism'. If convicted Rana, 50, faces a possible life sentence. (PTI)


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