Mumbai: Abdul Rehman Makki, the Pakistan-based deputy chief of banned terror outfit the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and its former head of its foreign affairs wing, who was on Monday designated as a global terrorist by the United Nations, has a Mumbai connection.
The terrorist’s assets were frozen and he faces a travel ban and an arms embargo. He had allegedly mentored a top Pakistani Lashkar operative, Sajid Majid alias Sajid Mir alias Wasi, the fugitive alleged co-mastermind of the LeT-orchestrated 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008 in which 166 people died and hundreds were injured.
The LeT operative had allegedly played a key role in the planning and execution of the terror attack with the help of a few Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officials, according to counter-terror sources who have supervised the probe into the 26/11 attacks.
Sajid had personally directed the activities of Pakistani-origin US national David Coleman Headley, for surveying the 26/11 attacks’ targets in Mumbai in his several reconnaissance trips to the city months before the attack. Headley visited India eight times from September 2006 to July 2008. He was finally arrested in the US on October 3, 2009.
Until 12 years ago, Makki was the head of LeT’s foreign affairs wing, which was involved in radicalising and recruiting foreigners and setting up sleeper modules abroad for staging attacks there as part of its global terror activities, a counter-terror official said. He had mentored Sajid in that time. These details were also confirmed by Headley, when he was interrogated by a National Investigation Agency (NIA) team in June 2010 in the US, the source said.
“David Headley had revealed that Abdur Rehman Makki was LeT founder Hafiz Saeed’s cousin, the son of his maternal uncle, and the foreign affairs In-charge of LeT,” the source said. ”During his interrogation by the NIA, Headley said that 26/11 attacks’ co-mastermind Sajid Majid alias Wasi had worked with Makki in the foreign affairs cell and was his personal assistant. Sajid later became Headley’s handler,” the source said.
Sajid had allegedly provided financial and logistic help to Headley for conducting surveillance of the targets for the Mumbai attacks, according to Interpol’s Red Corner Notice, which was issued against him on the request of Indian authorities. Sajid had been sent to several countries by the terror outfit and had used multiple passports. “According to Headley, Sajid had visited countries, including India, Qatar, UAE and Canada,” the source said.
Sajid was one of those who had orchestrated the 26/11 Mumbai attacks from a specially set-up control-room at Malir in Karachi. They had then fled to the outfit’s Baitul Mujahideen camp at Muzaffarabad in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) on November 30, 2008. It was there that they got the confirmation that one of the 10 suicide attackers that carried out the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, Ajmal Kasab, had been arrested, the source said.
The 10 Pakistani terrorists had arrived by sea on November 26, 2008, and lay siege to the city, opening fire indiscriminately at various places and killing 166, including 18 police personnel. The attack lasted till November 29. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Oberoi Trident, Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Leopold Café, Cama Hospital, and Nariman House Jewish community centre were some of the places targeted. Pakistani authorities had arrested seven LeT members involved in planning the attack, including prime suspect Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. Their trial has been underway at an Anti-Terrorism Court since 2009.