From rickshaw driver to militant leader

The following one-on-one interview with the recently caught hardened militant and Ameer of banned religious outfit Lashker-e-Jhangvi is published in today’s The News, in which he disclosed some details about the malicious designs of the terrorist organisation
By Salis bin Perwaiz
Sitting at a location that shall remain undisclosed due to security reasons, Ameer Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ), Sindh, Rahimullah alias Naeem alias Ali Hasan, tells The News that he hails from Swat. One could not tell from his appearance that he was a militant with designs to inflict all sorts of horror on the citizens of the city. Aside from an old cut mark on his forehead, there is nothing conspicuous about his demeanour or look.

The man, who looks relatively young despite sporting a light beard, says that it was in the 1980s that he along with his family migrated to Karachi and settled in Qasba Colony. During his stay in Karachi, he continues, he enrolled in a local school, where he studied till class eight. Having lost interest in regular education, he says he left the school and joined a local Madrassah, where he immersed himself in Islamic teachings.

When he was 19 years old, he started driving a rickshaw, but continued his education in Islamic teaching. It was during his “education” that he came across the literature of banned militant organization LJ, and was deeply inspired by the ideology of the outfit and its leaders.

He began visiting the Siddiqi-e-Akber mosque situated at Nagaan Chowrangi, where he joined the now-defunct Sipah-e-Sahaba, the mother organization of the LJ and started actively working for the outfit. In the year 1994-95, recalls Rahimullah, though still quite young, he became the Qasba Colony Unit Incharge of Sipah-e-Sahaba, and continued to read and listen to the hate literature of the organization.

Despite his young age, Rahimullah has seen a lot.

He further disclosed that, in the year 1995, he met one Asif Ramzi, who took him to a training camp of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. After he excelled during his time at the camp, he was sent to Saroobi Camp in Afghanistan, where he learnt the art of making bombs and was also given training in other weapons. He learnt how to train others and to prepare potential suicide bombers.

After thorough training, he was sent back to Pakistan.

To check his expertise and ability, he was sent to Karachi. His first assignment involved drawing out a plan to target the Orangi Town police station, which he successfully executed in 2003.

Rahimullah revealed the disturbing extent of his expertise. He said that he used car-remotes, used to lock and unlock vehicles, to make bomb triggers. Even if caught, this device could not be recognized as a trigger by law-enforcers. He said that he was also very well versed in making suicide jackets that are more difficult to detect visually.

The successful hit at the Orangi Town police station instantly gave Rahimullah a good name in his organization. He was appointed the Ameer of Lashker-e-Jhangvi, Sindh, as a reward. He was assigned the task of hiring young boys and motivating them to do work for the organization.

Rahim says, in a convinced and confident manner, that his organization, which has been linked to various deadly attacks across the country, is not “against” the local public, but opposed to those who belong to the Shia sect. He says, with a stone-cold expression, that “they are not from us.”

He also justifies the LJ’s targeting of officers conducting operations against their organization, mentioning that, in Sindh, SSP Mohammed Fayyaz Khan, SSP Khurram Waris, SSP Mohammed Farooq Awan and SP Raja Omer Khataab were atop their hit list.

Rahim said that the organization had, a few years ago, begun receiving funds from Abid Mehsud, the second in command of Baitullah Meshud. The group also received arms and explosives from Mehsud, in addition to ready-to-go suicide bombers trained in Wana and Afghanistan to execute attacks on targets in Karachi.

He claims that he planned the 2006 Nishter Park attack, and personally prepared the suicide jacket and trained the bomber for the blast. In Allama Hasan Turabi case, he had prepared Abdul Karim, a Bengali, to execute the attack on Allama Turabi and had personally dropped the bomber at NIPA Chowrangi in a Red coloured car. He said that he also personally planned the attack on SSP Raja Omer Khataab. In this case, he says that it was only due to an initial non-functioning of the bomb trigger that the SSP managed to escape with his life.

Later, he went under ground and began preparing three suicide bombers Masroor, Noor Mohammed alias Sultan Omer and Zubair Bengali. They were initially assigned the task to generate funds for the organization, and told to kidnap traders for ransom. Once a target was kidnapped, the heads of the LJ in Waziristan were informed, following which the ransom call to the family would be made not from Karachi, but from the tribal areas to ensure secrecy.

Regarding the kidnapping of transporter Shaukat Afridi, who died during the Baldia encounter at the hideout of the militants, Rahimullah disclosed that he was kidnapped because he used to provide his tankers to transport oil supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistam. He also divulged that, even after receiving the ransom money, they had no intentions of releasing Afridi. They had been instructed to behead Shaukat on camera, and the video was to be released as a warning to all “collaborators.”

A steely-eyed and remorseless, Rahimullah, clearly having lost not an once of his motivation, further claimed that his arrest will not deter the designs of his organization, adding that are several men in line present across the country ready to sacrifice their lives for the outfit’s mission.

Source: The News, 29/9/2008

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