(MENAFN- AsiaNet News) Amidst ongoing speculation surrounding the mysterious deaths of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed operatives in Pakistan, there is a growing concern about the condition of Sajid Mir, a prominent figure in the terrorist organisation and a key planner of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Mir, currently incarcerated in Kot Lakhpat jail following his conviction by an anti-terrorism court in June last year, was unexpectedly hospitalized, as per a TOI report.
There are indications that he may have been poisoned, and he is reportedly on ventilator support. This development follows earlier reports suggesting a transfer to a Dera Gazi Khan prison due to security threats. The uncertainty surrounding Mir's well-being has intensified within Pakistan's jihadi circles.
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However, as per the report, quoting sources in the region seem cautious about the credibility of these speculations, suggested that they might be a strategic move by Pakistan's military-intelligence complex. There is a suspicion that these reports could be a maneuver to evade foreign pressure to take decisive action against the Lashkar commander.
Sajid Mir had been sentenced to eight years for terror financing, with a hefty fine of Rs 4.2 lakh imposed on him. This legal action was taken only when the mounting pressure on Pakistan became untenable, with the looming threat of further penalties from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The apprehension of the LeT commander took place quietly in April of the previous year, with his prison sentence pronounced in June 2022, just ahead of a crucial meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organisation monitoring terror financing and money laundering.
As per the report, Indian intelligence sources have also proposed the possibility that the purported news of his demise could serve as a diversionary tactic to prevent his extradition to the United States. Sajid Mir, carrying a five million dollar bounty announced by the FBI, is a wanted individual according to the US government.
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As per the FBI, Sajid Mir, aged 45, reportedly underwent plastic surgery to alter his appearance following the Mumbai attacks. Mir served as Lashkar-e-Taiba's foreign recruiter and played a pivotal role as the primary handler for American terrorist David Coleman Headley, also known as Dawood Gilani.
A document from the US Department of Justice highlights that the 26/11 attackers were in direct telephonic communication with Mir and his associates, namely Abu Qahafa and Mazhar Iqbal, in real-time during the course of the attack.
Following Mir's counsel, Headley opted to alter his original name from "Dawood Gilani" to "David Coleman Headley," a strategic move aimed at facilitating his activities on behalf of Lashkar-e-Taiba. This change allowed Headley to present himself in India as an American who was neither Muslim nor Pakistani. Additionally, Mir advised Headley to establish an immigration office in Mumbai, providing a cover for his surveillance activities. For this purpose, Headley received $25,000 to set up the office.
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