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From petty thief in Multan to terror face in India

December 02, 2008 16:10 IST

The involvement of Mohammad Amjad Amir Iman, a Lashkar-e-Tayiba cadre, in the Mumbai terror attacks has once again brought to fore that terror groups in Pakistan were hiring people with weak economic and social background.

Twenty-one-year-old Iman, when captured from Chowpatty after the Wednesday's audacious attack, told interrogators that he had started his career as a petty thief in Lahore, where he was staying with his brother after dropping out from school in 2000.

Thereafter, Iman shuttled between his brother's home and his parents' house till 2005. He had a fight with his family members and started working as a daily wage earner, but later shifted to a small-time criminal gang during which he and one of his friends came across some Jamaat-ul-Dawa members while purchasing arms from a market in Rawalpindi.

After deliberating among themselves, Iman claimed that both of them decided to join the group because the jihad training they would receive would further their future life in crime.

During training, Iman found many youths belonging to poor families were undergoing arms training at the Lashkar camps.

They had been promised greener pastures besides paying hefty sums to their poor parents, he said.

In the training programme, he was shown films on India's alleged atrocities in Kashmir, and fiery lectures by preachers, including Lashkar chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed's talks, which led him to believe the Lashkar's cause was worth giving his life.

According to Iman, Lashkar commander Lakhvi promised that his family would be rewarded with Rs 1.5 lakh for their son's sacrifice.

Besides him, there were dozens of others being trained in the Lashkar camp, who would be carrying out suicide missions after they were launched into India through Kashmir and Nepal borders, Iman said.

Intelligence agencies have said people from poor socio-economic background in Pakistan were easy targets for terror groups like Lashkar and Jaish-e-Mohammed to fill up their depleting cadres, sources said.

Sumir Kaul in Mumbai
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