The Lashkar-e-Taiyba and the Jamaat-ud-Dawa might have disowned him, but the father of the lone Pakistani gunman arrested for the Mumbai terror attacks has admitted that the young man whose photograph was beamed by media across the world, is his son.
Amir Kasab , the father of Ajmal Amir Iman alias Ajmal Kasab, broke down as he made the admission to the influential Dawn newspaper in the courtyard of his house in Faridkot, a village of about 2,500 people in Okara district of Punjab province.
“I was in denial for the first couple of days, saying to myself it could not have been my son… Now I have accepted it. This is the truth. I have seen the picture in the newspaper. This is my son,” Amir said in his first interview to the media since his son’s arrest.
Britain’s Observer newspaper and the BBC had earlier reported that Kasab belonged to Faridkot and had joined the Lashker-e-Tayiba some time ago.
The Observer’s correspondent had located Kasab’s home and gotten hold of the voters’ roll which had the names of his parents Amir Kasab and Noor as well as the numbers on their national identity cards.
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Reports had said that Kasab left home as a frustrated teenager about four years ago and went to Lahore in search of a job. After a brush with crime in that city, he reportedly joined the LeT.
Amir Kasab, a father of three sons and two daughters, said his son disappeared from home four years ago. “He had asked me for new clothes on Eid that I couldn’t provide him. He got angry and left,” he said.
As Amir talked to the Dawn’s correspondents, Kasab’s two sisters and a younger brother stood nearby. Their mother, wrapped in a chador, lay on a nearby charpoy.
“Her trance was broken as the small picture of Kasab lying in a Mumbai hospital was shown around. They appeared to have identified their son. The mother shrunk back in her chador but the father said he had no problem in talking about the subject,” the newspaper reported.
Amir said he had settled in Faridkot after arriving from the nearby Haveli Lakha many years ago. He owned the house the family lived in and made a living by selling pakoras in the streets of the village.
He pointed to a hand-cart in one corner of the courtyard and said, “This is all I have. I shifted back to the village after doing the same job in Lahore. My eldest son, Afzal, is also back after a stint in Lahore. He is out working in the fields.”
Faridkot is located off a busy road and bears all the characteristics of a lower-middle class locality in a big city, the newspaper reported.
Amir said he has had little say in Kasab’s life since the day his son walked out on him. He calls the people who snatched his son from him his enemies, but has no clue who these enemies are, the paper reported.
Asked why he did not look for his son all this while, he said, “What could I do with the few resources that I had?”
Media reports had said that Kasab’s handlers had promised him that his family would be compensated with Rs 1,50,000 after the completion of the Mumbai mission.
Though mild-mannered, Amir became agitated at the mention of the link between his son’s actions and money. “I don’t sell my sons,” Amir said.