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Headley's father was a Pakistani diplomat: Report

November 19, 2009 21:26 IST

Fresh details have emerged about David Headley, who was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in October for plotting terror attacks in India, with the United States media reporting that the terror suspect was born to a Pakistani diplomat father and an American mother.

At the age of 16, Headley, who was born Daood Gilani, was taken out of Pakistan, where he attended a military school, and brought to Philadelphia by his mother.

Headley's mother had split with her husband by then and opened a popular pub-cum-nightspot.

A report in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Thursday has brought out unknown facts about the life of the 49-year-old, who along with his Pakistani-Canadian friend Tahawwur Rana, allegedly planned attacks in India and Denmark, at the behest of terror outfit Lashker-e-Tayiba.

They are also suspected to have carried out a reconnaissance of the likely targets for theĀ  deadly 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai.

According to the paper, David's mother Serrill Headley was the founder of the Khyber Pass pub-restaurant in Philadelphia. After splitting with her husband, a 'prominent Pakistani diplomat', she lost child custody in Pakistani courts.

After two attempts to get her son out of Pakistan failed, she finally succeeded in 1977, claims the report.

In Philadelphia, however, Headley suffered from a culture shock, says the paper. Raised as a Muslim, he was having trouble adjusting to the idea that his mother ran a bar, the report said.

"He has never been alone with, much less had a date with, a girl, except the servant girls of his household," it said.

He changed his name to Headley in 2006 'to raise less suspicion when he traveled', said the paper.

The report said the Khyber was a slice of exotica on the Philadelphia bar scene, with Pakistani wedding tents and 180 brands of beer. Eventually, Serrill turned it over to her son.

"His mother owned it and gave it to him around 1985," said Stephen Simons, the current owner of the bar, now called the Khyber. "He ran it for about a year and ran it into the ground," Simons said. Simons' brother bought the bar in 1988.

David Headley studied accounting, possibly at a community college in the Philadelphia region. With his mother, he operated a video store, FliksVideo, in Center City.

Serrill Headley died in 2008. Her second husband, Dick Pothier, was an Inquirer reporter. He also died in 1995.

In 1997, Headley, under his birth name of Gilani, was convicted on federal charges in Brooklyn of smuggling heroin into the country. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison, the report said.

Headley had been living in the north side of Chicago, authorities said, in an apartment registered under the name of a dead man. Although he has claimed to be a consultant in an immigration business, federal agents, who had kept a watch over his activities, found no evidence of such a business.

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