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Pak PM Gilani's PRO admits Headley is his half-brother

By Rezaul H Laskar
November 28, 2009 19:48 IST
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Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's public relations officer on Saturday acknowledged that David Coleman Headley, a terror suspect detained in the United States, is his half-brother, but dismissed as incorrect reports that his family is related to the premier.

Public relations officer Danyal Gilani said in a statement that Indian media reports 'trying to establish a relationship between Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and the family of detained US terror suspect and my half-brother, Daood Gilani alias David Coleman Headley, is incorrect, misplaced and totally baseless.'

The report is based on speculation and is intended to create 'unnecessary hype,' Danyal Gilani said. He said his ancestors migrated to Pakistan from Jastarwal in India's Punjab state and Etawah in Uttar Pradesh while the premier's family has been living in Multan 'for centuries' and the two families 'have no relationship with each other.'

Danyal Gilani also acknowledged that the Prime Minister had issued a condolence message on his father Syed Saleem Gilani's death in December last year and visited his house to offer condolences.

"This he did out of courtesy because I was working as his PRO and also because my father was a renowned broadcaster and a known personality of his time. At that time Daood (Gilani) was not in Pakistan," he said.

Danyal Gilani said he had been working as the PRO to the premier since 2005, when the post was held by Shaukat Aziz, and did not join after the current Pakistan People's Party-led government took over.

He also offered some details about his half-brother Daood, saying, "His having another name or changing his name at some stage in life has come as a surprise to me."

He said he had 'very little contact' with Daood since 2002, when he began living in Islamabad after passing the Civil Service examination.

"I last met Daood when he visited Pakistan a few days after my father's death nearly a year ago," he added. He said Daood was born in 1960 in Washington, where his father was working with the Voice of America and had married an American woman.

"Soon after Daood's birth, the tenure of my father's posting ended and the couple shifted to Pakistan. In the late 1960s my father and Daood's mother got divorced, and according to family elders, she went back to the US," he said.

Danyal Gilani said, "Being much younger to Daood, I have heard that he studied at the Hassan Abdal Cadet College for some time and in the mid-1970s shifted to America to live with his mother. Since then, the family here only had occasional links with him. In fact, because of his involvement with issues related to drugs, my father wanted the rest of the family to stay away from his influence.

Media reports in India had on Friday said that indications have emerged that Headley may be distantly related to Pakistan Prime Minister Gilani. American authorities arrested Headley in Chicago on charges of planning terrorist attacks in India and Denmark. He has also been accused of having close links with the banned Lashker-e-Tayiba, which the Pakistan government has acknowledged was behind the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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