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Top Pak diplomat in Chicago personally knew Headley, Rana: FBI

By Lalit K Jha
October 30, 2009 12:30 IST
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Pakistan's Consul General in Chicago personally knew both David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana, nabbed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for planning to carry out a major terror attack in India at the behest of LeT, the US authorities have claimed.

The FBI in its revised chargesheet filed before a Chicago court said the Consul General of Pakistan in Chicago personally knows both Rana and Headley alias 'Daood Gilani', as all three of them are from the same high school.

According to the website of the Pakistan Embassy in Washington, Dr Aman Rashid is the Consul General in Chicago.

"On or about September 25, 2009, Rana spoke by telephone with the Consul General at the Pakistani Consulate in Chicago in an effort to obtain a five-year visa for Headley to travel to Pakistan. It is clear from the email traffic unrelated to terrorist plotting that the Consul General knows Rana and Headley personally as all three attended the same high school," the FBI claimed.

However, the affidavit, a copy of which has been obtained by PTI, does not say anything if the Consul General was aware or had any inclination of the terrorist connection of Rana and Headley.

48-year old Rana (48) and Headley (49) are not only residents of Chicago, but were product of same military school in Karachi.

American national Headley, whose assistance was sought by Lashkar-e-Tayiba in planning a major terror attack in India, was helped by his Pakistani-Canadian friend Rana to obtain a visa for Pakistan so that he can travel to the North West Frontier Province for training and meeting the LeT leaders, federal prosecutors have charged. The chargesheet also indicates that LeT was planning to use Headley for a major terrorist attack in India.

The transcripts of the taped conversations, both email and telephone, reveals that LeT was planning to use Headley for attack on a mysterious Indian actor 'Rahul' – which Indian intelligence agencies say could be a code message. Headley stated that he intended to travel to Pakistan in early October to meet with an unidentified LeT Individual 'B' and (Ilyas) Kashmiri, the FBI told the court. It said Headley had already travelled to Pakistan from late January to early March of 2009, during which he visited FATA.

While it does not mention to which high schools the three were students, the FBI told the court that postings to a Yahoo group of graduates of a military school located in the Pakistani town of Hasan Abdal (a group that refers to itself as 'abdalians') reflected that both Headley and Rana have participated in the group and referred to their attendance at that school. Cadet College Hasan Abdal is located in the Hasan Abdal – a historic city in northern Punjab of Pakistan, some 40 km north west of Rawalpindi. The town with a population of 50,000 is famous for Gurdwara Sri Panja Sahib, one of the most sacred places of Sikhism. 

The affidavit says the Consul General knows Headley by a different name -- Daood Gilani. In seeking a visa for Headley, Rana stated that he wished to obtain the visa for a white American named "Headley" who did not have any Pakistani background at all. "When the Consul General suggested that Rana send his friend to the consulate, Rana explained that he had sent his friend elsewhere to take care of some unspecified business so that someone else would visit the Consulate," the FBI says.

"It is clear from the foregoing conversation that Rana was attempting to deceive the Consul General into granting a
visa for Headley without the Consul General knowing for whom the visa would be issued," the FBI told the court. Rana told the FBI that he was aware that Headley had been affiliated with LeT, he had received training from them and he had met Kashmiri, leader of Harkat-ul-Jihad-Islami. Rana also said that he was aware that Headley communicated with LeT Individual 'B' and 'A'. In Rana's chargesheet, the FBI named two LeT leaders, whose names have not been identified and are referred to as LeT Member 'A' and LeT Member 'B'. The FBI said the identity of both the LeT leaders are known to the government.

LeT Member 'A' is an individual with substantial influence and responsibility within Lashkar-e-Tayiba, while Individual 'B' is associated with both LeT and Kashmiri. The FBI alleged that Headley, Rana, Individual 'B' and LeT Member 'A' have frequently used coded language and changed their methods of communications in order to conceal the nature and content of their communications.

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Lalit K Jha in Washington DC
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