Kingpin of Pakistan’s narco-terrorism nails his country


The deposition of David Headley in an Indian Court is a significant development in the context of construction of future narrative of jihadi terror orchestrated by Pakistan’s military-intelligence establishment.

Notwithstanding the popular opinion that the revelations by David Headley have yielded no new facts, the details that have emerged from the deposition have major international ramifications.

As far as opinion of Indian people is concerned, it is decidedly based on the culpability and hopelessness of a state called ‘Pakistan’.

Most Indians barring some vested interests like the ‘candle brigade’, consider Pakistan’s military-establishment as the progenitor of jihad, and therefore a rogue organization of a failed state. So, this whole issue of ‘proofs’ and ‘evidences’ on terrorists attacks perpetrated by Pakistan is not for the consumption of Pakistan – it is primarily to corner the international community dominated by the US and its Western allies. In that respect the deposition of David Headley in an Indian Court is a diplomatic achievement. This is an occasion to convey emphatic signals to the US or the Western World that it can no longer expect India to blindly accept only those villains as terrorists, who affect Western interests. This can longer be without reciprocity and mutual concern.

The earlier proof which India had about Pakistan’s involvement in 26/11, was in flesh and blood, in form of Ajmal Kasab. This time the evidence that is being provided by the ‘key planner’ is from the American soil. The Western World can therefore ignore this at the cost of their credibility with regard to international cooperation in the ‘war against terrorism’. As it stands today their said credibility is seriously under question. India therefore expects the international community to circumscribe and penalize Pakistan to the extent, if not more, that it did to Iraq, Iran, Syria or Myanmar. This selective use of sanctions hurt India’s interests and security for a long time. What probably prevented India so far to act unilaterally against Pakistan were appeals from the ‘Western Community’ to exercise restraint in deference to the ongoing war against terrorism in Afghanistan. India can no longer be shackled by such considerations and imperatives at the cost of its security.

Headley’s deposition, and the legal recourse therein, for this role in 26/11, is testimony to India’s stature as a civilized and responsible country. If the world community fails to respect or reward this stature, the international cooperation on ‘war against terrorism’ would be dead, in effect.

Headley’s deposition, has revealed many other facets of terror-infrastructure of Pakistan. It has highlighted the three clear phases of terrorist attacks, i.e. conceptualization, planning and execution with respect to Pakistan. The conceptualization of 26/11 was at the highest level, no less than Musharraf, who as a military dictator was in full command of the military-intelligence establishment. It would be he who would have decided to give 26/11 the veneer of Hindu-terror. But for the providential apprehension of Ajmal Kasab, the Pakistani establishment had almost succeeded in creating this diabolical narrative. Assisting Pakistan in creation of this narrative were some journalists, politicians and possibly some police personnel.

Earlier, to the NIA, Headley had disclosed that during his many visits to India in 2007, he had also carried out reconnaissance of the Vice-President’s House, India Gate and CBI Headquarters. Interestingly, during the same period, one English television channel in India ran a story based on a ‘fudged’ sting operation that certain so called ‘Hindu terrorists’ were planning to target the Vice President because of his religious denomination. The story died its natural death within 24 hours. The moot question therefore David Headley can explain is why Pakistan and certain elements within India were so desperate to carry out an attack to create the bogey of ‘Hindu terror’.

Headley’s deposition is a commentary on the sociology of the jihadi terror dynamics in Pakistan, in that, while operatives with modern education are utilized for detailed planning, the actual execution is done by the indoctrinated madrasas educated cadres. These are the ones who act as suicide bombers, while others like Musharraf, Headley and Hafiz Saeed live to prosper. For 26/11 the detailed ground planning was done by David Headley during his seven visits to India before 26/11, while the cannon fodder was provided by Hafiz Saeed and his LeT.

There are very slim chances that Headley would share the strategic objective of the attack even if he has the knowledge, because that may cause embarrassment to not only to Pakistan but many other quarters as well.

Nevertheless, it must be said that David Headley is no ordinary terrorist. He epitomizes the narco-terrorism network and feature of the military-intelligence establishment of Pakistan.

Nawaz Sharif is on record to say that in 1992, the Pakistan Army Chief and DG – ISI had proposed to him ‘a detailed blueprint for selling heroin to pay for country’s covert military operations’.

David Headley belonged to the upper echelons of narcotic-terror network or dirty tricks department of Pakistan. He changed his current name from Daood Syed Gilani to facilitate his narcotics and terrorist operations. Later, as is the case with most such high level international operators, Headley ended up being a double agent. Headley was therefore utilized by the US Drug Enforcement Agency as well, after he was arrested on charges of smuggling of heroin. Reportedly, he contributed very liberally to the coffers of the ISI.

The reach and influence of Headley in Pakistan was phenomenal. He studied in Pakistan’s prestigious Cadet College at Hassan Abdal. His classmates at the time of 26/11 were at the rank of Brigadiers and Generals. He enjoyed formidable influence in the military. His half-brother Danyal Gilani was the spokesman for the Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. His father too was a well known diplomat and broadcaster.

The deposition of David Headley, under the circumstances is no ordinary development. It could not have happened without strategic nod of the US. What geopolitical scenario it forebodes is to be seen, but it has nailed Pakistan decisively. Will it shame Pakistan to now to act against the likes of Hafiz Saeed and Maulana Masood Azhar? Not likely! Even as the Pakistan military pursues Zarb-e-Ajab against the tribal Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Punjabi networks like the LeT, JeM and Lal Masjid under Maulana Aziz continue to flourish. One scary reason, as per some reports, for Pakistan’s inaction, is that a large number of personnel owing allegiance to Hafeez Saeed and Maulana Aziz have infiltrated Pakistan’s nuclear establishment.

(RSN Singh is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research & Analysis Wing. The author of two books: Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and Military Factor in Pakistan, he is also a Guest Blogger with Canary Trap. The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Canary Trap or any employee thereof)

Citizens must master empathy to reclaim our humanity against terrorism


The terror attack across multiple locations in Paris is a declaration of war by the Islamic State. It must be seen as such because 9/11 terror (2001) attack in the United States was a deadly riposte by Al Qaeda and Taliban to draw the Western hemisphere in a bloody “Us versus Them” conflict across the Islamic arc from West Asia to Afghanistan-Paksitan. The 26/11 terrorist attack (2008), preceded by the 1993 bombings and several other terror strikes, in Mumbai (India), were an extension of a proxy war strategy of Pakistan military establishment carried out by terrorist groups supported by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). In South Asia, Mumbai was the most favoured terror target by Pakistani military terror planners. Now Paris has emerged as the most favoured terror target by the Islamic State because this city is the birthplace of the ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity, ideas that are repugnant to Muslim religious extremists. This is why it is a declaration of war by the Islamic State and the world and its citizens must rise up to this challenge.

President Francois Hollande has declared that the French response will be “merciless” and “pity-less”. Countering violent extremism requires a democratic civilizational confrontation between citizens and terrorists. Citizens across the world, irrespective of the political systems they live in, must shed their religious identities and fight the demons within their communities. Irrespective of where they live and what their governments believe in, Muslims, Christian, Hindus, Jews and all other religious groups must resolve to weed out terror from within their communities. Governments across the world can hardly do anything to stop the cowardly terrorist attacks by religious extremists, if citizens do not help in countering violent extremism.

How can citizens across countries help? They should reach out to communities that are experiencing marginalization and radicalization to embrace them and their problems. Citizen groups must work pro-actively with their governments to help communities facing marginalization and radicalization and help those communities stem the tide. Citizens must reach out to those who are angry and susceptible to joining extremist violent groups and persuade them to join the mainstream. Extremism can be withered, shrunk and eventually annihilated through citizen-centric and citizen-powered empathy strategies.

Governments cannot fight religious radicalization. They can, however, make enabling policies and environments for citizens to take the fight to terrorists by engaging radicalized youngsters through empathy. Places of worship, ghettos and community gatherings across the world which could be potential sites for recruitment and radicalization must witness battles of ideas powered by empathy. Citizens in multi-cultural and multi-religious countries must preserve their progressive and liberal ways of life by persuading and bringing those who are angry, dejected into their enlightened mainstream. Only genuine embrace of differences and deep empathy can persuade people of different religions to accept that religion does not have any authority over individual choice and freedoms.

All citizens across the world must understand that countering violent religious extremism is mandatory to defend and protect democracy. Religious extremism is premised on an ideology of dictatorship and tyranny. That is why it is critical for 21st Century to outlaw religious extremism and create an impregnable wall of agnosticism around fundamental rights and freedoms for all humans on planet earth. For this governments across the world must quickly and urgently arrive at a universal understanding and declaration of terrorism. Apologetic clichés such as one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter has no place in our 21st Century discourse. Instead, the governments across the world must create enabling conditions for citizens to mobilize around empathy strategies in order to reach out of those who support terrorists or are amenable to terrorism or are radicalized but silent supporters of terrorism. This is the surest way to outlaw terrorism because when citizens claim their citizenship, they claim it for everyone including those who are angry, disenfranchised and violent.

Meanwhile, the governments across the world must set a clear deadline to countries that support terrorists and terrorism related ideologies. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Israel and Iran must be told to rein in and eliminate their State sponsored use of terrorism, which serve their national interests. Saudi Arabia under the Saud family promoted the dangerous ideology of Wahabism and Salafism, which provide the dangerous intellectual rationalization for Islamist terror groups. The global community must bring overwhelming pressure on the United States of America to withdraw its protective arm around the House of Saud. Riyadh’s petro-dollars funded the rise of Islamic extremism powered by the magnetic pull of radical Wahabism and Salafism, channelizing the disenfranchised frustration of Muslim citizens across the world towards extremely violent religious radicalization.

The fight against Islamic State must begin at Riyadh and Islamabad. These are the original places where the foundational pillars of the global Islamic terror infrastructure were first sunk by the disastrous diplomacy of the United States in the decade between 1980 and 1990. The trigger that shield’s Saudi Arabia and Pakistan’s complicity in promoting violent Islamic extremism is embedded in Washington’s long standing support for terror-supporting Saud Family and Pakistan’s military establishment. The fights against the Islamic State need a unified global action by governments and citizens. Governments must unapologetically annihilate political – security establishments supporting terrorists and their infrastructure. Eventually, it will be citizens who will help governments win this war by squeezing out radicalization and terrorism from society through empathy, compassion and consciousness.

(Shashikumar Velath is an investigative journalist and led CNN-IBN’s Special Investigation Team from 2005 to 2009. He is currently a Leadership Group Member in Ashoka – Innovators for the Public. The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Canary Trap or any employee thereof)

Photos of Prabhakaran with wife, son and daughter

Canary Trap brings you the exclusive pictures of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran’s family.

The photos have been released by the Sri Lankan defence ministry.

1. Prabhakaran and Madivadini in an undisclosed location in India during mid 80’s.

2. Prabhakaran and Madivadini at their wedding.

3. Prabhakaran’s celebrates the sixth birthday of his youngest son Balachandran.

4. Prabhakaran and Madivadini with their most favoured son in an undisclosed location in Wanni.

5. Prabhakaran with family members.

6. Prabhakaran with his son in a swimming pool.

7. Prabhakaran with his family.


8. Prabhakaran, Madivadini and children on a sea tiger boat at the Iranamadu tank.



9. Prabhakaran with son Charles Antony.


10. Prabhakaran’s son (Charles Antony) and daughter.