ISI asked me to recruit Indian Army personnel: David Headley on Day 2

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On Day 2 of his deposition in a Special Mumbai Court via video link from an undisclosed location in the United States, Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist David Coleman Headley said an officer of the ISI had asked him to recruit Indian Army personnel to spy for them.

He elaborated about the link between Pakistan’s military and terror organisations, a day after he described how the ISI officers joined forces with the LeT for 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

He said he had conducted a recce of Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai in 2006, especially the convention hall as the plan was to attack an Indian defence scientists meeting. The plan was, later, cancelled. He surveyed Hotel Oberoi, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Railway Station, Maharashtra Police HQ, Bhagat Singh Marg, all restaurants there and Chabad House.

According to Hindustan Times, Headley said the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Railway Station was originally not seen as a target, but as an exit point for the terrorists.

On 9 February, he spoke at length about one Major Abdul Rehman Pasha of Pakistan Army’s 6 Baloch regiment, who, he said, had retired and had joined LeT when he met him in 2003. Two years later, Headley said , Pasha had joined the al Qaeda.

His contact in the ISI, one Major Iqbal, had asked him to get Indian military intelligence and “asked me to recruit Indian Army personnel to spy for the ISI. Major Iqbal also wanted to procure details of Indian troop movement”.

On 8 February, Headley described how he met ISI officers Major Ali and Major Iqbal, who introduced him to Sajid Mir, a LeT recruiter, who became his handler. He told the court how he joined LeT and trained under Saeed and Lakhvi, who masterminded the 26/11 Mumbai attack.

Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam has said that he will question Headley at length on the the role played by the Pakistan military establishment in 26/11 attack. “From Headley’s deposition, it has become clear that there is a nexus between ISI and LeT,” said Nikam on 8 February.

His testimony will bring to an end the ambiguity about “state and non-state actors” of Pakistan in 26/11 attack. Headley’s testimony may beef up India’s case against Saeed and others.