An inside story of Headley alias Gilani, a plotter of 26/11

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David Coleman Headley
November 26/11, 2008- terrorism harbored from Pakistan hit Mumbai that left as many as 166 innocence people dead, including few brave officers and foreigners. As we complete the third anniversary of that horrifying day, let's take cognizance of the one, who penetrated with Indians, spied, and supplied informations to extremists to slay innocents.

Daood Sayed Gilani, now bore name David Coleman Headley, born to an American mother and Pakistani father, was a former diplomat in Pakistan embassy in Washington DC. With one blue eye and other black, who was lovingly known as 'gora' (White skinned) in Pakistan, is the one to export bundles of intelligence to terror outfit, to LeT in Pakisatn, as he scouted targets in Mumbai since 2006.

Gilani who went to Pakistan on his adolescent, studied in an army school. A few years later, his mother headed back to United States, as she broke up her relationship with Gilani's father caused by Pakistan-American cultural differences.

As a teen Gilani witnessed his nation's humiliating loss to India in a war, and a shell from Pakistan-rival destroying his school leaving two dead. This was the first instance to trigger hatred in Gilani against India, as a nation.

Many years later Gilani moved into US to live alongside of his American mother, who ran a club in Philadelphia. Having connection in drug peddling, Gilani faced slew of charges in US. In 1987 he was first arrested on drug charges. However, he cooperated with the DAE in exchange of minimal sentence. Post this arrest he still maintained his narcotic profile till 2002.

However, before joining LeT he became an informant for DAE, contemplating information on drug business. Over the time he becomes a part of American intelligence but off the record, says sources. He was once sent to Pakistan by DAE, to bring in information from Pakistan on drug dealings. However, Gilani's handlers in DAE oblivious of his travel to Pakistan many times then on without there knowledge.

But, September 11 attack on twin towers in USA, changed everything thereafter. American officals sought Gilani's work to get information from Pakistan but this time about terrorists. Gilani willingly agreed to officials demand. Who knew this informant eventually will mastermind a deadliest attack against India.

Gilani's first met with his befriended Lashkar's spiritual leader, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, in 2000, whose ideology he came to adopt.

Gilani, was gradually giving up drug connections and merging himself in terrorism, with Lashkar-e-Taiba, among several outfits in Pakistan. In 2002, he took is first terrorism training, in Pakistan. His development as a terrorist continued till 2005, under the guidance of LeT, he was becoming a warrior in radical Islamism. At time when Gilani took his first nurture as a terrorist, LeT outfit was officially banned in Pakistan. However, between 2002-2005 Gilani attend five stints in Lashkar terror camps.

The terror trainings were carried out with the help of a section of ISI functionaries, Pakistan's official intelligence agency. That facilitated weapons, funds, screening as confessed by Gilani himself.

Gilani was first prepared to take part in attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, but later he was set on for a larger destruction by his handlers.

In, 2006 he changed his name as David Headley, to hide his Pakistan-Muslim identity so he could make trips to India easier, thus he changed his South-Asian name to an English name. Moved to Chicago, where he worked in Tahawwur Hussain Rana's immigration agency. Rana had been in the Cadet College Hasan Abdal with him.

Gilani's wife cautioned federal officials about his LeT links and about his active participation in terror training. Somehow he managed to get away from the charges against him.

Major Iqbal, a main plotter of Mumbai terror attacks, funded Headley to set up a front office in Mumbai, that would be a cover for his dark-side activities as terrorist.

He spied Taj Hotel for months in his best intelligence training that he received in Pakistan including other targets for Mir and Major Iqbal, who also sent him on separate missions to gather intelligence on an atomic research center and military sites around India. Headley stayed in Taj Hotel more often as he was casing the targets.

After month of scouting in and around Mumbai, Headley mapped out complete plan to attack, with help of video recordings and GPS coordinates that he gathered in five trips to India. The plan having included the sea route to India from Karachi by hijacking an Indian vessel at sea. Escape routes for the terrorists, setting up safe place and a route map that would facilitate well-trained gunmen to their targets with no scope for confusion, which immensely helped to carry out 2008, terror attacks in Mumbai.

During his last trip to India in 2008, Headley brought few traditional red threads for terrorists, tied around wrist by Hindus. Meanwhile, a bunch of cold-blooded Pakistani terrorists carried ID cards, which bore Hindu names. This was a deliberate plan to misguide investigation, as the terrorists would be assumed as Hindus.

The constant spying and terror plotting were executed in Mumbai, 2008, on a clam evening, which only targeted innocence. Creating a massacre, over 160 dead and many injured. The heartrending incident for Indians led Headley attaining a new identity as a perfect terrorist.

In 2009,  Headley was arrested at O'Hare International Airport on his way to Pakistan, as he was then conspiring to attack a Danish newspaper that had published cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.

Today, he had been held guilty by an US court and cooperating with American and Indian officials and has spilled many stunning information related to attacks, giving a large picture of ISI and its involvement.

Headley's mission was undoubtedly successful that inflicted scars on India which may not heal any time sooner. But what's annoying is don't know how many more Headleys are in store and spying, plotting for next attack, waiting for a opportunity in inroads of India itself. Don't know how many more sacrifices of innocents will it take before our government wakes up and be proactive against terrorism rather being reactive after the disaster stuck.

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