De-coding the myth called Sajid Mir, the ISI’s top asset
New Delhi, June 29: The United States in its Country Reports on Terrorism has flagged Pakistan for not taking action against 26/11 attack plotter, Sajid Mir and Jaish-e-Mohammad chief, Maulana Masood Azhar.
While a lot is known, written and said about Azhar, there is very little that one knows about Sajid Mir. He remains one of the power important and powerful asset of the ISI and Lashkar-e-Tayiba. He had in fact played a major role in the 26/11 attack and was also David Headley's handler.
Intelligence files clearly indicate that Mir was one of the most important persons during the 26/11 attack. There have been several theories regarding Mir. While Pakistan continues to deny his very existence, the Indian Intelligence says that he was working with the ISI, before he was tasked the job of organising and seeing through the Mumbai 26/11 attacks. When his name cropped up at first, Pakistan even claimed that India had named the wrong person and the man in question was in fact a cleric.
Today, there is more information on Mir and it is confirmed that he has been withdrawn from all duties and lives under the protection of the ISI. His addresses have been traced to Rawalpindi and Lahore. He is shuttled between the two places frequently, an Intelligence Bureau official tells OneIndia.
Mir, who has been given seven tier security was more or less a myth for long as the information on him was highly guarded by the ISI. Mir is a top player in the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. He has been called as an international terrorist as he has carried out operations in different parts of the world including France. Prior to the 26/11 attack, he had visited India as a cricket fan. It is believed he was here to study the targets that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba was planning to hit on November 26 2008.
The 1976 born terrorist, Mir was initially holed up at Murdike as per the intelligence provided to India by the Mossad. Now his home is the near the Ganda Nala lane in Lahore Pakistan which is very close to Murdike which also happens to be one of the main base camps of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.
After the 26/11 attack he was told to lie low for a long time. He was in fact in Lahore all the time at his home. The fact that Pakistan even denies the existence of such a man and terms the allegations by India as a myth helped their cause even further.
No amount of surveillance done by the Indian agencies was able to track this man down.
However it was the Mossad agents who had provided India with ample information and his movement and it was found that he had moved into the Muridke camp of the Lashkar.
Going by what the Israelis have filed before the Eastern District Court of New York in the month of October 2014 it became even more clear that he is located in Murdike.
After the attacks of 26/11, the ISI had told him to lie low. Ideally the ISI moves its operatives to the Gulf when the heat is too high on their operatives. However in the case of Mir they did not do so. The arrests of Abu Jundal the Hindi tutor of the ten terrorists from the Gulf made the ISI think twice before sending its operatives there.
Moreover in the case of Jundal even the Pakistanis had staked a claim on him, but the Indians managed to win that battle and extradite him.
This is a clear indication that he was never moved out of Pakistan even once. The ISI does not mind if operatives of such importance take a salary from them for not doing work for years together. They tend to activate such terrorists for specific jobs once in five to ten years and this time he is active in connection with the Karachi project.
According to the testimony of Headley the Karachi Project was planned to launch operations in India using the home grown terrorists. This was the brain child of the ISI.
However the ISI realised that that the world had got wind of the project that they were planning. They decided to make a strategic move in which they moved their main officer Major Hashim officially into the Lashkar. This move meant that during the planning and execution stages the ISI would not be under the radar of the international agencies.
While the ISI backs the Karachi Project completely, it is today headed by Major Hashim and Sajid Mir. In addition to this they also have the support of Abu Yakoob who is the head of the naval wing of the Lashkar.
Mir has been handed out a major responsibility in this project. He recruits youth from Indian states such as Gujarat and Maharashtra and brings them into Pakistan before sending them back to India. The intent is to train these youth and keep them ready when they decided to execute the Karachi Project in full.
Mir is the one who gave the Lashkar a new dimension. In fact he always told Hafiz Saeed that for the Lashkar to grow it should grown out of the Kashmir obsession and focus on the other parts of India as well.
He was a passionate Jihadi who had worked for several years in Saudi Arabia and after making his money he returned to Paksitan.
Born and brought up in a middle class Punjabi home in Lahore, he returned to Pakistan and set up a textile business. He later married the daughter of a retired army officer in Pakistan and has two sons today.
His major international assignment before David Headley was with French operative Willie Brigitte. Mir had roped him in and trained him in Pakistan to undertake combat.
David Headley as we all know had come to India to carry out a reconnaissance ahead of the 26/11attack. The audacity with which Headley operated can be seen in the manner that he decided to come back to India even after the attack.
Officers of the NIA who had probed Headley who continue to share and gather information with several other agencies say that after the 26/11 attack, the ISI had already started chalking out the Karachi Project.
They realised that they needed to get a new team ready and also get more information on potential targets in India.
Headley seemed to be the obvious choice and none had any information on him at least in India. The agencies say that he has made over 6 visits to India and there was just one after the attack in which he surveyed targets for the Karachi Project.