Poverty turned Mumbai attacker to terrorism, says father
A Pakistani man has recognized the lone arrested attacker in last month's Mumbai carnage, Ajmal Amir Kasab, as his son, a media report said on Friday.
"This is the truth. I have seen the picture in the newspaper. This is my son Ajmal," the man who identified himself as Amir Kasab told the English-language Dawn newspaper.
"I was in denial for the first couple of days, saying to myself it could not have been my son," he said as he sat together with his wife and two daughters in the courtyard of his house in Faridkot, a small village with a population of 2,500 in Pakistan's eastern province of Punjab, reported dpa.
"Now I have accepted it," added Amir Kasab, who gave his age as over 50.
Ajmal Kasab was among the 10 attackers who carried out multiple attacks in Mumbai, killing 172 people and injuring more than 300 on November 26. Indian authorities claim he was a member of a Pakistan-based militant organization Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Indian media reports, citing investigators, have said Ajmal Kasab left his home as a frustrated teenager about four years ago and went to Lahore, the capital of Punjab, where he ran into a religious group. He was later trained in fighting.
But his father said extreme poverty turned his son into a terrorist. "He had asked me for new clothes on Eid (a Muslim holiday) that I couldn't provide him. He got angry and left," he recalled.
Amir Kasab makes his earning by selling pakoras, a fried batter-covered South Asian snack, in the streets of his village. "This is all I have," he said, pointing at a pushcart.
Asked why he did not look for his son all these years, he said: "What could I do with the few resources that I had."
Amir Kasab termed those who persuaded his son to become a terrorist his enemies, but he did not know who these enemies are, Dawn reported.
However, he denied Indian media reports that Ajmal's handlers had promised him to compensate with 150,000 rupees (some 1,950 dollars) after the completion of the Mumbai mission. "I don't sell my sons," he said angrily.
The interview was conducted last week and the newspaper did not explain the reason for delayed publication. Since then the Kasab family has moved from their home and some of their relatives now live there.
Nobody is willing to say where the family has gone, the Dawn report said.