Mastermind Lakhvi Sent His Son To J&K Where He Was Killed Last Year

11 December 2008
The Indian Express

New Delhi: “Supreme commander” of Lashkar-e-Toiba Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, among the four men proscribed by the United Nations Security Council today in connection with the Mumbai attacks, sent his 20-year-old son to fight in Kashmir - and die. Lakhvi’s son Mohammad Qasim was killed in a fierce gunbattle with the Army and J-K police last year. Sources have confirmed to The Indian Express that Qasim crossed over to the Valley in July 2006 and was based in Bandipore, considered the Lashkar headquarters in Kashmir. “He operated as an ordinary militant without any rank in the Lashkar here but we knew he was very important because of the way Lashkar would treat him,” a senior officer said. “Abu Wafa was the district commander in Bandipore and he would personally shadow Qasim like a bodyguard.” A J&K Police officer, involved in counter-insurgency operations in Bandipore, said that within months of Qasim’s arrival, he had become Lashkar’s most important man in Kashmir. “He (Qasim) came while Charlie One (Bilal alias Salahudin) was still here. And soon after he came, Charlie One left. In a way, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi had sent his own son to represent him”. “Qasim escaped our cordon several times. We almost trapped him in Nadihal village. But we came under heavy fire from Lashkar,” the officer said. He said that Qasim was once injured when the Lashkar group was fired upon by Harkat militants in the mountains above Aragam in Bandipore. “Harkat militants had fired at them thinking they were the Army. Qasim was hit in his limb. We got to know that and raided several of their hideouts but Lashkar had smuggled him out. He survived,” the officer said. In the night of October 3-4 last year, police received a tip-off that Qasim and Abu Wafa were hiding in Gamroo village. “We laid a cordon, we called the Army’s elite Special Forces from 10 Para deployed in Bandipore along with Troops from 23 Punjab,” the officer said. “The encounter started in the dead of the night. Abu Wafa was killed immediately but not Qasim. He was killed at around 10 in the morning. After 15 months, he finally ran out of luck”. The officer said that Qasim’s death affected Lashkar’s operations in Bandipore. “Lakhvi had sent Qasim to Kashmir. It’s very common for Lashkar commanders to send their own children to fight here,” the officer said. “They do it to set an example.” For Lakhvi, sources in the J-K police here say, this ban and the house-arrest may not mean much. On May 27, 2008, the US Department of Treasury designated top four leaders of Lashkar and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi was one among them.