AN Abdur Rehman, identified by Pakistan-origin IM operative Zia ur Rehman alias Waqas alias Javed as his Pakistani trainer, is suspected to be a former Pakistani military official — Abdur Rehman Pasha — first named by 26/11 accused David Headley during his interrogation by the NIA in 2010. Waqas was arrested by the Delhi Police special cell on Saturday.
During interrogation, Waqas, who was among the bombers in the IM attacks in Mumbai in July 2011 and Hyderabad in February 2013, named an Abdur Rehman as the person who arranged his training in the Waziristan region of Pakistan before asking him to go to Karachi to meet IM founder Riyaz Bhatkal.
The man Waqas is referring to is suspected to be Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed alias Hashim Pasha, a retired Major in the Pakistani military who is an accused in a December 24, 2011 NIA chargesheet along with US national David Headley and Canadian national Tahawwur Rana for plotting to carry out bombings in India in connivance with LeT and HUJI operatives.
Abdur Rehman Pasha has also been named by the US FBI as a key accused alongside Headley and Rana in a 2009 plot to attack the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten in Copenhagen. He figures at number three in the list of 50 most wanted terrorists in India and has an Interpol red corner notice issued for his arrest on the request of Indian authorities.
Sources said the Abdur Rehman named by Waqas is the same person named by Headley.
Headley, during his interrogation, had first revealed the existence of a man called Abdur Rehman alias Major alias Pasha, who was initially a part of the LeT set up in Pakistan, but later broke away to ally with terrorists in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas to train people to carry out attacks in India. Headley had stated that Abdur Rehman Pasha was focused on preparing a group of Indian youths in Pakistan to carry out terror attacks in India.
The NIA, in its report, concluded that Abdur Rehman alias Pasha was a key figure in what was described as the ‘Karachi setup’.
“Pasha has long been associated with operations in India. Headley believes that local Indian boys are involved in the Karachi setup,” the NIA said in its report. “Abdur Rehman is directly in touch with the top of brass of the Al Qaeda… has met Osama a number of times,” the NIA stated.
Abdur Rehman Pasha’s name also emerged in the course of investigations into the 2008 blasts in Bangalore.
Sources said Ashish Khetan will be the vice-chairman of the commission.