Stating that he was not aware of his sibling’s links to Lashkar-e-Toiba, David Headley’s half-brother Daniyal Gilani has said any attempt to draw links to his family, or former PM Yousaf Raza Gilani, with Headley was “incorrect, misplaced and totally baseless”.
Daniyal, a career bureaucrat who is at present general manager (public affairs) and spokesman for Pakistan International Airlines, told The Indian Express on Friday that a statement made by him in November 2009, when media reports in India had first made the connection with Headley, still stood, and that he had “nothing further to add to the statement”.
Gilani, who was press secretary to PM Nawaz Sharif until recently, had issued a statement in November 2009, saying he said “very little contact” with Headley.
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Testifying before a Mumbai court, Headley said Friday that in 2008, then Pakistan PM Gilani had visited their home in Pakistan to condole the demise of his father, Syed Saleem Gilani, who worked at Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation. He also said his father knew about his association with LeT.
Daniyal, who was then PRO to Gilani, said he last met Headley after their father’s death in December 2008. On Gilani’s visit, he said, “This he did out of courtesy because I was his PRO, and because my father was a renowned broadcaster… It may be noted that at that time, Daood (Headley’s given name) was not in Pakistan.”
Saleem married Headley’s American mother when he was deputed at Voice of America in Washington D.C. They moved to Pakistan after Headley was born in 1960.
After his parents’ divorce and his mother’s return to the US, Headley stayed back. After he left Pakistan in mid-1970s, said Daniyal, who was born to Saleem’s Pakistani wife, “the family only had occasional link with him”.