Umar Fidai, the would-be suicide bomber of the Sakhi Sarwar shrine blasts, has said that as many as 350 people are being trained as suicide bombers in Mir Ali, North Waziristan.
In an exclusive interview with Express 24/7, 14-year-old Umar said that those being trained included Uzbek, Tajik and Arab nationals, while some hail from Punjab.
Speaking about the network, he said that a man named Sangeen Khan travels from Waziristan to Afghanistan and picks out targets for suicide bombers while another man named Naeem indoctrinates the bombers. He said that six trained men had been sent to various districts of Punjab with explosive material for more attacks.
But the young boy who said he lost his father Akbar Khan in a blast in Karachi a few months ago, apologised to the nation and said he would work for the welfare of humanity if acquitted.
“I am ashamed of my act. We killed innocent people,” Umar told reporters, appealing to other suicide bombers to abandon such activities.
“I was totally misguided and told that I’m being sent to Afghanistan. I was surprised when we reached Dera Ghazi Khan and even discussed the issue with Zar Ali (the alleged mastermind of the attack),” Umar said, adding that they were blindfolded for the entire journey. Umar said that they travelled in a van from DG Khan to Sakhi Sarwar and loaded the jackets just as they neared the shrine.
According to police sources, Umar and Ali stayed at a hotel in DG Khan where the room was booked using Ali’s national identity card. They said that the investigation team had arrested the hotel’s owner and a number of its employees for interrogation. However, the DG Khan police are yet to issue a sketch of Ali, the alleged mastermind of the attack, who died in the shrine blast.
He said that while being trained, he was told that he must trigger the explosives in his suicide jacket as soon as a large crowd had gathered at the shrine. He said that he was told to press a specific button near the area where people ‘worshipped the dead’.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2011.