Family seek proof of Ilyas Kashmiri’s death

By AFP
Published: June 8, 2011

Four days after reports of Ilyas Kashmiri's death emerged, the reputed al Qaeda commander's family say they know nothing about his fate and nor do the intelligence agents who visit. PHOTO: FILE

This picture taken on June 7, 2011 shows a general view of the Thathi, the home village of the al Qaeda's reputed military kingpin Ilyas Kashmiri. PHOTO: AFP Four days after reports of Ilyas Kashmiri's death emerged, the reputed al Qaeda commander's family say they know nothing about his fate and nor do the intelligence agents who visit. PHOTO: FILE

THATHI: Four days after reports of Ilyas Kashmiri’s death emerged, the reputed al Qaeda commander’s family say they know nothing about his fate and nor do the intelligence agents who visit.

Thathi, the home village of al Qaeda’s alleged military kingpin, is an arduous six-hour drive from Islamabad, pushing ever higher into the foothills of the Himalayas, carpeted in lush grass but remote and depressingly poor.

Kashmiri’s family say they have not seen him in six years. Nor has he sent money. Elder brother Chaudhry Asghar speaks almost angrily about the burden of having to care for Kashmiri’s frail wife and four growing children.

“We don’t believe he’s dead,” said the 50-year-old, speaking to AFP at a village shop and refusing to let reporters visit Kashmiri’s house or meet the rest of the family until the situation becomes “clearer”.

But the humble mud building can be seen in the distance, sitting on the bank of a stream in front of a small mosque and madrassa that Kashmiri built.

It is here that his eldest son Khalid Ilyas, 18, daughter Maryam, 15, sons Osama 12 and Huzaifa, eight, live with their mother, not far from the Line of Control between Pakistani and Indian Kashmir.

Thathi is a place where most people are poor, and depend on agriculture, including cattle. Others join the army and send their salaries home.

There are reports that Kashmiri was himself a Pakistani-trained commando before he veered towards the path of holy war against India and then later fell in with Taliban and Al-Qaeda on the western border with Afghanistan.

“We haven’t seen his body or any part of his body and unless we get some evidence we can’t accept he’s dead. We want solid proof,” said Asghar.

Clerics say Islam requires Kashmiri’s associates to inform his family in the event of his death, but Asghar says nobody has contacted them.

“So far we have no official confirmation of his death. Even intelligence officials have been coming, asking if we’ve received any information.

“We tell them we have no information… If he has been killed in jihad (holy war) we’d appreciate it because it would be martyrdom.”

Years ago, Kashmiri used to visit once in a while, stay a couple of days and disappear. But Asghar has not seen his brother since 2005, when he got out of prison. The two argued and Kashmiri left.

“We told him to stop his activities and start family life. He didn’t agree. He insisted he’d fight US troops in Afghanistan,” says Asghar.

“I left the village, hoping he’d decide to stay. But he left anyway, telling his children ‘I don’t care if you live or die. I must continue my mission.’”

He says Kashmiri never sent money to his family, who suffer as a result. “Sometimes they have to go to school hungry and weeping,” he said of his niece and nephews, while the militant’s sick wife looks old beyond her years.

But however upset he might be with his brother, Asghar cannot believe that he is guilty as charged of attacks on the military in Pakistan.

“He told me he was dead against any terrorist act in Pakistan. He loved Pakistan and its army… He always said that he’d like his son to join the army as a commissioned officer.”

Schoolteacher Mohammed Razaq, 55, who says he taught maths to the teenage Kashmiri, remembers him as “an obedient student, a good athlete and an excellent debater” with an interest in politics.

“But then he veered towards jihad. He truly loved Pakistan. I don’t know anything about al Qaeda or Taliban,” he said.

Reader Comments (25)

  • Saba Imran
    Jun 8, 2011 - 11:07AM

    Ooouuuuhhhh ;-)Recommend

  • Akthar
    Jun 8, 2011 - 11:12AM

    What proof Of death? Rehman malik said he is 2% alive!Recommend

  • Kamran
    Jun 8, 2011 - 11:17AM

    @Saba Imran: yeah me tooo =DRecommend

  • vasanan
    Jun 8, 2011 - 11:31AM

    I still think this guy is not dead. Somebody is playing a double game in Pakistan protecting this guy. They couldnt do with OBL. So they are trying new tricks. That is why US didnt confirm his deathRecommend

  • wasim younis
    Jun 8, 2011 - 11:31AM

    it is important we don’t conclude the killing of the commander of al-qaida by giving absurd conspiracy theories. When ever America eliminates an important militant figure we hear such theories which creates doubts in our minds. If there is concrete proof then provide the public with proof! Recommend

  • jahan ara
    Jun 8, 2011 - 11:59AM

    Ask Mr. 98 per cent, Rahman Malik, Recommend

  • Aristo
    Jun 8, 2011 - 12:16PM

    “We tell them we have no information… If he has been killed in jihad (holy war) we’d appreciate it because it would be martyrdom.”

    another martyr! what is Pakistan a factory manufaturing martyrs all the time.Recommend

  • Kasim
    Jun 8, 2011 - 2:17PM

    ‘I don’t care if you live or die. I must continue my mission.’

    “Sometimes they have to go to school hungry and weeping,” .. Very bad father..Recommend

  • Ba Ha
    Jun 8, 2011 - 2:55PM

    i still don’t believe pns mehran was his handicraft… Its typical USA type reasoning to blame someone elseRecommend

  • Ishtiaq Ahmed
    Jun 8, 2011 - 3:09PM

    Lets hope this disgusting terrorist and murderer is no more walking the earth. Pakistan badly needs organizations who can provide social and psychological support to the families of both the victims and the perpetrators of terror. Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 3:33PM

    Drones have killed more than 100 in 4 days, only because US has claimed that Ilyas Kashmiri was responsible for PNS Mehran attack, it kind of shut up the taliban apologists, and legitimized further attacks in Pakistan with world’s consent. Recommend

  • Abdul-Mughis Rana.
    Jun 8, 2011 - 4:08PM

    @Kasim:
    Muslim is a mirror reflection of his Muslim brother! Recommend

  • Roflcopter
    Jun 8, 2011 - 4:18PM

    “He told me he was dead against any terrorist act in Pakistan. He loved Pakistan and its army… He always said that he’d like his son to join the army as a commissioned officer.”

    So he was Pro Pakistan and Anti Indian/American? Recommend

  • Abu Muhammad
    Jun 8, 2011 - 4:42PM

    This is time importance. If Mr. Kashmiri kept the same position in 1980, the World and Pakistani leadship admired his efforts and confer him a title of HERO. Un-luckly, he is living in 2011 Pakistan under the incapable command of our leadership. Mr. Kashmiri is linked with Jihadi sect, nobody is ready to say that he is innocent. But here, people are save in Pakistan territory. If Amerca called anyone terrorist, our Leaderships, media and people are ready to accept the argument of America. Recommend

  • Cautious
    Jun 8, 2011 - 4:52PM

    So in addition to being a terrorist he is a dead beat dad as well — big surprise.Recommend

  • Feroz
    Jun 8, 2011 - 5:29PM

    Looks like the games between US/Pak have resumed. Pakistan has claimed Kashmiri dead but US and NATO are not buying this argument. At this very moment the Yanks must be snooping to locate his exact whereabouts. If they locate him or any of the group of 5 the Abbotabad raid will seem like a picnic, comparatively. One would have thought that past humiliation would have made the powers that be wiser, sadly does not seem so.Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 6:00PM

    2% the mullah is alive!Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2011 - 6:52PM

    I second Akhtar. Not unless the probability sum is completely solved.Recommend

  • BruteForce
    Jun 8, 2011 - 8:37PM

    Lets just hope that the Son is not like the Father..Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jun 8, 2011 - 8:58PM

    How about the families and innocent children of tens of thousands of poor Pakistanis killed by these terrorists? This hardened criminal and dangerous murderer cannot be a good father either. It is just one man and one family which is not more important than any other family. Recommend

  • Anjum Hameed
    Jun 8, 2011 - 9:09PM

    HOW could he not have sent money???!!!…no filial affinity!..Recommend

  • Usaid
    Jun 8, 2011 - 11:22PM

    @vasanan:
    The recognition coming from every nook and corner, especially from Indians about magic tricks Pakistan is currently playing, I really feel proud of my country, military and ISI (the great).Recommend

  • SaudiRules
    Jun 9, 2011 - 1:59AM

    Even intelligence officials have been coming, asking if we’ve received any information.” Said a family member!
    Some intelligence agency we have! Going to the home of the supposedly dead kashmiri and asking the family ” have u heard anything?” What a joke ISI is.Recommend

  • Hafeez.Indian
    Jun 9, 2011 - 2:36AM

    @Mirza: But why his family should suffer hungry when they have not done any crime.

    Disheartened !!! Ultimately those Children may turn into Terrorist if proper care is not taken. Public should support their family.Recommend

  • Feroz
    Jun 9, 2011 - 8:57AM

    @Usaid:
    The activities of the Army/ISI have cost 35000 innocent citizens lives. To ask the International community for Aid to fight terrorism and then keep some of these assets protected, you do not think is duplicity. After Pakistan has paid such a high price in lives you are very proud. After the loss of a million lives sacrificed to myopic dual policies you may feel even prouder. Congrats, on your far sightedness !! Recommend

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