Al Qaeda’s India chief ‘highly respected’

Published: September 11, 2014
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Militant leaders say Maulana Asim Umar is held in high regard due to his education. PHOTO: AFP

Militant leaders say Maulana Asim Umar is held in high regard due to his education. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Maulana Asim Umar, who has been appointed by al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri as the head of the group’s India branch, is held in ‘equally high respect’ by both local and foreign militants, say Pakistani militants who claim to have worked with him.

Urdu-speaking Umar was previously an active member of Harkatul Mujahideen – a banned outfit which has been fighting against Indian authorities in Indian Kashmir. According to militant leaders familiar with him, he once headed a Harkat training center in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Much earlier, Umar, who is said to be in his mid-40s, was a teacher at a religious school in Karachi. He is said to speak fluent Arabic, English and Pashto.

Umar developed ties with al Qaeda and other militant outfits during his time with Harkatul Mujahideen, his colleagues say. “Umar has been very close to al-Qaeda since it was launched,” a former member of the Harkat told The Express Tribune.

Harkat once hosted deceased al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden when he was living in Afghanistan, a former Harkat leader says.  The group also arranged bin Laden’s first press conference in Afghanistan’s Khost province in 1988. Al Qaeda was formally launched at this press conference.

Two militant leaders said Umar has earned the trust of Arab militants and was highly respected by Pakistani, Afghan and foreign militants.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (29)

  • Strategic Asset
    Sep 11, 2014 - 8:56AM

    Poor chap doesn’t know that India is a different kettle of fish. Good luck recruiting Indian Muslims or even Bangladeshi Muslims for that matter.

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  • indian
    Sep 11, 2014 - 9:23AM

    So all the most wanted international terrorists are hiding in Pakistan.

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  • indian
    Sep 11, 2014 - 9:25AM

    Hide where ever you want, Indian forces will hunt you down!

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  • Raj - USA
    Sep 11, 2014 - 9:31AM

    If Al Quaida comes to India, they shall be targeting the muslims first. Talibans, Al Quaida, ISIS, all have been killing muslims primarily. Over 90% of their victims are muslims. Indian muslims know this well and they will not allow these forces to enter India. Indian muslims are a lot different from muslims of Pakistan. In Pakistan, tribal, sectarian and ethnic divide enables these terrorists to gain foothold, whereas in India these do not exist amongst its muslim population. It is the same in Bangladesh also and these terrorists will not be able to gain a foothold there also.

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  • Mirza
    Sep 11, 2014 - 9:31AM

    Are we telling the world that Al-Qaeda chief and the fighters for Kashmir “liberation” are the same? No wonder none of our neighbors trusts us. Are we really that closely knit with the worst terrorists in the world? No wonder OBL had a long safe stay in our army base for better part of the decade!

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  • Last Word
    Sep 11, 2014 - 9:34AM

    The so called respected chief should come to India will get a grand reception by the intelligence agencies who are already waiting for him.

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  • KJ
    Sep 11, 2014 - 9:37AM

    Does he have a PhD or what?

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  • Ajnabee
    Sep 11, 2014 - 9:45AM

    So this is an outright admission that terrorist camp are being operated in POK and Pakistan is abating terrorism.

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  • usman
    Sep 11, 2014 - 9:59AM

    Shame on these kinds peoples. i think these are non muslims but their links were connected with muslims by international forces.

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  • DG
    Sep 11, 2014 - 10:26AM

    I hope it goes through the filter of the ET !!!! I have stopped my comments because of biased filtering.

    The way ET has put this one as main news, shows that there is definite demand in the public sentiment towards any news which is against India
    The fact that it is a news in Pakistan and these people are flourishing, shows the world why Pakistan is becoming a pariah country
    As I understand the term educated is regarding his profession (teaching in religious school), knowledge in English & Arabic (others are also known b locals), shows that, in general, society of Pakistan gives more importance to religious studies rather than science and maths.

    These all point to the decadence of the great region which was at one time the confluece of trade, religion, knowledge, etc. This region was first wall of resistance to the subcontinent people from external attacks. Today it is all alone (with no friends left) trying to resist the onslaught of the hardline Islam influx. And to our horror we see it is crumbling from inside. It helps nobody – the least to Pakistan. Feel sorry.

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  • Aalia
    Sep 11, 2014 - 10:33AM

    well. Only Al Qaida can nullify the Hindu extremism caused by Modi and co.

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  • riya
    Sep 11, 2014 - 10:34AM

    wow pakistan……. u can boast of having a person finally that is respected throughout the world…..much amaze …. such education system….. very jealous …. :D

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  • BlackJack
    Sep 11, 2014 - 10:35AM

    ‘Highly respected terrorist’ is usually an oxymoron, but in Pakistan, I guess the usual rules don’t apply.

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  • RW911
    Sep 11, 2014 - 11:10AM

    Only a country whose central policy is spread of terrorism can use adjectives like “highly respected” for the chief of a terrorist organisation. And then the country’s citizenry wonders why the world hates them! It ain’t rocket science!Recommend

  • Mk
    Sep 11, 2014 - 11:30AM

    The Indian chief of any multi national organization either operating or wanting to operate in India are generally competent Indians, persons of Indian origin with western education or simply a western person who previously held a high office in the said organization. But this, this is al Qaeda and their Indian chief is a pakistani. The best in business.

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  • PCV
    Sep 11, 2014 - 11:35AM

    By putting a Highly Respected’ title for murders of innocent people, this news paper is insulting humanity as a whole. SHAME ON YOU!

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  • Satish, DXB
    Sep 11, 2014 - 11:42AM

    CEOs/CXOs of some of the most high profile fortune 500 companies – Pepsico, Desutche Bank, Microsoft , Nokia to name a few are Indians, CEOs of some of the most vicious terrorist organizations in the world are Pakistanis !!!! Need I say more.

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  • Bablu
    Sep 11, 2014 - 12:07PM

    As a peace loving Pakistani, I urge Indian authorities to be vigilant of all these dirty terrorist organisations. Don’t allow them to penetrate into India by keeping a constant check on them.

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  • flybouy
    Sep 11, 2014 - 12:15PM

    Terrorist- Highly respected. What is wrong with his headline??? Think ET before publishing. You are a lot better than that.

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  • sharabi
    Sep 11, 2014 - 1:02PM

    @usman
    Take Anti Hallucinating Drugs

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  • sharabi
    Sep 11, 2014 - 1:05PM

    @flybouy
    ET is just stating the Official Slogan of Pakistani Mindset, dont like? then change Mentality of your people. ET is just stating the Truth(I suppose this is why Media exist)

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  • Parvez
    Sep 11, 2014 - 1:18PM

    Respected by ? ……… other terrorists……… how does that make sense ?

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  • Feroz
    Sep 11, 2014 - 2:22PM

    Time to get the Drones flying again.

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  • Rana Ajeet
    Sep 11, 2014 - 2:25PM

    A terrorist and that too respected, this can happen only pakistan, the havan for terrorists

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  • Ishan
    Sep 11, 2014 - 2:44PM

    It’s sad that they get support/shelter in Pakistan. This will make Pak even more vulnerable.

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  • sanjith menon
    Sep 11, 2014 - 2:52PM

    I think it as a welcome development, an opposition of that kind will lead to consolidation of Hindu nationalist sentiment, and the radical anti india sentiment will get the message.

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  • Prada
    Sep 11, 2014 - 3:19PM

    The best training institutes are located in Pakistan. He has to be good.

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  • Very Sad
    Sep 11, 2014 - 4:20PM

    @ Aalia

    That’s not the right solution or the right thought process.
    Please don’t be so hard hearted.

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  • goggi (Lahore)
    Sep 11, 2014 - 4:39PM

    Al Qaeda’s India chief highly respected from like-minded people!

    Al Qaeda’s India chief highly despised from the Awakened, be they Muslims; Hindus or Buddhists!

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