Also, India had begun cricket diplomacy with Pakistan in 2005, culminating in then Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf’s visit to Delhi to watch the Indo-Pak final ODI at Firoz Shah Kotla stadium. The development reveals how elements in Pakistani establishment and LeT used cricket diplomacy to prepare for terror attacks on India.
Sources said that Major Abdurrehman is a retired Pakistani army officer who later joined the LeT. He was involved in training of the outfit’s recruits. Mir was Headley’s handler, and had directed him throughout his two years of reconnaissance in Mumbai and Delhi. Mir was part of the core group that planned the 26/11 conspiracy, and is a wanted accused in the chargesheet filed by Mumbai Crime Branch in the case.
It was through this trip that Mir developed a peripheral knowledge of the contours of both Delhi and Mumbai, which helped him direct Headley during the 2006-08 reconnaissance.
Jundal has revealed that later it was Mir, who along with LeT’s operational chief Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, developed an electronic blueprint of the Taj Mahal Hotel and plotted various rooms and halls on the map to familiarize the 10 terrorists, who attacked Mumbai, with the interiors of the hotel.
Taj’s Crystal Ballroom that saw indiscriminate firing, with several casualties, was specially marked in the blueprint. Mir had also prepared a miniature model of the hotel to give the attackers a physical feel of the place they were going to devastate.
Jundal has also revealed that while there was plan for the attackers to return to Pakistan after the strike, it was abandoned on the insistence of Lakhvi. The decision was taken after it was argued that it was near impossible for them to return as there weren’t enough safe houses in India and some of them could be caught eventually.
In fact, a few days before Ajmal Kasab and his associates left for Mumbai, LeT chief Hafiz Saeed delivered a rousing speech on the importance of fighting unto death. He also gave them the quintessential LeT visions of jannat and the 72 virgins who would await them after martyrdom.