‘Fasih told to hire tech-savvy youth’

Fasih Mahmood, the key Indian Mujahideen operative deported from Saudi Arabia, has disclosed during custodial interrogation that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has stationed officials in Saudi Arabia with whom he had been working in close co-ordination. Fasih, who is on 10 days’ remand with the Delhi police special cell, is being interrogated by a multi-agency team.
The IM militant has also admitted that the primary task of ISI operatives in Saudi Arabia is to ensure greater cooperation between IM and the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and promote anti-India terror activities from Saudi soil.
“What is significant is that Fasih claims that this is a well thought out ISI strategy to operate from another country so that Pakistan does not come into the picture. In case of an operation going wrong the blame can be deflected to another country,” a senior intelligence official pointed out. Indian agencies have already sounded their Saudi counterparts on this aspect of ISI’s modus operandi.
During interrogation Fasih admitted having travelled to Pakistan from Saudi Arabia on fake travel documents to meet the founders of IM, Riaz and Iqbal Bhatkal, in Karachi. In Pakistan, Fasih also met top ISI officials to discuss the IM’s anti-India operations. Initially, Fasih denied having travelled to Pakistan, but then he was confronted with evidence that is believed to have been given to India by Saudi security agencies.
Sources said Fasih had been specifically instructed by the ISI top brass to rope in youth who are “tech-savvy” and target students from engineering colleges and technical institutes as they are faster at learning to make IEDs and better in the use of computer technology; that is why most of the 13 IM operatives whom Fasih was tasked to look after were extremely tech-savvy.
Indian agencies, sources said, will soon be sending a detailed report based on Fasih’s disclosures to Saudi agencies for follow-up action there as he has given details regarding some of the important fundraisers for the IM and Lashkar there.
Meanwhile, Indian agencies have requested Saudi security agencies to keep a discreet watch on the suspected movement of people travelling from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan as it is suspected that some important terror operatives may escape fearing a crackdown. It is suspected that key Lashkar operative Fayaz Kagzi escaped from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan after Abu Jundal’s deportation to India.

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