Who is David Headley?


Headly was born Daood Gilani. His parents — the Philadelphia socialite Serill Headley and Pakistani poet and diplomat Syed Salim Gilani — divorced soon after they moved to Islamabad in 1960. Mrs. Headley returned to Philadelphia. Headley was admitted to a boarding school, where he first met Rana, but then moved to the United States in 1977. He rebelled against his mother’s heavy drinking and multiple sexual relationships by expressing a loathing for all non-Muslims.

Marital life Apart from Shazia Gilani, records show that he was married to Faiza Outhalla, a Lahore-based medical student. Headley divorced her to evade pressure from his family and then married her again after she filed a complaint with police in Lahore that led to his incarceration for several days.He also had another bigamous marriage with a New York-based make-up artist, Portia Gilani, ich ended in divorce in 2005.

His other life Headley married Shazia Gilani, daughter of a retired Pakistan soldier, in 1999. Ms. Gilani moved to the United States in 2008, along with their four children — Haider, Osama, Sumya and Hafsa.

Psychological problems Evidence also emerged that Headley was diagnosed in 1992 with multiple personality disorder — a condition which includes the possession of multiple mannerisms, attitudes and beliefs. His personal life could provide an explanation for why he sought psychological counselling..

26/11 Mumbai attacks Viewing the terror strikes unfold in Mumbai on television, David Headley’s first wife Shazia used code words like “I am watching cartoons” to convey to him that he had “graduated”, a term she used for success of the 26/11 strikes.“I’ve been watching these cartoons (attacks) all day and I am proud of you,” Ms. Shazia wrote in an email to 50-year-old Mumbai accused during the strikes.

‘I loathed India from childhood’

I had nursed a hatred against India ever since I was a child and my school had been bombed, but now, my loathing and animosity towards it were reinforced and with good reason.

I attended Daura-e-Khaassa which changed my mind for good. The earlier Dauras were orientation programmes, this was the real induction into jehad. We were told that it was not just okay to kill others, it was actually an act of worship—it needed to be done to avenge the wrongdoings against Muslims. The LeT established this primarily by showing us very gory and violent movies about atrocities against Muslims.

One of those movies that I still remember vividly was the one on Babu Bajrangi and atrocities in Gujarat. He was involved in killing innocent Muslims in Gujarat; he had been caught on a hidden camera saying that he didn’t mind if he was hanged, but before he was, he wanted to be given a couple of days so he could go and kill as many Muslims as he could. Despite overwhelming evidence, the Gujarat state and the Indian government did not act against him.

My hatred for and rage at India increased manifold during those three months.

We were also shown some of the innumerable inflammatory speeches made by the Maharashtrian goondas of the Shiv Sena and their supremo Bal Thackeray. Hafiz Saeed was the one who showed us the damage that Bal Thackeray had done to the Muslim ummah.

I know now that they were shown to us primarily to motivate us. And after everything that we saw on those videos, all our reservations were washed away, and we were fuelled by an unnatural, powerful rage. As it is, I had nursed a hatred against India ever since I was a child and my school had been bombed, but now, my loathing and animosity towards it were reinforced and with good reason.

Finally, after graduating from the Daura-e-Khaassa, we were taken to a mountain in Muzaffarabad. At first, I thought the next part of our training would be in a cave, as it looked like that was where we were headed. We soon found out that it was much more. It was a self-sustained branch of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The sheer grandeur of the place took my breath away — it appeared to be more like a palatial fortress than anything else.


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