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Plotting terror

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Dawn

by Tariq Khosa

NEW York police have foiled at least 25 major terror attacks since 9/11, says John Miller, the counterterrorism chief, adding that NYPD maintains on average three or four active terrorist investigations at any given time. “Terrorists didn’t rest on their laurels after 9/11,” said former police commissioner of New York, Ray Kelly, while giving an account of 16 plots of terrorists foiled since he became head of NYPD in early 2002.

A case of three Pakistanis allegedly involved in planning a terrorist act finds prominent mention in his book Vigilance. The main character Majid Khan, an illegal immigrant, left America secretly in violation of the US immigration law and met Al Qaeda’s Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Karachi in early 2003. He was tasked with bombing underground storage tanks at petrol stations in Maryland. Majid wanted somehow to get back to the US unnoticed. He contacted 23-year-old Uzair Paracha and struck a deal. “Majid reportedly offered to invest $200,000 in Uzair’s father Saifullah Paracha’s real estate business in return for a favour — rather a series of favours.”

During a meeting in Karachi in February 2003, Majid laid out his plan: Uzair, a legal permanent resident of the US could travel between the two countries without raising suspicion. When in New York, he would undertake a series of actions aimed to mislead the immigration authorities into believing that Majid was still in the US.

    There are flaws in the way the US handles terrorism cases.

According to the police version, Uzair returned to America and followed Majid’s script to the letter. But on March 28, 2003, members of a joint terrorism task force arrested Uzair in New York. During interrogation, Uzair admitted that his father, Saifullah, had told him of Majid’s ties to Al Qaeda. He also said that his father admired Osama bin Laden.

After a two-week trial, Uzair was convicted of providing material support to a designated terrorist organisation and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Read more: https://www.dawn.com/news/1345613/plotting-terror

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