Islamabad, Nov. 5 (PTI): Mumbai underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, whom the US recently labelled a “global terrorist”, has shifted from Karachi to Islamabad along with his associates and is in the process of winding up his operations in the Pakistani port city, a media report here said.
Quoting diplomatic sources, Herald, a Pakistani magazine, in its cover story on India’s most wanted said ever since the US unleashed the war on terror, the gangster, wanted for the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai, has moved out of Karachi to avoid scrutiny.
“There are also reports that Dawood is trying to dispose of his properties in Karachi and elsewhere and has taken up residence in Islamabad along with a few close associates,” the magazine said.
Pakistani intelligence officials want the Dawood “saga” to end quickly, especially after the US description and the subsequent forwarding of his name along with his Pakistani passport number and Karachi address to the United Nations to initiate necessary action.
Pakistan vehemently denied US assertions that Dawood lived in the country, saying the address and the passport number mentioned to identify him were “fake”.
The Herald said the recent blast at a Karachi business centre reportedly owned by the don has triggered domestic security concerns. “Besides the Washington-related fallout, the recent bomb blast in Kawish Crown Plaza, which is reportedly owned by Dawood, is raising troublesome domestic security issues.”
FBI investigators, who were keeping a close watch on Dawood’s activities, believe the action initiated by the US to blacklist him has dealt a “serious body blow” and impaired the gangster’s activities.
Pakistani intelligence officials have expressed surprise over the US targeting the Mumbai don when there were bigger mafia gangs in Thailand, Hong Kong and South Africa that aided al Qaida.
“Compared to them, D-company is nothing. Yet the US deemed it fit to portray Dawood as a terror ringleader under Pakistan’s protection merely to oblige India,” the magazine quoted intelligence officials as saying.
The magazine also confirmed recent Indian media reports that Dawood briefly went out of Pakistan ahead of President Pervez Musharraf’s visit to India to attend the Agra summit in 2001. The gangster left for Singapore in early July and eventually returned to Karachi from Dubai on the night of July 18.
The US action listing Dawood as global terrorist “flies in the face of Pervez Musharraf’s categorical statement at Agra that the man accused of engineering the deaths of 200 Indians in the 1993 Mumbai blasts was not hiding in Pakistan”, the magazine said.
It also reported that the recent CBI interrogation of former Taliban foreign minister Mullah Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil caused considerable alarm in Pakistan. “Any evidence that links Pakistani intelligence with (the) IC-814 (the Indian Airlines flight) hijacking could put enormous pressure on Islamabad, particularly in the wake of Washington’s decision to officially blacklist Dawood Ibrahim,” the magazine said, referring to red-corner notices issued by Interpol against the gangster.