Texas hostage taker not the first: A look at other terrorists with Pakistani lineage who have carried out attacks in UK, US
The man, who was shot dead by the FBI after holding four people hostage at a Texas synagogue, was identified on Sunday as a 44-year-old British citizen named Malik Faisal Akram
The man, who was shot dead by the FBI after holding four people hostage at a Texas synagogue, was identified on Sunday as a 44-year-old British citizen named Malik Faisal Akram.
During the 11-hour stand-off, the 44-year-old could be heard demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda, who was convicted in 2010 of trying to kill US military officers while in custody in Afghanistan. Siddiqui is in federal prison in Texas serving an 86-year sentence.
In the light of the latest “act of terror” as termed by President Joe Biden, let’s take a look at some of the instances of terrorism in the United States and United Kingdom and trace their perpetrators of Pakistani-origin or descent.
Perhaps one of the most dreaded names that comes to mind is Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, or Omar Sheikh. A British citizen by birth, Sheikh was involved in terrorist activities since as early as 1994 when he was arrested and served time in India for kidnapping western tourists.
He found his way to Afghanistan in 1999 after being released from prison in exchange for passengers aboard hijacked Indian Airlines Flight 814.
Working with Taliban, he is most well known for his part in the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. He was arrested in 2002 by Pakistani police and was sentenced to death on 15 July, 2002 for killing Pearl. His murder conviction was later overturned by a Pakistani court in April 2020.
A British citizen of Pakistani descent, Hussain was one of the four Al Qaeda suicide bombers who were responsible for series bombing in three trains and one bus in London on 7 July, 2005.
Hussain denoted a bomb on a bus in Tavistock Square that killed 13 of the 52 people, including himself, who were killed in the bombings that day. At the age of 18, Hussain was the youngest in the group.
Two other bombers in the group, Shehzad Tanweer and Mohammad Siddique Khan, were also of Pakistani descent.
Also known as Abu Saif, a British terrorist of Pakistani descent, was shot dead by London police after he attacked the public with a knife near London Bridge on 29 November 2019. In the knife attack, he killed two people and injured three others. Khan was earlier convicted for plotting a terrorist attack in 2021 on the London Stock Exchange.
Khan was later allowed to leave the prison on temporary release licence in 2018. He was attending Cambridge University’s Learning Together event when he stabbed two of the organisers in the chest.
Khurram Shahzad Butt
Butt, a 27-year-old British national born in Pakistan, died in police firing on 3 June 2017 after he along with two others drove into pedestrians on London Bridge and also stabbed people in and around the Borough Market area, killing eight and injuring 48 people in the attack, according to BBC.
Naveed Afzal Haq
An American of Pakistani descent, Haq was arrested and convicted in the Seattle Jewish Federation shooting that occurred on 28 July, 2006. He was sentenced for life plus 120 years for the attack that killed one and injured five, according to the Associated Press.
The police classified the shooting as a “hate crime” as investigation showed Haq targeted the victims after searching “something Jewish” on the internet, according to a report by CNN.
Ahmed, a Pakistani American, was arrested by the FBI for plotting to bomb four Washington Metro stations in 2010. According to Xinhua news agency, he was charged with attempting to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization, collecting information to assist in planning a terrorist attack on a transit facility, and attempting to provide material support to terrorists. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison after pleading guilty in 2011.
With inputs from agencies
Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam and several others have been booked under the anti-terror law in the UAPA case for being the "masterminds" of the February 2020 riots
The killing of the 35-year-old Rahul Bhat has attracted strong condemnation from political parties and employees' association