Making A Difference

The Dawood Ibrahim Gang

Extract from a paper on terrorism and transnational crime presented by the author at a meeting of a working group on this subject held in Shanghai, China.

The Dawood Ibrahim Gang

Before March 1993, the Dawood Ibrahim group, which indulges in large-scalesmuggling, money-laundering and other criminal activities, was operating fromDubai. In March 1993, this group organised at the instance of the Inter-ServicesIntelligence (ISI) of Pakistan a series of explosions directed at importanteconomic targets in Mumbai -- such as the local stock exchange, which is thebiggest in India, a local hotel for tourists run by the Air India etc.

Subsequent investigation brought out that the perpetrators of these acts ofterrorism, all Indian nationals, had been recruited, at the instance of the ISI,by Dawood Ibrahim in Mumbai, taken to Pakistan via Dubai for training in the useof arms and ammunition and explosives and then sent back to Mumbai via Dubai. 

The Pakistani Consulate in Dubai issued them plain paper visas so that theirpassports did not carry any entries of their visit to Pakistan for training.However, Indian investigators managed to get xerox copies of the passengermanifests of the flights by which they went to Pakistan via Dubai for training.After they returned to Mumbai from Pakistan after the training, the explosivesand other arms and ammunition required by them for organising the terroristattacks were sent by the ISI by boat with the help of Dawood Ibrahim andclandestinely landed on the Western coast of India.

After carrying out the explosions, the perpetrators escaped to Pakistan, somevia Dubai and some via Kathmandu, and were given sanctuary in Karachi by the ISI.When the Govt. of India took up with the Dubai authorities the question of theinvolvement of Dawood Ibrahim, the Dubai authorities pressured him to leavetheir territory. 

He took shelter in Karachi and has been living there since then along withsome of the perpetrators, who have been given Pakistani passports underdifferent names. Repeated requests by the Govt. of India to Islamabad forarresting and extraditing/deporting them to India have been turned down byPakistan, which denies their presence in Pakistani territory. Red-cornerednotices of the INTERPOL for their arrest have not been honoured by Pakistan.

This matter was again taken up by the Govt. of India with President PervezMusharraf of Pakistan when he visited India in July last. He denied theirpresence in Pakistani territory. Subsequently, Newsline, a prestigiousPakistani monthly, in its issue for September, 2001, carried a detailed articleon their presence and activities in Karachi. The Pakistani media reported thatthe journalist who wrote this article (Ghulam Hasnain) was detained and harassedby the Pakistani authorities.

The article stated as follows:

"Dawood Ibrahim and his team, Mumbai's notorious underworld clan, including his right hand man Chota Shakeel and Jamal Memon, are on India's most wanted list for a series of bomb blasts in Mumbai and other criminal activities. After the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, the gang have made Karachi their new home and operating base. Living under fake names and IDs (identities), and given protection by government agencies, they have built up their underworld operations in Karachi employing local talent like Shoaib and Bholoo.

"In Pakistan, Dawood managed to establish another huge empire, comprising both legitimate and illegitimate businesses. In fact, the last few years have witnessed Dawood emerge as the don of Karachi. Dawood and his men have made heavy investments in prime properties in Karachi and Islamabad and are major players in the Karachi bourse and in the parallel credit system business--hundi. Dawood is also said to have rescued Pakistan's Central Bank, which was in crisis at one point, by providing a huge dollar loan. His businesses include gold and drug smuggling. The gang is also allegedly heavily involved in (cricket) match-fixing. "

The article added:

"Not only have the Pakistani authorities turned a blind eye to the gang's activities within Pakistan, but many in the corridors of power have partaken of Dawood's hospitality.....He is said to have the protection of assorted intelligence agencies. In fact, Dawood and his men move around the city guarded by heavy escorts of armed men in civies believed to be personnel of a top Pakistani security agency. A number of Government undercover agents, who came into contact with Dawood because of their official duties, are now, in fact, working for him. Nearly all the men, who surround him for security reasons, are either retired or serving officers, claims an MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement) activist."

The article further said:

"According to informed sources, Dawood is Pakistan's number one espionage operative. His men in Mumbai help him get whatever information he needs for Pakistan. Rumour has it that sometimes his men in Karachi accompany Pakistani intelligence agents to the airports to scan arriving passengers and identify RAW (Indian external intelligence) agents."

(End of citation from the article)

Though the laws of Pakistan do not provide for "economiccitizenships", the Pakistan Government informally provides them tointernational criminals and terrorists, who maintain a minimum dollar deposit inPakistani banks and help the Government. Dawood Ibrahim, who had reportedly lentmoney to Pakistan in the past for the clandestine procurement of missiles andconnected technology from China and North Korea, has been given informal"economic citizenship" in order to protect him from the arms of theIndian law and provided with a Pakistani passport under a different name .

After the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001, theGovt. of India has given to Pakistan a list of 20 terrorists, wanted for trialin India, who have been given sanctuary in Pakistan. The list includes the namesof Dawood Ibrahim and other members of his mafia group wanted for trial inconnection with the explosions in Mumbai in March 1993 and other crimes.Pakistan continues to take up the stand that they are not in its territory.

It is alleged that Dawood Ibrahim played an active role in organising therecent referendum campaign of Musharraf in Karachi and in bringing voters to thepolling booths in trucks to vote for Musharraf.


(End of extract)