Kasab’s Home Village Angry, Lashes Out At India


FARIDKOT – Farmers in the village of the Pakistani gunman executed Wednesday for the 2008 Mumbai massacre lashed out at India and hounded out journalists who asked about their notorious son.

The impoverished village of Faridkot, the former home of 25-year-old Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, lies in the farming belt of Punjab province, 370 kilometres (230 miles) southeast of the Pakistani capital Islamabad.

Residents are labourers and farmers. Few are literate and those out in the cornfields were largely unresponsive when asked about Kasab’s hanging in India.

“We don’t like anyone being given capital punishment. It is better to pardon,” farmer Ghulam Mustafa Wattoo, 50, told AFP.

“India is Pakistan’s enemy and wants to weaken our country. We have no interest whatsoever in what India did with Kasab,” he added.

Many people denied Kasab was one of theirs, quickly becoming hostile when asked to talk about the gunman and preventing photographers from taking pictures.

Villagers later surrounded local and foreign media teams, accusing them of defaming the village and forcing them to leave after trying to snatch cameras, an AFP reporter said.

Two years ago, they had angrily denounced the conviction of Kasab, the only gunman to survive the November 2008 bloodbath that killed 166 people in Mumbai.

On Wednesday villagers again lashed out at India, Pakistan’s arch-rival.

“This is a conspiracy against Pakistan. India deliberately implicated Pakistan to get it declared a terrorist state,” said landlord Muhammad Zaman, 50.

Ghulab Khan, 70 and unemployed, suggested Pakistan should respond tit-for-tat. “Pakistan should also hang an Indian incarcerated in a Pakistani jail,” he told AFP.

In Islamabad, the government was also tight-lipped.

The foreign ministry issued a statement condemning terrorism and offering to “work closely with all countries of the region” to eliminate the scourge.