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Faridkot: Farmers in the village of the Pakistani gunman executed yesterday 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 Mohammed Kasab, lies in the farming belt of Punjab province, 370km 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, said.
Kasab — a school dropout who became a member of Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, blamed for the massacre that killed 166 people — was executed and buried at the Yerwada prison in the city of Pune.
The former labourer and small-time criminal was one of 10 heavily-armed Islamist gunmen responsible for the siege that began on November 26, 2008.
But in Faridkot people denied Kasab was one of theirs, becoming hostile when asked to talk about the gunman and preventing photographers from taking pictures.
Villagers surrounded media teams, accusing them of defaming the village and forcing them to leave after trying to snatch cameras, an AFP reporter said.
In 2010, they angrily denounced the conviction of Kasab, the only gunman to survive the November 2008 bloodbath, and yesterday again lashed out at India.
“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 said.
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.
Ministry spokesman Moazzam Ali Khan was quoted by state media as denying Pakistan had rebuffed a letter from India informing Islamabad about the execution.
Pakistan’s failure to convict anyone over the Mumbai carnage continues to bedevil efforts for a lasting peace agreement between the nuclear-armed rivals, who have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947.
New Delhi accused elements of the Pakistani state — notably the ISI intelligence agency — of abetting the attacks. Islamabad denied any involvement.