Islamabad: Nov.28:Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s public relations officer on Saturday acknowledged that David Coleman Headley, a terror suspect detained in the US, is his half-brother but dismissed as incorrect reports that his family is related to the premier.
Public relations officer Danyal Gilani said in a statement that Indian media reports "trying to establish a relationship between Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and the family of detained US terror suspect and my half-brother, Daood Gilani alias David Coleman Headley, is "incorrect, misplaced and totally baseless".
The report is based on speculation and is intended to create "unnecessary hype", Danyal Gilani said.
He said his ancestors migrated to Pakistan from Jastarwal in India’s Punjab state and Etawah in Uttar Pradesh while the premier’s family has been living in Multan for centuries and the two families have no relationship with each other.
In fact, going by the tradition in the sub-continent where PROs to PM are political appointees who are handpicked for their family and political ties, some suspect that Danyal and, in turn Headley, could very well be related to Pakistan Premier Yousuf Raza himself.
The indications of Headley being related to Danyal and Pakistan PM came at a time when a question of his being possibly used as a US undercover agent left many here to dig out more about him. The suspicion of his being an American undercover agent stemmed from a number of reasons - his history as an undercover agent working for American drug-enforcement agencies and that he could travel between US and Pakistan without attracting suspicion even when he had a controversial past. The fact that he was present in India when FBI issued a very crucial specific warning against the attack that LeT had planned for September last year has strengthened the doubts about Headley being a "double agent".
The warning was precise about targets, making a specific mention of Hotel Taj where Headley had stayed and which became the target of the 26/11 attack on Mumbai.
A recent profile in the New York Times said that in 1998, Headley (then known as Daood Gilani) was convicted of conspiring to smuggle heroin into US from Pakistan. "Court records show that after his arrest, he provided so much information about his own involvement with drug trafficking which stretched back more than a decade and about his Pakistani suppliers that he was sentenced to less than two years in jail and later went to Pakistan to conduct undercover surveillance operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)," the NYT report said.
Those who subscribe to the theory of Headley being a US agent feel that the American agencies were perhaps aware that he was in India to meet targets for a Lashkar attack that it had originally planned for September last year.
Beleaguered President Asif Ali Zardari tonight transferred control of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
ISLAMABAD: Nov: 28:
Zardari divested himself of the powers of the Chairman of the National Command Authority which controls the country’s atomic weapons and transferred them to the Prime Minister late Friday night.
Zardari gave up his control over the nuclear arsenal by re-promulgating the National Command Authority Ordinance and amending it, presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said.
Babar described the move as a "giant leap forward to empower the elected Parliament and the Prime Minister".
Zardari also said in an interview with a TV news channel that the 17th constitutional amendment - which gives the President sweeping powers to dismiss the premier and dissolve parliament - will be done away with during December.