'I confess... please end my trial, deliver your judgment'
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In a dramatic twist to what was turning out to be a long-drawn terror trial, Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone Lashkar-e-Toiba gunman captured alive during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, surprised the special court trying him by confessing to his crimes today and asking the judge to end the hearings and just punish him.
"Mein apne aap ko nirdosh nahin batata hoon. Meri guzaarish hai ki mujhe turant saza sunai jaye. Mere trial ko khatam kar do sir. Mujhe bilkul confess karna tha. Jo kaha hai, woh kisi ke dabaav mein nahin bola hai. Apni marzi se bayaan de raha hoon. Mere confession ko record kar do (I am not saying I am innocent. I am requesting the court to deliver its judgment immediately. Sir, please conclude my trial with this confession. I am not acting under duress and I am confessing completely willingly. Please record my confession)," Kasab said.
Through the day's court proceedings, a calm and composed Kasab, 21, clinically narrated his journey from a decorator in a small shop in Pakistan's Jhelum district to a Lashkar jehadi who ended up becoming the face of the unprecedented attack on the metropolis in which 166 were killed nearly eight months ago.
While much of what Kasab said in court has already been known through the prosecution case, the Lashkar man claimed that an Indian jehadi with the alias Abu Jundal taught him and his accomplices Hindi in one of the many camps they were trained. Besides, Kasab also named Lashkar operations chief Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, and handlers Abu Hamza and Kahfa, along with Abu Jundal, among the four ustaads who trained the attackers.
He said he had waited for Pakistan to accept him as a Pakistani and decided to confess once Islamabad did so. However, there was some discrepancy in that claim as Pakistan first accepted Kasab as its citizen more than five months ago when Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said all the 26/11 attackers were Pakistanis. But with Kasab not questioned during the confession, it was not clear why he waited all this while.