A SENIOR Pakistani MP described America as the “biggest terrorist state” in prayers said in Parliament yesterday for a man executed in Virginia last week for the murder of two members of the CIA.
The remark, which will embarrass the Islamabad Government, was made as a record 20,000 people gathered to remember Aimal Kansi in his home city of Quetta.
Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, a deputy parliamentary leader of a five-party Islamic alliance, hailed Kansi as an “Islamic hero” and prayed for the destruction of those responsible for his execution.
“God, his murderers, whether in America or in Pakistan, may they meet their fate soon,” he said. “America is the biggest terrorist state.”
He also condemned those who had assisted in the arrest of Kansi in Pakistan and had allowed him to be sent for trial in the United States. “God destroy those who handed him over to America,” he said.
The presiding officer tried to stop Mr Ahmed, advising him not to criticize
anyone and telling him to pray only for Kansi.
Nisar Memon, the Information Minister, declined to comment on Mr Ahmed’s remarks.
Kansi, 38, was executed by lethal injection last Thursday. His body was returned
to Quetta on Monday. His death has fueled intense anti-US sentiment in Pakistan
and right-wing religious parties, which made big gains in recent parliamentary
elections, have called for revenge against the United States. Many Pakistanis
see Kansi as a new “icon of Islam”.
The crowd in Quetta gathered at a large football ground for Kansi’s funeral prayers. They wore black armbands and carried banners reading “Down with the USA” and “Shame, Shame, Bush!”. Some mourners also carried banners calling President Musharraf “an American stooge”.
The crowd jostled to catch a glimpse of Kansi’s body, which was draped in green cloth and sprinkled with rose petals. Black flags fluttered atop the stadium and loudspeakers crackled with sound from the sermon by the cleric Hussain Ahmed Sherodi.
“Kansi was martyred by the imperialist America,” Mr Sherodi said. “His martyrdom has united Muslims against the United States.”
People responded with shouts of Allahu akbar (God is greatest).
Tight security was imposed for the funeral, with police and anti-terrorism forces deployed in the city, which is close to the Afghan border. The gathering was the largest funeral prayers in Quetta in living memory, according to reports.
The city was in mourning, with shops closed, streets deserted and black flags on the rooftops. After the prayers, the coffin was carried in procession to Kansi’s family graveyard, outside the city.
Kansi, the son of a wealthy businessman, had lived in the United States for many years. He was working for a courier service before he shot dead in 1993 the two CIA employees — Frank Darling, 28, and Lansing Bennett, 66 — as they sat in their cars outside the agency’s headquarters in McLean, Virginia. Three other people were wounded in the shooting.
He fled to Pakistan after the attack and remained in hiding in tribal areas and around the southern Afghan city of Kandahar. He was arrested at an hotel in the southern Punjab city of Dera Ghazi Khan in 1997 and extradited to the United States.
Four Americans were killed in Pakistan after Kansi’s conviction the same year.
The Governor of Virginia rejected calls for clemency by Kansi’s family and the Pakistani Government.
Before his execution, Kansi told the BBC that he felt no remorse and that he
had carried out the attack to register his anger at American “anti-Muslim” policy
in the Middle East. The US State Department gave warning that the execution could
lead to retaliation against Americans around the world.
Copyright 2002 Times Newspapers Ltd