LONDON: London Bridge attacker Usman Khan’s body has been flown to Pakistan to be buried in his ancestral village despite claims by Pakistan that the terrorist has no links to the country.
Officials at Islamabad International Airport confirmed to Sky News that the 28-year-old’s body had been flown out from the UK on a passenger plane on Thursday afternoon and arrived in Pakistan on Friday morning, after being released by the City of London coroner.
A cousin of Khan told the channel that the terrorist’s parents and other close family members “would bury the convicted terrorist in their home village in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.” The cousin said the family wanted a low-key burial and did not want to bury him in the UK because they “were scared”.
A pre-burial ritual known as ‘Janaza’ took place at a Birmingham mosque before the body was flown to Pakistan. The prayer is performed to seek pardon for the deceased. Khan was finally buried in Kajlani village, which has a population of 3,000 people, in Kotli district on Friday after Asr prayers.
Many in the local Muslim community did not want his body to be buried at the Markazi Jamia Ghausia Mosque in Cobridge, the part of Stoke-on-Trent where Khan’s family lives. Last Tuesday, the family of Khan said they condemned Usman’s actions in a statement issued through the Metropolitan Police.
Khan was radicalised through the Internet by al-Qaida Yemeni-American leader Anwar Al Awlaki and was close friends with a student of hate preacher Al Muhajiroun leader Anjem Choudary.
Federal minister for science & technology government of Pakistan Ch Fawad Hussain slammed Dawn newspaper for saying Usman was “of Pakistani descent” in a tweet on December 1 in which he wrote: “Dawn walas please have some mercy on this Nation, shocked on your cheap attempt to link a British terroist [sic] to Pakistan, Anwar Al Awlaki and Anjem ch both are brit origin nothing to do with Kashmir or Pak, Britain should handle its problem within—irresponsible n cheap attitude.”
The following day, on Monday, a mob besieged the Pakistan daily’s offices in Islamabad, by staging a protest outside carrying banners and chanting slogans against the newspaper and preventing staff from entering or leaving.
Khan was shot dead on London Bridge on November 29 by armed police after he killed two people and injured three others in an IS-inspired stabbing attack. Born and raised in Stoke-on-Trent by Pakistani parents, he was out on licence from prison attending a prisoner rehabilitation event, when he launched the attack.
Khan had been jailed in 2012 after pleading guilty to preparing al-Qaida-inspired terrorist attacks in Britain and fundraising and recruiting for a terrorist military training facility, working under the guise of a madrassa in POK, owned by his family. The aim was to carry out attacks in Kashmir and then in the UK.