Ahmed Omar Syed Sheikh
Omar, 27, was born in London, attended the London School of Economics
and is a close associate of Maulana Azhar Masood - founder of the banned
Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) group, which is involved in numerous terrorist
attacks inIndia, including the attack on India's parliament on December
His father, Saeed Ahmed, was a Pakistani clothes merchant from
Wanstead in east London. Sheikh Omar was reportedly a contemporary of
England cricket captain Nasser Hussain at the private Forest School, in
Snaresbrook. He moved to Lahore and studied at the elite Aitchison
College for three years before returning to Forest School in the Sixth
Form. After passing four A-levels with good grades, Sheikh Omar enrolled
at LSE in October 1992. But he left before the end of his first year of
an undergraduate degree in statistics.
Reports suggest he visited Bosnia as an aid worker and soon after, he
moved to Pakistan. A BBC reporter - Zubair Ahmed - interviewed a young
Sheikh Omar in 1994 as he lay in hospital near Delhi. The 20-year-old
said he had returned to Britain from 'holy war' in Bosnia but had then
left again to fight for Indian and Kashmiri Muslims. He was arrested by
Indian police in 1994, accused of kidnapping three Britons and an
American in India. In 1999, while serving a prison sentence for
terrorist offences, an Indian Airlines plane was hijacked to Kandahar in
Afghanistan. And in exchange for the 155 hostages on the plane, Sheikh
Omar was freed from jail. He married in December 2000 and became a
father in November 2001.
national, Ahmed Sheikh played a major role in raising funds and
organizing support for the Harkat-ul-Ansar in the United Kingdom. In
October 1994, he organized the kidnapping of four foreign tourists from
a hotel in Paharganj, New Delhi, India to secure Masood Azhar's release.
All the hostages were subsequently rescued from Saharanpur, Uttar
Pradesh, India in a joint operation by Delhi and Uttar Pradesh police
commandos. One Uttar Pradesh police official, Inspector Abhay Singh
Yadav, was killed in the operation. Two other terrorists, British
national Sheikh Omar Sayeed and Pakistani national Abdul Rahim, were
Omar Sheikh's Diaries
Black Tuesday September 11 suspect Omar Sheikh was sent from Pakistan to
New Delhi to free Jaish chief Masood Azhar — All the details, in his own
Omar Sheikh's Hostages - In their Own Words
On October 1994, a team of policemen
brought down the curtains on Omar Sheikh’s first important kidnap drama.
The four hostages — Bela Nuss, Christopher Miles Croston, Rhys Patridge
and Paul Ridout — knew their kidnapper as ‘Rohit Sharma’ and later, ‘Khalid’.
Their statements recorded after their rescue paint a pattern that
closely resembles the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel
Pearl: Omar lured them with lies, secured their trust and attempted to
use them as bargaining chips to meet his demands. Here are two of the
statements given by Omar Sheikh's hostages, verbatim.
Omar Sheikh - Face to Face
British-born Sheikh Omar Saeed, the leading suspect in the
kidnapping of American journalist Daniel Pearl, had several brushes with
the news media in 1994. On one occasion he walked into the BBC offices
in Delhi to deliver a note about the kidnapping of four foreigners.
Later that year - after being wounded in a gun battle with Indian
police - he was visited by Zubair Ahmed, now of BBC World, who recounts
British Broadcasting Corporation