Following the November terror attacks in Mumbai, India has demanded that the Pakistani government extradite 20 individuals believed to be in Pakistan. At the top of the this is Dawood Ibrahim, the notorious Don of Mumbai and the alleged mastermind of the eerily similar Bombai bombings of 1993. Media reports of Ibrahim providing the boat used by the terrorists in the Mumbai attacks have not been confirmed, but Amir Kasab, a terrorist captured during the attack, has stated that Ibrahim provided funding for the group and the attack. Although concrete evidence of Ibrahim’s link to the recent attack has yet to be released, the United States has listed him as a global terrorist since 2003 due to his financial support for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terror organization allegedly behind the Mumbai attacks, as well as providing smuggling routes to Al Qaeda.
Ibrahim was born in December 1955, one of eight sons to a local police constable. He began his criminal career in the slums of Bombay (now Mumbai) as a petty crook running with the Karim Lala gang. He worked his way up and became focused on primarily smuggling blackmarket gold and consumer goods into India. By the 1980’s, his criminal syndicate, D-company (after Dawood), was the most powerful in Bombay, branching into narcotics, extortion, and underground banking. He led a lavish mobster lifestyle, funding major Bollywood films and dating Bollywood starlets.
Much of this changed following the anti-Muslim riots in Bombay in 1993. Rising Hindu and Muslim tensions came to a head when angry Hindus took to the streets, damaging property and massacring approximately 1000 Muslims. The attacks politicized many individuals, including those in the criminal underworld. Although Ibrahim’s D-Company consisted of both Muslims and Hindus, he became politicized and is alleged to have masterminded the attacks in Bombay of March 1993.
Using his smuggling connections, Ibrahim allegedly funneled in loads of explosives into Bombay. On March 12, 1993, a coordinated terrorist attack took place in which bombs were set off in twelve different public locations. These sites included hotels, airports, theaters, and public buildings. The attacks include pre-placed bombs, vehicle bombs, as well as grenades lobbed into crowded areas. Nearly 240 citizens were killed, while a further 700 individuals suffered injuries.
Ibrahim has been in hiding since the attack, and he has since been one of India’s most wanted criminals. Indian and United States intelligence services have traced his location to Pakistan. The now civilian government of Pakistan denies having knowledge of his location, but the government has inherited a somewhat fragmented country. Ibrahim is also wanted by Interpol due to his association with Al Qaeda and other charges.