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Kasi’s body reaches home

Hundreds of people wearing black armbands shouted anti-American slogans when the coffin of Aimal Khan Kasi, who was executed in US on November 14 for killing two CIA agents, reached Quetta International Airport on Monday afternoon.
At about 3:30 pm, the PIA authorities handed over the coffin of Aimal Kasi to the chief of the Kasi tribe, Nawab Abdul Zahir Khan Kasi, who along with Malik Zikriya Khan Kasi and other tribal elders placed it in an ambulance.

Hameedullah Khan Kasi and Mir Wayse Kasi, elder and younger brothers respectively of Aimal, brought the coffin via PIA flight PK-716 from New York. The body reached Karachi airport at about 12:40 am and was brought to Aimal’s hometown aboard another PIA flight.

When the ambulance came out of Quetta airport, hundreds of people raised slogans in favour of Aimal Kasi and against the US government. The protestors also carried placards inscribed with ‘Down with USA’.

Federal Minister for Health Dr Abdul Malik Kasi, who is brother-in-law of Aimal Kasi, and Central Secretary General of Awami National Party Dr Inayatullah Khan were also present on the occasion.

Moving scenes were witnessed at the airport when relatives of Aimal and the Kasi tribesmen wept and consoled each other and also Aimal’s brothers Hameedullah, Naseebullah and Mir Wayse.

The mourners showered hundreds of kilograms of rose petals on the ambulance and the coffin. Thousands of people were standing along Quetta Airport road and many kissed the ambulance as the funeral procession passed by. The cortege passed through various roads of the city and at 5:30 pm reached the house of Aimal Kasi on Mission Road where all the shops were closed since morning.

Heavy contingents of police, Balochistan Reserve Police and Anti-Terrorist Force were deployed at Quetta airport and on all the important roads. The police and ATF also kept on patrolling in the city, particularly on Mission Road.

Aimal Kasi, 38, will be laid to rest in his native graveyard in Killi Ibrahimzai located on Brewery Road on Tuesday morning after funeral prayers in Ayub Stadium at 10:00 am. Renowned religious scholar and Khateeb Jama Mosque Qillah Kasi, Maulana Rafeeuddin Shah Agha, will lead the Namaz-e-Janaza.

Agencies add: About 600 people chanted “God is Great” and “Long live the Mujahid of Islam” as the dark wooden coffin with a tiny bouquet of red flowers placed on top was unloaded into the airport. Others chanted, “We will take revenge”, and, “We will continue Kasi’s mission”.

“We are proud of you, Aimal,” read a banner strung in front of the airport. The crowd also turned their anger on the government of President Pervez Musharraf for its extensive cooperation with Washington in its war on terror.

Black flags and banners fluttered throughout the city, many hoisted from shops whose owners have declared two days of mourning, and plan to shut down entirely on Tuesday during Kasi’s funeral.

Hameedullah told reporters on arrival at Karachi airport that his brother had “lived like a brave man and died with no regrets”. “His death will not help America. Hatred against the US will increase in the Muslim world.”

Overwhelmed by the thousands of sympathisers travelling from across the province, Kasi’s family gave up plans of a quiet family ceremony and decided to hold the funeral in Ayub Stadium.

The family pushed the funeral back from its earlier date of Monday to allow as many people as possible to come to the home to pay their respects before the burial. No treaty for extradition of criminals exists between Pakistan and US and the pact being quoted was reached between USA and UK in 1931, said Hameedullah Kasi who arrived here along with the body of his brother by PIA flight PK-352.

He said the treaty endorsed by the government was of 1952 and it was a friendship treaty between Pakistan and America. Asked if they would move the courts, including International Court of Justice, Hameedullah said only governments could approach international courts. He said a renowned lawyer had offered to approach that court but he was not allowed by the government.

“(Kasi) sacrificed his life to the cause of Muslims,” said Quetta Traders’ Association secretary general Mohammad Ibrahim Kasi. “A son of Balochistan has embraced martyrdom and it is our duty to attend his funeral.”