Ibrahim’s Story I come from a small Punjabi village. My father had a small shop selling rice. I would sit in the shop in my childhood. Our village was good, people lived simply. I am the youngest brother of seven. Whilst some children become thieves, doctors or mullahs, naughty kids don’t understand the consequences of their actions. Or they think they’re doing good, maybe they are. Once we went swimming in a canal. One friend slipped in, and got wounded. We weren’t allowed in the canal so we stayed out late. Our parents were frantic. My father ordered me to leave those friends. Whenever I disobeyed him he beat me. Soon I started running away to nearby villages with friends. My father became upset and moved us to Lahore. Nobody wanted to, but my father insisted, for my studies. I missed my friends but soon made new friends. There was a river and we’d skip school and swim there, or go to the park, or fight. When my father realised I hadn’t changed, he apprenticed me to a mechanic’s garage. I stayed about six months. My boss was even stricter than my father. He beat me severely, I still have scars. But I learnt to drive and took cars out and did stunts on my motorcycle. I was really good. I was close with my cousin Iqbal. We planned to go to Karachi. I stole some money from my father and we went by train. It was huge. We were kids, we had no idea. First we visited the seafront at Clifton. We stayed all day and saw Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine. It was very crowded. We visited the city by day and slept at the shrine by night. There were many kids like us and we made friends. Eventually we found work in a tea restaurant and rented a small room. One friend told me about a man, Shahji, who had forcibly occupied his shop and wouldn’t pay rent. I promised to sort it out. He warned me Shahji had many lackeys. I asked for some sticks but he only had a revolver so I took it, for safety. When we reached Shahji’s shop, I asked them to vacate. We were very young, they seemed very experienced. They started swearing, we attacked them. They broke my head. I fired my revolver. Some people ran away but others battered my friend. I fired and hit Shahji in the back. The police arrested us and took us to court. We went to Landhi Jail for nine months. Afterwards my father and uncle came and took us back. But I liked

Karachi, I made many friends in jail. I returned and didn’t tell my family. I rented a house in Korangi and started a small restaurant with some friends. But after some time we got into a fight with some policemen, who kidnapped a guy for money, so we moved to Liaquatabad. We started a small stall selling fish. I started meeting with my jail friends and we began robberies. After one robbery, one fat woman caught one of our friends. I pointed my gun at her head her but missed. I wanted to kill her but Allah saved her. We did many such activities and established our gang. Once a friend asked us for help in a fight. When we got there, the police encircled us. We exchanged fire. One passerby was killed. We ran to a nearby market. We were five guys. Two hid in the market. We fought the police. The police announced by loudspeaker they had killed our friend and we should surrender. Our bullets were finished so I surrendered, the police made us hands up and pulled off our kameez (shirts). They threw us in the mobile with the dead body, the face completely covered with blood. They took us to the station and the next day to court. The judge invited us into his chamber. He warned the police could kill us in a fake encounter, we should deny the crime. He would send us to jail, not remand us in police custody. Although the police station head officer promised if we admitted killing the passerby, we’d get bail, we followed the judge. The SHO threatened to kill us on our release. Again I was in Central Jail, for three years. My family were furious but visited me in jail and for court appearances. I made friendships in jail. I was penniless when I was released. Everything seemed changed. I stayed low at my friends’ place but got bored. It was like prison. I started organising another gang for robberies. I’d become an expert. Once I had to kill some informants, but we continued. Once, when I was visiting some friends in Sukkur in Sindh, I heard Iqbal’s father was killed in Punjab. I was distraught. He’d been killed because Iqbal had started working for religion. Iqbal swore to avenge his father’s murderers, Shi’as. I promised I would kill them and told him not to act alone. I sought out some friends, also robbers. Iqbal took me to his amir (in-charge). He invited me to serve Islam. He said whatever I did for Islam would be justified, even if I killed 100 people. But now I am a sinner. I fervently decided I would work for religion, no matter how many I killed. My conscience was satisfied. They instructed me to undergo training. Although I insisted I could do any job in my style, they sent us to the tribal areas. After four months I returned for a secret mission, only Iqbal knew, we killed five people easily. I took part in other missions. Many FIRs were registered against me; nothing happened. I started serving Islam with more zeal and concentration. I could do anything, even make bombs, I just needed chemicals. I did many bomb blasts. My conscience is clear – I will never quit serving Islam. I ask Allah for forgiveness for my past deeds, I am guilty, but everything I do now is for religion. Those who die go straight to jannat (heaven). We miss our martyred friends but don’t pity them. I can do anything to achieve my target. I don’t fear death. I don’t care about people’s opinions. It is so satisfying to serve religion. I started late, but at least I’m on the right track.