Some Lesser Known Facts About Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh
- Does Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh smoke?: Not Known
- Does Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh drink alcohol?: Not Known
- He was born in London to a cloth merchant, Saeed Sheikh.
- Prior to 5 years of Omar’s birth, his father had moved to London from Pakistan.
- While in London, the young Omar attended Forest School, an expensive private school in east London, where he claims to have faced racist bullying.
- In 1987, at the age of 13, his family moved back to Lahore.
- While in Lahore, he was enrolled in the exclusive Aitchison College; however, within 3 years, he was thrown out for bullying other students.
- Later, his family returned to London, where he completed his schooling.
- At the age of 19, when he was a first-year student at the London School of Economics (LSE), he travelled to Bosnia to join an Islamic aid group, which was working against the ill-treatment of Muslims by the Serb Christians.
- It is thought that he was radicalized during his tour to Bosnia, and when he returned, his fellow students reported him to have been changed greatly.
- Omar was studying Mathematics and Statistics at the London School of Economics (LSE), and in June 1993, he dropped out and went to a militant training camp in Afghanistan, and within a year, he became an instructor there.
- In 1994, he kidnapped an American and three British backpackers in Delhi and handed over them to his partners in the terrorist group Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. It led to Omar’s first stint in Jail. He was sent to jail, first in Meerut and then Tihar in Delhi.
- Omar Saeed Sheikh shared the Tihar Jail with Peter Gee, a British musician. Both became good friends and together used to teach geography to fellow prisoners.
- In 1999, to rescue Omar Saeed Sheikh including Masood Azhar and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen plotted a rescue operation: the hijacking of Air India flight IC-814 from Kathmandu to Kandahar. After negotiations between the hijackers and the Indian Government, the three prisoners were released.
- On 23 January 2002, he allegedly kidnapped a Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl in Karachi. Pearl’s execution video was released a month after he was kidnapped.
- In 2007, a Hollywood film- A Mighty Heart was released, which was based on the memoir of the same name by Daniel Pearl’s wife Mariane Pearl. In the film, Alyy Khan played the role of Omar, Angelina Jolie played the role of Daniel Pearl’s wife, while Irrfan played the role of a police officer.
- Even after Sheikh’s claim that he had no hand in the execution of Daniel Pearl, he was sentenced to death in June 2002.
- According to sources, Omar was also associated with Pakistan’s intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
- Experts also believed that he was brilliant enough to take over Al Qaeda after bin Laden.
- Pervez Musharraf wrote in his memoir, In the Line of Fire, of Sheikh’s links with MI6, Britain’s intelligence.
- Soon after the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai in 2008, he made a hoax call to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, pretending himself as India’s Foreign Minister (then Pranab Mukherjee).
- In 2014, he unsuccessfully attempted suicide in a Jail in Pakistan.
- In 2018, Hansal Mehta’s Omerta was based on Omar Sheikh’s life, where Rajkummar Rao played the role of Omar Sheikh.
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