Tahawwur Hussain Rana is a Pakistani Canadian businessman, physician, and retired Pakistan Army personnel who was jailed in the United States of America in 2011 for playing an active role in plotting a terror attack on a Denmark-based media house in 2005. Rana is well known for having close ties with David Coleman Headley, one of the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai Attacks. He also allegedly played a shadow role in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. It is also alleged that he has close ties with the banned Pakistani terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). In May 2023, he hit the headlines after the US District Court of California paved the way for his extradition to India under the 1997 Extradition Treaty signed between India and the US.
Tahawwur Hussain Rana was born on Thursday, 12 January 1961 (age 62 years; as of 2023) in Chichawatni, Sahiwal, Punjab Province, Pakistan. His zodiac sign is Capricorn. Tahawwur was raised at Chichawatni. He completed his schooling at Army School in Punjab Province, Pakistan, and the Cadet College Hasanabdal in Attock.
Thereafter, he did his MBBS in Pakistan and applied for a commission into the Pakistan Army following which he underwent military training at the Army Medical College in Rawalpindi. There, he completed his MBBS.
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Tahawwur Rana was born into a Muslim family in Pakistan.
Parents & Siblings
His father, Rana Wali Muhammad, is a businessman, who lives in Canada. He has three brothers, two of his brothers are serving as commissioned officers in the Pakistan Army, and one of his brothers, Abbas Rana, is a journalist with The Hill Times, a Canada-based media outlet.
Wife & Children
His wife, Samraz Akhtar Rana, is a physician, who is a citizen of Canada. He got married to her in 1995. He has three children, two daughters, and a son.
He resides at 6018, N. Campbell Ave, Chicago IL 60659, the United States of America.
After completing his military training at Rawalpindi, Tahawwur Rana joined the Pakistan Army’s Medical Corps as a second lieutenant. With time, he went on to become a captain in the Pakistan Army. According to an article written by Radha Vinod Raju, the former director of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), for the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, Rana was dismissed after the Pakistan Army declared him as an absconder in the mid-1990s after he did not report to his place of posting. Following his retirement, he worked in Pakistan as a doctor for some years before migrating to Canada in 1997.
After moving to Canada in 1997, he started numerous businesses in several places including Toronto. In June 2001, he received Canada’s citizenship.
Later, he moved to Chicago in the United States of America with his wife and kids. There, he established an immigration consultancy named First World Immigration Services Inc. He later travelled to different countries to establish its branches. Thereafter, he established a slaughterhouse in Chicago.
Plotting an attack on a Danish media house
On 18 October 2009, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested Tahawwur Rana from Chicago on the charges of playing an active role in the plotting of the execution of the employees of Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten, a Danish media outlet based in Copenhagen, for publishing insulting cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in 2005. However, the attack did not take place as it was foiled by the American and Danish intelligence agencies. During its investigation, the FBI found that Rana not only helped in creating a blueprint for the attack but also provided material support to the terrorists. The FBI further revealed that Rana had visited Mumbai with his wife in November 2008, i.e., a few days before the Mumbai Attacks and stayed at the Taj Mahal Palace. His trial, which commenced at the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on 16 May 2011, went on till 2013. Judge Harry Leinenweber sentenced Rana to 14 years in prison in 2013. In an interview, Lisa Monaco, the then Assistant Attorney General for National Security, talked about it and said,
Today’s sentence demonstrates that, just as vigorously as we pursue terrorists and their organizations, we will also pursue those who facilitate their violent plots from a safe distance. As established at trial, Tahawwur Rana provided critical support to David Headley and other terrorists from his base in the United States, knowing they were plotting attacks overseas. I thank the many agents, analysts and prosecutors who helped bring about today’s result.” United States Department of Justice
The 26/11 Attacks in Mumbai
On 26 November 2008, ten Pakistani terrorists attacked India’s financial capital Mumbai, which led to the death of more than 160 civilians, including six American nationals.
After the attack, Indian intelligence and investigation agencies like Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) began their investigations. The agencies pin-pointed at several people including Hafiz Saeed (the mastermind of the attack), David Coleman Headley, and Tahawwur Rana. In 2009, the NIA issued an arrest warrant against Headley and Rana under the charges of (a) conspiracy to wage war, to commit murder, to commit forgery for the purpose of cheating, to use as genuine a forged document or electronic record, and to commit a terrorist act (b) waging war, (c) murder, (d) committing a terrorist act, and (e) conspiracy to commit a terrorist act. According to India’s investigation report, David Headley visited Mumbai several months before the attack under the garb of establishing an overseas branch of Rana’s Chicago-based immigration consultancy. Institute Of Peace & Conflict Studies The report further claimed that a few days before the attack, Rana, along with his wife, came to India and visited several places including Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, and Uttar Pradesh before making their way to Pakistan. According to the FBI, Tahawwur Hussain Rana and David, while talking to each other on call, expressed their wish to target India’s prestigious military institute National Defence College (NDC) in New Delhi. The Globe and Mail Sources also claim that Rana worked as a coordinator between David and a retired Pakistan ISI official Major Abdul Rehman, also known as Pasha. In 2011, during the trial of the failed 2005 terror attack on the Danish media house, Tuhawwar was acquitted by the District Court of playing a role in the 2008 Mumbai Attacks due to a lack of evidence following which the NIA filed a chargesheet against Rana in a court in Delhi. In 2016, David, in his confession, said that Rana played an important role in arranging an Indian Visa for him in 2008, a claim that Tahawwur and his family denied.
Dr. Tahawwur Hussain Rana helped me to get Indian visa. I met him in a military school in Punjab province: David Headley
— ANI (@ANI) February 8, 2016
On 10 June 2020, the Government of India presented the evidence collected by the Indian investigative agencies to the United States and filed for his extradition from the United States to India. His extradition was supported by the US administration led by Joe Biden. In May 2023, US Magistrate Judge of the US District Court of California, Jacqueline Chooljian, through her judgement, notified the Secretary of State of the United States that Tahawwur Hussain Rana could be extradited to India to face punishment. The Indian Express In her judgement, Judge Chooljian said,
The Court has reviewed and considered all of the documents submitted in support of and in opposition to the Request, and has considered the arguments presented at the hearing. Based on such review and consideration and for the reasons discussed herein, the Court makes the findings set forth below, and CERTIFIES to the Secretary of State of the United States the extraditability of Rana on the charged offences that are the subject of the Request.”
On 25 September 2023, the Mumbai police’s crime branch submitted a 400-page chargesheet against Tahawwur Hussain before a special court in relation to the case. In an interview, a senior official mentioned that the police had got fresh evidence against Tahawwur in the form of documents and statements, and they had added Section 39A of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) (offence relating to support given to a terrorist organisation) against Rana in the case. The Telegraph
- Tahawwur Hussain Rana and David Coleman Headley are childhood friends and studied together at the Cadet College Hasanabdal for five years.
- According to Tahawwur Hussain Rana’s younger brother, Abbas Rana, when the U. S. District Court sentenced him to 14 years in prison, the news of his imprisonment was kept hidden from their father due to his poor health. In an interview, he said,
When the story first broke in the American media last month, The family members decided not to tell father because we were afraid it would kill him. We waited for weeks and tried to shield our cable-news-junkie father from news reports, but were forced to tell him two weeks ago. The news put him in the hospital.”
- Tahawwur Hussain Rana was a member of the US-based Iqbal Society, which undertook discussions on Islam as well as the preachings of Prophet Muhammad.