In his testimony before a military tribunal, Saifullah Paracha said he first met Osama bin Laden, somewhat by happenstance, on a charity mission to Afghanistan in 1999.
“He delivered the Koran and said he was a prophet. He said very nice things. Very impressive,” said Paracha, a prominent Pakistani entrepreneur who split his time between Karachi and New York.
As Paracha tells it, he offered bin Laden his business card, explained that he was involved in television and asked whether he would consider appearing in a film to discuss “the terrorism program.”
The project never panned out, but the meeting was one of a series of associations that led the U.S. government to declare Paracha an enemy combatant in 2003 and detain him at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Moderate Muslim sighting ahead:
A moderate Muslim who lived in New York from 1971 to 1986 and owns a garment import business with a Jewish partner, Saifullah acknowledged doing business with men since identified as al-Qaida plotters but said he thought they were ordinary Pakistanis.