Meet Zainab Ahmad – The Pakistani-American Prosecutor Who Never Lost


Meet Zainab Ahmad – The Pakistani-American prosecutor who never lost

Zainab has built her reputation by pursuing high-profile terrorism convictions.

Islamabad (Pakistan Point News – 15th December, 2018) Zainab Ahmad is one of America’s top counterterrorism prosecutors, specialising in extra-territorial cases, trying bad characters not present in the United States or gathering evidence related to crimes committed in far off lands to present before juries here.

Ahmad, 37, was born in New York to immigrant parents from Pakistan. Ahmad began her law career in 2006 as a clerk for US District Judge Jack B. Weinstein and later joined the Eastern District in 2008.

During her time as a Federal prosecutor in New York, Zainab has built her reputation by pursuing high-profile terrorism convictions.

She has fought 13 such cases and is yet to lose a case.

Some of Ahmad’s high profile cases include US vs Babafemi, where a Nigerian citizen was convicted of providing material support to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula at the direction of Anwar al-Awlaki; Muhanad al-Farekh, an American the government alleges provided material support to al-Qaeda in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region; AlhassaneOuld Mohamed, a Malian who murdered US defense attaché William Bultemeier in Niamey, Niger, and was later involved in numerous other attacks and crimes; and Russell Defreitas and Abdul Kadir, conspirators in the 2007 John F. Kennedy International Airport attack plot, who were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

In an interview to The New Yorker, Zainab said, “If I were fifteen now, growing up where I did—I don’t know. Everything’s changed,” meaning the level of mistrust that Muslims in America face.

About Pakistan, she said growing up she couldn’t find it on the map when asked at school. She would be embarrassed, but felt better because even teachers couldn’t.

But now, Pakistan is closely identified with terrorism in American public memory, especially since May 2011, when Osama bin Laden was killed in his hideout in Abbottabad.

“I’d kind of like to go back to a time in America when teachers didn’t know where Pakistan is,” she said.

Mahnoor Sheikh

The writer is News Editor, Pakistan Point. She has graduated in Mass Communication and has worked in various media houses