Gilani, who was born in Washington to Sayed Salim Gilani, described as a "dashing" diplomat and an avid musicologist and poet and to Serrill Headley, who had left Philadelphia’s Main Line to work as a secretary at the same embassy. Soon after they travelled to Lahore, Pakistan, the marriage soured. His mother left Daood and his sister Syedah and and spun a tale of marrying an Afghan prince who was later murdered. She then set up the Khyber Pass club in Philadelphia, incorporating Afghan themes into it.
E-mail messages show, however, that Mr. Headley stayed in regular contact with classmates from the military high school he attended in Pakistan, often engaging in impassioned debates about politics and Islam. Writing about Pakistan’s chief enemy, he said, “We will retaliate against India.”
He toured India, befriended a Bollywood personality's son, had passionate discussions about "commandos." He also made several photgraphs of locations that were later the target of the 26/11 attacks. He has his mother's (redhead) green eyes and his father's brown eyes. This image was released by the English-language news channel NDTV.