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Friday, August 26, 2005

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Death sentences in Musharraf plot

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Death sentences in Musharraf plot Death sentences in Musharraf plot
Five men have been sentenced to death in Pakistan after being found guilty of involvement in a plot to assassinate President Pervez Musharraf.

The five include one soldier, military spokesman Maj Gen Shaukat Sultan told the BBC on Friday.

The men were arrested after a suicide attack on Gen Musharraf's convoy on 25 December, 2003.

Earlier this month a former soldier was executed after being found guilty of conspiracy to kill the president.

The soldier was named as Naik Arshad Mehmood, a former military commando.

Suicide attack

The five men "were convicted in the assassination attempt on the president on December 25 2003," Maj Gen Sultan told Reuters, referring to the second of two attempts on Gen Musharraf that month.

Naik Arshad Mehmood
Zubair Ahmed
Rashid Quereshi
Ghulam Sarwar
Akhlaq Ahmed

Two suicide bombers tried to ram explosive-laden vehicles into the president's limousine, killing 17 people.

Maj Gen Sultan said that three other people convicted of involvement in the plot were jailed.

Last week, a former soldier who was found guilty of conspiracy to assassinate Gen Musharraf was executed in Multan.

Islamuddin Siddiqui was part of a group involved in the first attempt, in which a road bridge was blown up using powerful explosives, but they missed Gen Musharraf's car by seconds.

A military court had found Siddiqui guilty of conspiring to kill the Pakistani leader.

Several low-ranking army and air force officers were arrested for their alleged involvement in the two attempts on the life of Gen Musharraf.

Many of them are being tried by two separate military courts.

Gen Musharraf has been a target for Islamic militants since joining the US-led "war on terror" following the attacks of 11 September 2001.

He survived the first attack on 14 December thanks, apparently, to electronic jamming devices which blocked a signal to a remote-controlled bomb.

The blast destroyed a bridge minutes after his motorcade had passed over it. No-one was hurt.

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