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Army House attack: LHC to take up convict’s appeal today

September 23, 2012

RAWALPINDI, Sept 23: The Rawalpindi bench of Lahore High Court (LHC) will take up on Monday the appeal of a man who along with others has been convicted of planning to attack the Army House in a bid to target General (retd) Pervez Musharraf.

The men were apprehended before the attack could be carried out and were convicted on Aug 31, 2010, by the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) and imprisoned at Adiyala Jail. Recently, however, Zafar Ali has filed an appeal in the LHC against his conviction. Like the others who were convicted along with him — Intikhab Abbasi, Abid Khan, Mohammad Ishaq, Mohammad Kabeer and Qamar Zaman — he too was sentenced to life-time rigorous imprisonment and fined.

Others including Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan leaders such as Baitullah Mehsud were declared absconders in the case and the ATC issued perpetual warrants for them.

Whether or not the appeal yields something for Ali is not clear.

Interestingly, this aborted plan, which was to be carried out in 2008, appears rather similar to the 2009 attack on GHQ.

In October 2009, the terrorists got so far as to successfully attacking and entering the army’s main headquarters commonly known as GHQ.

The GHQ attack was planned in Miramshah with the aim of taking military officers hostage and involved 10 men.

According to the confessional statements of those involved in planning the army house attack, Ali and his other colleagues aimed to use three vehicles – two Land Cruisers and one Toyota Corolla – loaded with about 900kg high explosive. D-day, according to them, was to be June 6, 2008.

These vehicles were sent by a man named Farooq from the tribal areas while the explosives were delivered and then loaded into the cars in Rawalpindi.

The plan was to crash the vehicles into the gates of the Army House.

Ishaq, who was going to be driving one of the Land Cruiser, was to attack the main army gate. Abid Khan, in the second Land Cruiser, was to attack the second line of defence inside of the gate while Qamar Zaman, Zafar Ali, Kabeer and Intikhab Abbasi, in the Corolla, were to aim for Gen Musharraf.

However, the cabal was caught from Dhoke Kala Khan, Rawalpindi, 90 minutes before they were to execute the attack.

The confessional statement also reveals that earlier these young men had tried to attack Gen Musharraf’s convoy near Islamabad Highway but failed because one of the vehicles to be used malfunctioned at the last moment.

After that they hatched the Army House plan. The convicted men also confessed that they were trained in Kot Kai, Dir Bala and Miramshah by Qari Hussain and Wali Mohammad.

Once this training was completed, they met Baitullah Mehsud who told them that Gen Musharraf had ordered attacks on Waziristan, which is why the latter was to be killed.

However, this account is denied by the defence counsel who argues that explosive material was not recovered from the convicted men. He adds that an accused cannot be convicted on the basis of his confessional statement.