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Tuesday, 9 July, 2002, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Officer 'plotted Musharraf murder'
Suspects Mohammad Hanif, left,  and Mohammad Imran Bhai at news conference
Two of the suspects were paraded before the press
Pakistani police have charged a member of the security forces with attempting to assassinate President Pervez Musharraf.


They could not activate the remote control and the car did not explode

General Satti,
Pakistan Rangers
Wasim Akhtar, an inspector in the Paramilitary Rangers, is accused of helping militants who tried to blow up the president's motorcade in the southern city of Karachi in April.

The officer will appear shortly in court, the head of the paramilitary Pakistan Rangers, Major-General Salahuddin Satti, told the BBC on Tuesday, a day after news first emerged of the failed attempt.

Three of the inspector's alleged accomplices are also accused of carrying out two recent bombings against foreign targets in the city which killed more than 25 people.

President Musharraf
Musharraf seized power in a 1999 coup
Police say all three are members of the al-Alami offshoot of the banned Muslim extremist group, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen.

The BBC's Adam Brookes in Islamabad says General Musharraf has repeatedly committed himself to curbing terrorism and Islamic militancy.

He says a guilty verdict in the case of Inspector Akhtar would demonstrate that even within Pakistan's security establishment are those who remain violently opposed to such policies.

Suzuki truck

Inspector Akhtar is said to have helped by providing details of the president's itinerary when he visited the city to campaign before the controversial April referendum which extended his term in office.


One of our friends, who was willing to be a suicide bomber, carried out the [consulate] attack

Mohammad Hanif,
suspect
Police say the men planted a car full of explosives on Karachi's main street and tried to blow it up as General Musharraf drove past.

"They could not activate the remote control and the car did not explode," General Satti told a news conference on Monday.

Inspector Akhtar appears to have been detained after the suspects apparently confessed to police.

Police say the group used a Suzuki pick-up in the failed attempt on the president's life - the same car later used in a bomb blast outside the US consulate.

That attack, on 14 June, killed 12 Pakistanis. A bomb on 8 May near the Sheraton Hotel killed 14 people, 11 of them French engineers.

Hardliners

The alleged militants were arrested after a series of raids in Karachi.

US investigators at the bomb site
Investigations are focusing on a Suzuki pick-up
Two of them were shown to the press on Monday. A third could not be produced for legal reasons, officials said.

"One of our friends, who was willing to be a suicide bomber, carried out the [consulate] attack," one of the men, Mohammad Hanif, told reporters.

"Our plan was to blow up the consulate, but I regret that Muslim brothers and sisters were killed."

The other man said he did not support suicide bombings.

"But some members of the group believe that is the only solution to teach a lesson to the Americans and their allies," Mohammad Imran Bhai said.

The authorities say they are looking for at least a dozen accomplices.

Musharraf's Pakistan

Democracy challenge

Militant threat

Background

TALKING POINT

FROM THE ARCHIVES

BBC WORLD SERVICE
See also:

29 Jun 02 | South Asia
18 Jun 02 | South Asia
15 Jun 02 | South Asia
06 Jun 02 | South Asia
13 Jan 02 | South Asia
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