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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2008, 14:36 GMT
Three get life for Musharraf bomb
President Pervez Musharraf, archive picture
President Musharraf has angered Islamic hardliners
Three militants have been sentenced to life imprisonment for plotting to kill Pakistani President Musharraf in a failed car bombing in April 2002.

The trio are all believed to be members of Harkat ul-Mujahideen al-Almi, an alleged offshoot of al-Qaeda.

They were found guilty of plotting to kill the president with a car bomb as his convoy passed through the southern Pakistani city of Karachi.

But the remote control they used failed to detonate the explosives.

'Fanatics'

The authorities say the vehicle was then used in a suicide attack on the US consulate in Karachi two months later that killed 14 people.

President Musharraf has survived at least three attempts on his life, the April 2002 attack being the first.

Scene of attempted suicide bomb attack against President Musharraf in 2003
The president has escaped numerous assassination attempts

Mohammad Imran, Mohammad Hanif and Mohammad Ashraf were jailed for 10 years in October 2003 but appealed against their convictions. The Sindh High Court ordered their retrial in December 2006.

They were again found guilty and this time the court gave them life terms.

Three other suspects were acquitted for lack of evidence.

President Musharraf enraged militants by joining the US-led "war on terror" after the attack on the World Trade Centre in September 2001.

In a recent interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, the president strongly dismissed the possibility of such "fanatics" taking over the country and its nuclear assets.

He said that while al-Qaeda was responsible for carrying out terrorism in the country's tribal areas and masterminding suicide bombings, it was not strong enough both militarily and politically to take over.

"They are neither militarily so strong that they can defeat our army, with its 600,000 soldiers, nor politically - and they do not stand a chance of winning elections. They are much too weak for that," he said.





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