M A I N   N E W S

Musharraf escapes assassination bid
Ex-president unhurt as blast targets his convoy

Fifth attempt in 12 months
April 23, 2013:
Explosive-laden car found outside Musharraf farmhouse
Dec 24: 5 kg IED found in a briefcase along ex-president’s route to court for treason trial hearing
Dec 30: Five packets each containing .5 kg explosives found near his farmhouse on Islamabad’s outskirts
Jan 1, 2014: Explosives with three electronic circuits and remote control found on the route scheduled to be taken for military ruler’s court hearing
April 3: Bomb explodes near his farmhouse

Islamabad, April 3
Pakistan's former military dictator Pervez Musharraf, facing a treason trial, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt when a powerful bomb went off near his farmhouse here on Thursday minutes after his convoy had passed.

The blast took place between Faizabad and Rawal Dam Chowk 20-25 minutes after Musharraf's convoy passed through the route around 3 am. He was being shifted to his heavily-guarded farmhouse from Rawalpindi’s Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology where he has been admitted for the last three months. He was unhurt, but officials said the blast caused about a foot deep hole in the ground.

The police claimed the 70-year-old former president was the target. "The blast took place about 20 minutes after Musharraf reached the farmhouse. By God's grace, he is safe," Aasia Ishaque, spokesperson of Musharraf's APML party, told PTI.

She said it was the government’s responsibility to provide security to the former army chief who remains on the hit-list of various terror groups. Islamabad police confirmed to PTI that the blast took place after Musharraf had taken the route. "The blast took place 25 minutes after Musharraf drove past," a source said.

A bomb disposal squad was called in at the blast site 3 km from Musharraf's sprawling Chak Shehzad farmhouse on the outskirts of the city. The bomb was planted in a drainage pipe adjacent to the footpath. TV footage showed a small crater adjacent to the footpath. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

While initially the traffic was stopped, it was resumed soon after. A case has been registered against unknown persons in the Secretariat Police Station.

Since Musharraf is under threat from terror groups, heavy security has been given to him and all his routes are thoroughly checked before he gets out. Reacting to the blast, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar said the Islamabad police was not aware of his movement and that an investigation has been ordered into the incident.

Musharraf is facing five counts of high treason that potentially carry death penalty or life imprisonment. Since his return to Pakistan from self-exile in March last year, Musharraf has faced prosecution in four major cases, including for his alleged involvement in the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007 and the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti in 2006. — Agencies





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