Pakistani court keeps trio in custody

A special anti-terrorist court in Pakistan today ordered three men charged with trying to kill President Pervez Musharraf to remain in custody.

A special anti-terrorist court in Pakistan today ordered three men charged with trying to kill President Pervez Musharraf to remain in custody.

One of the accused, Wasim Akhtar, was a paramilitary Rangers inspector assigned to protect Musharraf on April 26 when the alleged assassination was to take place. The explosive-laden vehicle failed to detonate.

Akhtar’s alleged role in the failed attempt was to let his accomplices know when Musharraf’s entourage would pass the spot where the vehicle was parked.

The pick-up truck was parked outside a plaza less than a mile from Karachi International Airport, and was camouflaged with the writing "lifesaving drugs" written on its side.

Justice Shabir Ahmed ordered Akhtar and his co-accused, Mohammed Imran and Mohammed Hanif, to return to court on July 20. They entered no plea.

Heavily-armed police in bullet proof jackets, backed by jeeps mounted with machine guns, guarded the anti-terrorist court in the heart of Karachi.

The accused arrived in armoured cars and Akhtar’s face was hidden behind a coloured shawl. The faces of his accomplices were exposed

It is routine in Pakistan to hide the identity of accused. The other two, Hanif and Imran, appeared earlier this week on charges they staged the powerful explosion outside the US consulate in Karachi on June 14.

The bombing killed at least 12 Pakistanis and injured 50 other people.

Police in Karachi say Hanif, Ahmed and Sheikh Mohammed Ahmed, also charged in the bombing, were members of Harakat-ul Mujahedeen Al Almi, a splinter group of the outlawed Harakat-ul Mujahedeen.

Its members have fought in Afghanistan and are allied to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network.

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