Pakistan's president and top military leader, General Pervez Musharraf, says
al-Qaida and some members of the Pakistani military were involved in two failed
attempts on his life in December.
President Musharraf told local Geo Television news, the two assassination
attempts were made at the behest of the al-Qaida network and carried out by
"That mastermind certainly is in the foreigners around here, we call them
al-Qaida," he said. "At what level this foreign initiative [comes from], whether
it comes from some order from the highest level, by which I mean Mr. [Ayman
al-] Zawahiri or Osama bin Laden, I don't know that."
On December 14, Mr. Musharraf's motorcade narrowly missed a bomb placed on
a bridge along the route. Just two weeks later, the president's convoy was
again attacked, this time by two suicide bombers in separate cars who blew
themselves up alongside the motorcade.
Mr. Musharraf said the organizer of the attacks was a Pakistani who has been
identified but remains at large, while almost all others involved are now in
custody and will soon face trial.
He added that some "junior officers" were directly involved in the first
incident and participated in the second. "There are some people in uniform,
air force and army, but they are very small, very junior," he added.
If President Musharraf's allegations prove true, it would mark the first
assassination attempt by members of his own military since he took power in
a bloodless coup in 1999.
Pakistani political commentator Ayaz Amir said that the participation of
low-ranking officers and enlisted men means little and that the president's
support among the senior military staff is still very strong.
"It's nowhere like suggesting that the armed forces structure is split and
there are people with him and people against him," he explained. "I mean, that
would be far fetched."
Some Pakistanis are strongly opposed to President Musharraf's secular policies
and his cooperation with the United States in its war on terror.
However, Mr. Musharraf says a number of the servicemen involved in the plots
were motivated by money rather than ideology.