Five of the six death row prisoners executed since Friday were accused of being involved in the assassination attempt on former military ruler retired General Pervez Musharraf and faced 10 different charges, ranging from conspiracy to sedition.
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According to the charge sheet issued to these convicts in 2003, Naik Arshad Mehmood of the Special Services Group’s (SSG) 1 Commando Battalion and his co-accused were said to have planned the attack on Gen Musharraf’s convoy at the army’s Mansar Camp near Attock district. The charge sheet states that the accused were involved in “suicidal attacks on the motorcade of the president of Pakistan” in December 2003, which “resulted in the death of 14 persons”.
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The charge sheet also states that Arshad hatched “a criminal conspiracy” between 2001 and 2003 and “agreed with the co-accused Zubair Ahmed, Rashid Qureshi, Ghulam Sarwar, Ikhlas Ahmed aka Roosi, Adnan Khan, Ameer Sohail, Rana Naveed, Mrs Shazia Mubashir and others… to carry out suicide attacks… against the president of Pakistan and chief of army staff”.
Although there were two assassination attempts against Gen Musharraf in the same month, first on Dec 14, then Dec 25, but the charge sheet only mentions the Dec 25 attack. No loss of life was reported in the first attack. The charge sheet claims that Arshad, the main accused in the case, was not only part of the conspiracy to kill Gen Musharraf, but was also actively involved in carrying out the attacks. The charge sheet alleges that Rashid Qureshi alias Tipu, Ghulam Sarwar alias Salahuddin, and Ikhlas Ahmed alias Roosi had “attempted to seduce Naik Arshad Mehmoood, Naik Mohammad Hanif, Lance Naik Zafar Iqbal Dogar and other (military personnel) from their allegiance to the government of Pakistan.” Ikhlas Ahmed aka Roosi was the son of Dr Akhlaq Ahmed, a Kashmiri who married a Russian woman while in Russia to pursue a degree in medicine, which explains how he came to be known as ‘Roosi’.
Ameer Sohail and Rana Naveed were also accused of being part of the conspiracy to attack Gen Musharraf’s convoy. Initially, a military court sentenced them to life in prison, but a military appellate court enhanced their sentence from life imprisonment to death penalty. However, in March last year, the Supreme Court revoked the military appellate court’s decision, limiting the sentence to life imprisonment.
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In the same case, a separate FIR was registered in 2007 with the Civil Lines police station in Rawalpindi against accused civilians Rana Mohammad Faqir (Rana Naveed’s father), his daughter-in-law Shazia Mubashir and Jamshed Raza. A Rawalpindi Anti-Terrorism Court, however, acquitted the accused as the prosecution failed to produce sufficient evidence to support its case against the three. -dawn