Kyrgyz Bombers Tied To Chechen Death Squads

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It is assumed that the underground exploded widow of the leader of Dagestani militants Umalat Magomedov Jennet (left by her husband) to take revenge for him 

Photo: NEWSTEAM / Kommersant

[Followers of Said Buryat have struck in Bishkek.  Buryat, whose widow was a "Black Widow" suicide bomber in a recent attack in Moscow, are organizing and flowing throughout the CIS zone, striking wherever US interests move them.  SEE: America's Islamists Go Where Oilmen Fear to Tread.]

Kyrgyzstan has found trace Said Buryat in an explosion in Bishkek

State Committee on National Security of Kyrgyzstan (SCNS) suggests that persons detained on suspicion of organizing terrorist attacks in the capital of Kyrgyzstan, are relevant to Russia’s religious extremists, said the agency 24.kg referring to the head office Keneshbek Dushebaeva.

According Dushebaeva arrested Kyrgyz citizens are members of an extensive clandestine extremist terrorist group, owned by the movement, one of the leaders who was a citizen of Russia, Alexander Tikhomirov, better known as Said Buryat, eliminated as a result of the FSB special operation in Ingushetia this spring.

“One of the leaders of the movement was a citizen of Russia, Alexander Tikhomirov, better known as the Buryat Said” – said Dushebaev.

Earlier on Wednesday, it became known that the police detained nine suspected of involvement in organizing terrorist acts in Bishkek at the building of police and the Palais des Sports, where he was the trial of ex-President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and his associates.

Dushebaev said that during interrogation of detained on suspicion of involvement in the bombing revealed that the group is related to the organization of extremist and a terrorist wing that carries out its activities in Russia and Kazakhstan. Dushebaev described their ideological platform as jihadism.

“We are going to interact with the special services of our partner countries to prevent terrorism. In this regard we are already working with the FSB,” – said Dushebaev.

Head of National Security Committee also told reporters that law enforcement officers detained in Kyrgyzstan, another group of people who were planning to organize a series of bombings in shopping centers of Bishkek. Dushebaev declined to disclose details of a special operation to capture suspected terrorists.

In a suicide attack on November 30 at the Palace of Sports in Bishkek, where he was on trial for the shooting of participants of the April mass riots, injured four people.Blast and a half hours before the trial began in the immediate vicinity of the entrance, through which normally give birth to the defendants. December 25 demining group SCNS Kyrgyzstan defused an explosive device found on this day in a car parked near the police in Bishkek.

“During the search the homes of suspected caches discovered that there were a lot of devices for preparation and implementation of terrorist attacks. Among them are guns, bullets, grenades, religious literature,” – said Dushebaev. The detainees, he said, are already yielding confessions.

The head of Kyrgyzstan’s National Security Committee noted that all law enforcement bodies of Uzbekistan in connection with a high risk of terrorist attacks are now working in a special mode.
29.12.2010

Source – RIA Novosti

US Invasion of Pakistan Will Unite Troops and Terrorists In Defense of “Land of the Pure”

“International Herald Tribune”: Pakistan may well fall apart very quickly. What do the West?

Anatol Lieven

“International Herald Tribune”: Pakistan is more important country than Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism

March madness in Pakistan

London – News reports that senior commanders in Afghanistan want to expand the number of ground raids of special forces in the tribal areas of Pakistan, quite possibly, have been leaked deliberately to increase pressure on Pakistan’s military leaders so that they have taken tougher action against militants Taliban seeking shelter in their country.

However, if the American generals are sincerely want to increase the number of such raids, you will need to state emphatically that all this is not just a crazy idea, but an approach that demonstrates how much the senior American (and British) team was obsessed with the war in Afghanistan due to the fight against terrorism in general.

Pakistan, with its huge population (about 200 million people), a large army, nuclear weapons, extensive extremist networks and diaspora in the West, is far more important country than Afghanistan, and is a much greater potential threat in terms of anti-Western terrorism. Moreover, one problem which, of course, would have led to the collapse of the Pakistani state and tremendously sharp increase in the power of extremists and terrorists, will be connected with the case where the Pakistani army will split and part of her rebel against the alliance with America. Onshore U.S. raids in Pakistan are subjected to the risks of just such disastrous results. In fact, after all sorts of conversations about the dangers disintegration of the state and the beginning of the Islamist revolution in Pakistan, namely the United States can be those who will cause such an event.

Supporters of the organization of ground raids, as seems to think that they are only just a continuation of an existing campaign attack drones on targets in the tribal areas of Pakistan, which has caused great indignation and was very doubtful success.
Pakistani officers, from captain to lieutenant-general told me that invading U.S. ground troops into Pakistan in pursuit of Taliban and al-Qaeda is by far the most dangerous scenario for both the relations between Pakistan and the U.S., so and for the unity of the Pakistan Army. As explained by a retired general, attack drones, although officials and ordinary soldiers and they find it demeaning, do not constitute a critically important issue, because the Pakistani military could do nothing with them.

“U.S. ground troops inside Pakistan are a different kind of problem because soldiers can do something against them,” he said. “They can fight. And if they do not fight, then they will feel subjected to extreme abuse in the face of their wives, mothers and children. It would be a matter of honor, which, as you know, is hugely important in our society. These people vowed to defend Pakistani soil. Therefore, they will fight. And if the generals would have given them instructions to abandon combat, many of them have rebelled, starting with the Frontier Corps. “
The most dangerous moment during my visits to Pakistan since September 11, 2001, due in August and September 2008, when on two occasions U.S. forces entered the tribal areas of Pakistan in order to make raids on suspected bases of the Taliban “and” Al-Qaeda. In the second case, the Pakistani soldiers started firing into the air to force the Americans to turn back.

Pakistan is a far more tenacious than this suggests many Western experts, and opportunities for extremists to spread the rebel activity and the revolution (as opposed to terrorism) is still substantially limited. But if the army would be divided, the State may well fall apart very quickly.

Western fears of this kind before the collapse focused on the fate of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, but the collapse of the armed forces not only increased the risk, but also would ensure that the huge number of conventional weapons (including anti-aircraft missiles), and military expertise will go into the hands of terrorists.

It would also mean a certain kind of defeat for the West in Afghanistan. In Western media reports overlooked the fact that, although the militants of Afghan Taliban find sanctuary in Pakistan, they have not received this kind of active support and assistance, which the West and Pakistan to assist the Afghan mujahideen fighting the Soviets and their Communist allies in 1980 -ies. If the West wants to support through the elimination of safe havens, it is perfect for beginning to address this issue will not be entitled to carry out ground raids, USA.

In its concern over how to achieve victory in Afghanistan, the U.S. generals are beginning to show signs of making classic mistakes in military strategy, and they become obsessed with the feature of the battlefield through the battle as a whole: the case when Napoleon at Waterloo, throwing more and more troops in an attempt to storm the Chateau d’Ugumon, Hitler made the same mistake in Stalingrad.

They also forget that success in the fight against terrorism does not mean in the end, the destruction of more members of the Taliban in Afghanistan or Pakistan, it means preventing a larger number of attacks in the West. Changing of the dead or captured commanders of the Taliban in the tribal areas of Pakistan at greatly increased the terrorist threat in the West will lead to exchanges is extremely limited and temporary tactical success in a very threatening and long-term strategic defeat.

Anatol Lieven is a professor in the Department of War Studies at King’s College (King’s College) in London and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation (New America Foundation) in Washington. His next book, entitled “Pakistan: a harsh country” will be released in April 2011.

Anatol Lieven
“Interneshnel Herald Tribune,
December 29, 2010,
Translation – Zpress.kg-UVU

Source – Zpress.kg

Coffee Prices Set to Shoot Skywards

[Torrential Colombian rains and simple greed to cramp your coffee budget.]

Coffee prices peak on tight global supply concerns

Newswire18, / New Delhi December 31, 2010, 0:44 IST

Coffee prices are on the boil, tracking global supply concerns. On Thursday, prices of arabica plantation variety reached a record high of Rs 245 a kg at an auction centre in Vijayawada, climbing further from the all-time high reached on Monday, traders and analysts said.

On Monday also, the prices had breached the record levels trading at Rs 240 at the same auction centre in Karnataka. And, the coffee prices may rise further as global futures are hovering at record levels.

Supply concerns from Columbia and Central America that are reeling under torrential rains loom large over the global markets. On Wednesday, arabica beans futures for March delivery on ICE US closed at 13-and-half-year high of $2.3965 a pound.

“Coffee damage in Columbia has taken domestic prices to an all-time record and traders here are keenly looking at the volume of damage due to adverse weather conditions there,” said P Sureshbabu, proprietor of Bangalore-based Chaithanyaa Coffee, adding, “Meanwhile, prices will continue to rise.”

Supply of fresh coffee crop in India has also got delayed due to untimely rain during November and early December. Growers believe fresh coffee will hit the markets only by mid-January, even as picking of arabica crop has begun slowly in parts of key growing states, mainly Karnataka.

Also, fuelling the rise in coffee prices is feeling among growers that they should get more on their produce as exporters are pocketing huge profit margins due to steep price rise in global markets.

“At the current levels of international prices, growers here should get 10-15 per cent more on their crop,” said Anil Bhandari, a coffee grower and member of state-run Coffee Board.

Traders, however, accuse growers of holding back coffee stock expecting prices to rise further.

Amidst supply concerns from top arabica coffee growing countries, India, too, reduced its output forecast from the previous estimates. The state-run Coffee Board cut production estimates to 299,000 tonnes, from earlier 308,000 tonnes.

Still, the latest estimate is higher than 289,600 tonnes a year ago.

U.S.-Russian alliance cannot be ruled out

President Barack Obama, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (L) and Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus, share a toast during a luncheon at Prague Castle in Prague Prague, Czech Republic, 08 April 2010

Photo: The While House- P. Souza

Uncertain World: U.S.-Russian alliance cannot be ruled out

16:40 30/12/2010
Weekly column by Fyodor Lukyanov

When U.S. President Barack Obama was sworn in two years ago, no one thought the Russian question would become the focal point of not only his foreign but also his domestic policy.

© RIA Novosti.

Fyodor Lukyanov

The policy of resetting relations with Russia, launched to help resolve other more acute problems, has become Obama’s most successful foreign policy initiative. The ratification of the New START treaty, although it is more of a technical document than any kind of real breakthrough, is proof that the current U.S. administration can drive its point home.

The Senate was actually voting on who the boss is, rather than on anything to do with nuclear weapons cuts. The administration acted decisively and with real political mastery. But in 2011, the situation facing Obama will be much worse: the House of Representatives will be Republican-dominated and Democrats will hold only the slimmest of the majority in the Senate. However, the energetic efforts taken over the last few weeks have enabled the administration to curtail the feeling of creeping, imminent catastrophe created by the loss of the mid-term elections in November.

The ratification of the New START treaty will crown this reset policy. It is a tangible sign that the goals formulated 18 months ago have been attained. The new nuclear arms reduction treaty has been signed, sanctions against Iran introduced, cooperation in Afghanistan expanded, and tensions over the planned ballistic missile shield in Europe eased.

However, the past year and a half has witnessed a transition from deep crisis to a functional U.S.-Russian dialogue, and now both sides need a new forward-looking policy. They have created the atmosphere for it, with relations between their leaders now, for the first time in years, resembling something akin to trust.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pinpointed the main reason why U.S.-Russian relations have improved under Obama. He said in his final interview this year that Obama is “a leader who fulfills his promises.”

Although Boris Yeltsin and Bill Clinton were thought to be on friendly terms, as were Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush, agreements reached under their various stewardships were not always honored.

The situation in the United States, however, is changing. Obama will have to work under pressure from Congress, and virtually no one in the current Republican leadership has a neutral, let alone positive, attitude to Russia. In other words, the president’s good will, which thus far we have had no reason to doubt, may not be sufficient for his policy toward Russia to be continued.

Political obstacles are compounded by conceptual problems. Americans have proposed expanding arms control talks to include tactical nuclear weapons and restoring control over conventional forces in Europe. But this unnecessary remix of old discussions would only push the two countries deeper into the past.

The proposed talks are based on the obsolete principle of the balance of forces, whereas the time of confrontation between the two systems Moscow and Washington represent is over and cannot be restarted in its previous form. The START-3 treaty has in fact revived the principle of a “civilized confrontation” formulated by Ronald Reagan as “Doveryai, no proveryai” (Trust, but verify). It was therefore logical that the U.S. administration, when arguing for ratification, claimed the new treaty would aid the resumption of mutual inspections, which ended when START-1 expired. All other arguments – nonproliferation, a nuclear free world, etc. – are mere lip service.

The situation regarding the ballistic missile shield seems absurd. Judging by the debates in the U.S. Senate and the Russian State Duma, it has sowed the seeds of unending discord by fomenting political differences. The shield’s latest trial failed (the second failure that year) even though the Pentagon has been accused of creating hothouse conditions for the tests. A report by the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of

Congress charged with examining matters relating to the receipt and outlay of public funds, expressed its concern over the increase in spending on a project that has such an uncertain future.
So, should we fight over an illusion?

We cannot be sure about relations between Russia and the United States in the 21st century. At least the Cold War paradigm was clear-cut and understandable. START-3 is the last of the big treaties designed to regulate the two superpowers’ rivalry in conditions when that very rivalry formed the backbone of global politics.

But the global situation has changed, and the international community is no longer tracking the ups and downs of U.S.-Russia talks. Iran and North Korea will attempt to produce their own nuclear bombs irrespective of how many missiles and warheads Russia or the United States may have, and China is steadily increasing its arsenal irrespective of what the nuclear giants do.

The U.S.-Russian relationship will only change when Moscow and Washington admit that much less depends on them in the world than they are accustomed to think, and that keeping the confrontations of yesteryear alive is actually a total waste of time and effort.

It is difficult to imagine Moscow and Washington as allies. But it would be unwise to rule out the possibility of any alliance in a world of such “mutable geometry,” where the lineup of forces is not set in stone but is an ever-changing quality.

 

Lawyer for Suspect in Benazir Killing Claims His Client Is Being Scapegoated

[Saud Aziz claims FIA has cell phones in question.  It will be interesting to see just how long this juggling act can go on between the Law and lawless officials.] 

‘Saud being victimized in BB case’ Anwer Abbas

ISLAMABAD: The Anti-Terrorist Court (ATC) No-III, Rawalpindi, Wednesday rejected the request by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to extend the physical remand of former City Police Officer Rawalpindi, Saud Aziz, and former ex-Superintendent Police Khurram Shahzad for nine more days and sent them to jail on judicial remand of 14 days. The Court directed the authorities concerned to reproduce them before the court by January 12, 2011. Both the former police officers are being tried for involvement in the assassination of former twice premier and ex-chairperson Pakistan People’s Party Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, where as Saud Aziz accused the FIA officials and Public prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar for misreporting the truth before the court, The Frontier Post learnt through reliable sources. Informed sources said that Anjum Wahid the lawyer of former City Police Officer Rawalpindi, Saud Aziz, informed the court that statements issued by the FIA officials and the Public prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar were not true and were against the facts and figures. Public prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar informed the Court that there were some difficulties in acquiring the record of the mobile phones used by both the former police high-up on the day of incident, as both were not cooperating with the investigating authorities concerned, which was not true and his client was fully cooperating with the court. Elaborating further he maintained that the data from the cellular phone of the former City Police Officer Rawalpindi was in custody of FIA, who was refusing the reality. Expressing anger and reservations, Anjum Wahid, Aziz’s attorney termed the allegations by Chaudhry Zulfiqar as baseless accusing Saud Aziz for having contacts with the ISI and MI at the time of incident saying that his client was a government employee. Following the proceedings Judge Rana Nisar Ahmed refused the request of the FIA to extend the physical remand of both the accused for nine more days and sent them to jail on judicial remand of 14 days. Anjum Wahid vowed to make public facts and figures about allegation leveled by FIA officials soon, claiming that his client was being victimized for the crime which he had not committed.

The Wasted Gains Once Made In Afghanistan

Regaining lost ground (cached)

Frontier Post

After going through the joint statement on the Istanbul tripartite summit of the presidents of Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan, one feels so saddened how far ahead could have Kabul and Islamabad moved together harmoniously to their two countries’ mutual good, had they not fallen in servitude to Washington, for which they have by now lost so much of ground that it would be quite tough for both to regain it any soon. Had they been their own masters, both Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, and Pervez Musharraf, his Pakistani counterpart, would have made a common cause right from the outset to pacify and stabilise Afghanistan and keep Pakistan secure against the negative fallout of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan. But deplorably that was not to be. Instead, they went separate ways. Karzai becoming just CIA’s slave, to whose satrapy had Bush given Afghanistan throughout his presidency, embracing warmly those this American spy agency held up as its friends, puritanically shunning and reviling those it pronounced its adversaries or foes, and acting an unquestioning obedient tool of its dirty games in the neighbourhood. For his part, Musharraf was quite happy playing a Bush administration’s obsequious valet, doing its bidding compliantly. Both should have teamed up to demand from Afghanistan’s invaders enough boots on the ground: Karzai for ensuring fleeing Taliban and their ally al-Qaeda remnants’ decimation; Musharraf for having the borders plugged off on the Afghanistan side to block off their sneaking into Pakistani territory. They did not. Karzai did whine but only humbly when Bush assembled together a war party of the like-minded and invaded Iraq illegally and unlawfully. Karzai did complain that without finishing the task in Afghanistan Bush had embarked on an adventure elsewhere; but without a loud voice. Musharraf did not even mew, whereas Bush’s Iraqi adventurism should have brought home to him as well as Karzai that the Bush’s overbearing neocons had their sights set elsewhere, not on Afghanistan, and that they were manipulating the world sympathy which the 9/11 holocaust had brought America to perpetuate their imperialist designs. As Karzai felt content with playing CIA’s slave, reading out its briefs to vilify whoever it wanted, befriending those it desired and castigating those it commanded, his presidency kept shrinking to ultimately reduce to his presidential mansion’s outer gate, with the Northern Alliance’s warlords and chieftains having carved up western and northern Afghanistan into their fiefdoms and the country’s Pakhtun-dominated southern and eastern parts in Taliban’s and other insurgents’ tight grab. More, instead of being the post-Taliban power dispensation’s central figure, he practically turned into playing a second fiddle to the Northern Alliance which was enjoying CIA’s unstinted backing for services it had rendered to the agency in Taliban’s ouster, and to India, an alliance’s close ally since its war with Taliban. Even his own National Directorate of Security (NDS), the Afghan spy service, was spurning of his authority. It acted more as a CIA’s subsidiary and because of its dominance by Northern Alliance loyalists was quite chummy with India’s RAW as well. For his part, when Musharraf woke up, somewhere in 2005, it dawned on him that his American masters had played a double game on him. Not only had the CIA infested deeply, in collusion with RAW and NDS, Pakistan’s tribal region and northwestern territories, unleashing on them such monstrosities as Naik Mohammad, Abdullah Mehsud, Baitullah Mehsud and Fazlullah. Together with RAW and NDS, it had also softened up Balochistan, fuelling insurgency and separatism in this sensitively strategically-placed province of Pakistan. Worse, the CIA sited its sponsored Uighur dissidents in our tribal region to draw Islamabad an incensed China’s anger, and its patronised Jundullah outfit of Iranian Baloch dissidents in Balochistan, creating for Pakistan enormous diplomatic difficulties with Iran. Even then the two could have realised that both were being taken for a ride by their American masters and their allies. Indeed, had they become their own men even at that juncture and had they given a thought and a chance to cooperative efforts likes the ones the Istanbul statement has talked of, things would have been certainly different in both the countries from what are those now. Regrettably, they did not. Although the baggage of that past is too big to unload too soon, still a big start can be made even now towards a positive bright future of the two countries’ relationship. But for that, Karzai has necessarily to show himself to be a really changed man and the Islamabad establishment a real sovereign in making its decisions uninfluenced by America in its best national interests.

Qari Saifullah Akhtar and Americans’ Plot To Attack Pak Nuke Plant

Freed militant wanted to target Pak nukes

By Amir Mir
LAHORE: Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the al-Qaeda-linked ameer of the Harkatul Jehadul Islami (HUJI), has been freed by the Punjab government under mysterious circumstances despite the fact that he is still wanted in several high-profile cases of terrorism.

His most significant target was to blow up the Chashma Nuclear Power Plant at Kundian, Punjab, by using a group of five Americans who had already been convicted by an anti-terrorism court in June 2010 on terrorism charges.

According to the charge sheet filed by Sargodha Police against the five Americans, who had been detained in Sargodha on December 9, 2009 in a police raid on a house with links to Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), they were in contact with Qari Saifullah Akhtar who had encouraged them to travel to Pakistan all the way from the United States “to wage jehad against those siding with the forces of infidel”. The evidence presented by the prosecution against the American nationals included phone calls, emails, and other documents that linked them to Qari Saifullah Akhtar.

The charge sheet had described the HUJI ameer as a fugitive, adding that he had recruited the five Americans after watching their videos posted on YouTube. Having obtained their email addresses through YouTube postings, Qari Saifullah subsequently encouraged them to travel to Pakistan for the purpose of “waging jehad”. A few weeks later, the group of Americans departed US from the Dulles International Airport and travelled to Karachi, and then Hyderabad, to Lahore, and finally to Sargodha.

Once arrested, their trial was closed to journalists and was heard by a single judge in a special anti-terrorism court. According to the prosecution, one of the men had left an 11-minutes-long video expressing his view that Muslim lands must be defended against the western invaders. According to investigations carried out by the Pakistani authorities, the five Americans from Washington DC had planned to meet a contact close to the Pak-Afghan border between Punjab and the Frontier provinces, and then to proceed to the stronghold of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. During the course of investigations, that contact turned out to be Qari Saifullah Akhtar, whom Ahmed Minni, one of the five Americans, had met on the internet after he had posted remarks praising a video footage on YouTube, showing Taliban-led attacks on the US-led Allied Forces in Afghanistan.

All the five US nationals — Waqar Hussain Khan, Ahmed Minni, Ramy Zamzam, Aman Yemer and Umar Farooq were subsequently charged with five counts of conspiracy to target Pakistani nuclear installations in Chashma, attacking Pakistan Air Force bases in Sargodha and Mianwali, raising funds to carry out terrorist activities, waging war against Pakistan and planning to wage war against a friendly country. On June 24, 2010, Judge Mian Anwar Nazir found them guilty and sentenced them to 10 years imprisonment and fines of $823 each for conspiring against the state and an additional five years for financing a militant organisation.

Interestingly, the day the five Americans were convicted, their militant handler, Qari Saifullah, was declared an absconder despite the fact that he had already been arrested from Rawalpindi by that time and was in the custody of the Pakistani security agencies. Qari Saifullah had to abandon Waziristan after he was wounded in a US drone attack. He subsequently travelled to Peshawar and then to Rawalpindi for treatment before being arrested and taken to Lahore, only to be placed under house arrest in Chishtian tehsil of Punjab in August 2010, before being released in the first week of December.

However, it is not for the first time that Qari Saifullah, believed to be a tool of the intelligence establishment, has eluded prosecution. Though his role in the Karachi suicide attack targeting the welcome procession of Benazir Bhutto could not be explored further due to an apparent lack of interest by the agencies, his previous involvement in a failed coup plot in 1995 had projected him as one of the deadliest militants who, from the establishment’s viewpoint, had gone astray. A total of 40 army officers were arrested by the Military Intelligence (MI), including four serving army officers, headed by Major General Zaheerul Islam Abbasi and Brigadier Mustansar Billa. However, Qari Saifullah was described as the ideologue of the religiously motivated khakis. The arrested army officers were accused of plotting to first take over the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi during the Corps Commanders Conference and overthrow the Benazir government to enforce Khilafat system in Pakistan.

Qari Saifullah was arrested on September 23, 1995 when the Pakistani Customs Intelligence personnel stopped a Brigadier’s staff car, which was leading a cavalcade of several vehicles, including a truck carrying arms and ammunition. Video and audio cassettes of their statements that were to be broadcast on the state run TV and radio after the coup were also discovered. The arrested comprised two groups, the inner group of plotters who attempted to topple the government and the larger group of sympathisers who extended their moral/verbal support and were more or less motivated by their plan to extend complete support to the cause of mujahedeen in Jammu Kashmir. It was further revealed that the plan included plotting to kill Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and some cabinet members including the incumbent President Asif Ali Zardari, who was a federal minister at that time.

The Field General Court Martial (FGCM) was constituted at Attock and was presided by Major General Zahid Hasan amongst four other officers (two Brigadiers and two Colonels including then Brigadier — later Lieutenant General — Javed Alam Khan. The suspects were charged under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952 and Pakistan Penal Code for “conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline”, “conspiring to wage war against Pakistan” and “attempting to seduce any person from his allegiance to the government”.

However, the trial proved quite easy as Qari Saifullah Akhtar decided to become approver against his fellow plotters and acted as a star prosecution witness. There was documentary evidence in the form of the tapes, arms and ammunition and none of the accused really denied the charges either. After investigations were completed, the FGCM started its proceedings on December 31, 1995 and the sentences were announced on October 30, 1996.

The coup plotters were convicted by the FGCM and awarded different sentences ranging from two to 14 years. Qari Saifullah was kept under protective custody for a few months and as soon as the second Bhutto government was dismissed in 1996, he was set free by the agencies; he went to Afghanistan and was inducted into the cabinet of the Taliban ameer, Mulla Omar, as his adviser on political affairs.