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Two Soldiers Convicted in Musharraf Assassination Attempts

A military court in Pakistan has convicted two soldiers for their involvement in assassination attempts on President Pervez Musharraf.

Military officials say one of the soldiers was given the death penalty while the other was sentenced to 10 years in jail.

President Pervez Musharraf survived two assassination attempts in December last year in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, near the Pakistani capital.

The attacks were blamed on extremist Islamic forces in the country that are angry at Mr. Musharraf's support for the U.S.-led war on terrorism.

Officials say four other junior army officers and six air force personnel are also being tried for their role in the assassination attempts.

The convictions were handed down a few days ago but only announced Friday. Speaking to VOA, Army spokesman Major-General Shaukat Sultan said the government acted as quickly as circumstances allowed. "This trial began immediately after the apprehension of these people. In fact, first the cases were investigated. After the investigations were completed and then the trials began," he said.

Pakistani officials say they are holding a number of Islamic militants on suspicion of their links with those who masterminded and executed the attacks on President Musharraf.

Authorities are also looking for a Libyan-born operative of the al-Qaida terror network, identified as Abu Faraj al-Libbi, who allegedly planned the two attempts on the life of the Pakistani president.

Mr. Musharraf dismisses concerns there is widespread resentment within the army against his anti-terror policies.