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Pakistani Soldier Hanged for Plot to Kill Musharraf

  • Ayaz Gul

Authorities in Pakistan say a soldier convicted of plotting to assassinate President Pervez Musharraf was hanged on Saturday.

Pakistani officials say the soldier, identified as Islam Siddiqui, was executed in the central city of Multan, and his body was handed over to his family.

He was one of several soldiers and Islamic militants Pakistani authorities have detained for taking part in two back-to-back failed attempts to assassinate President Musharraf in December 2003.

Last year, a military court found Mr. Siddiqui guilty of involvement in the attacks, and sentenced him to death. At least 16 people, most of them members of the president's security guard, were killed and several others were injured in one of the attempts. Mr. Musharraf survived on both occasions.

Officials blame the al-Qaida terror network for planning the attacks, with the help of domestic militants and supporters in the Pakistani military and air force.

President Musharraf has become a prime target for Islamic militants since making Pakistan an ally of the United States in its war on terror, following the September 11, 2001, attacks on American cities. Since then, he has escaped at least three known attempts on his life.

The Pakistani president has recently intensified a government crackdown on Islamic seminaries, locally known as Madrassas, across the country that are allegedly involved in promoting religious extremism. The policy is part of efforts to eliminate extremist and terrorist forces. There are more than 12,000 Islamic seminaries, and President Musharraf has ordered all of them to register with the government by December 31, or face closure. He also has ordered foreigners studying in these institutions to leave Pakistan by the end of the year.