Mystery shrouds the explosive-laden vehicle recovered near the farmhouse of former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf as the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) leadership calls the bid “part of a plan to pressurise the authorities to shift Musharraf from his farmhouse to Adiala Jail” on the pretext that the sub-jail was not safe for the former president.
Aasia Ishaq, APML information secretary, told Pakistan Today that Musharraf thinks it impossible for terrorists to park a vehicle near his farmhouse where security checkposts had been placed very near to each other.
“Anyone who has recently visited the farmhouse knows that there is a security check at ever 10 metres. How come terrorists crossed all the checks and brought the vehicle near the farmhouse? And if, hypothetically speaking, they did manage to cross all the checkposts, why did the terrorists or suicide bombers left the vehicle there without accomplishing their task, that too after taking such a huge risk?” she argued.
Aasia said those behind the move wanted General Musharraf or the authorities to think that he was unsafe in his farmhouse and should be shifted to the jail, where the terrorists might target him.
“I know General Musharraf. If he faces a life threat, he would prefer to die alone in his farmhouse and he would not jeopardise the lives of hundreds of other inmates,” she added.
Asked who she thought could be behind the move, Aasia said the motive was political.
“Only a day before the vehicle was recovered, PML-N leader Senator Mushahidullah Khan had claimed during a talk show that Musharraf was not safe in his farmhouse. We see the recovery of the vehicle in the same backdrop,” she added.
The federal police claimed recovery of an explosive-laden vehicle parked a few hundred metres from the farmhouse, which has been declared a sub-jail for the former president. Reportedly, over 45 kilogrammes of explosive material was later defused by the bomb disposal squad.
“This quantity of explosives is enough to damage an area of over half-a-kilometre,” an expert said when asked for his comments how lethal the explosive could have been.
Interestingly, the federal police officials had claimed that around 10:30am the employees of the CDA nursery noticed a white-coloured vehicle, bearing the registration number QM-749-ICT, parked unclaimed some 400 metres from the farmhouse. They informed the police, who came and drove the vehicle to the Shehzad Town Police Station. However, it took them around six hours to find out some extra wires attached to the vehicle had explosives.
The police personnel on duty called the bomb disposal squad to defuse the explosives, sources in the police said.
An expert, who was part of the BDS, said over 45 kilogrammes of highly explosive material was skillfully packed in the engine of the car, all of its four doors and the boot, adding that the wires had been attached to a central point fixed under the steering wheel.
The BDS recovered a remote controlled device, two fuses and two timers, the sources said. The expert said the car could be blown up with a remote control. The sources said the number plate of the explosive laden vehicle was fake.
Brig Mahmood Shah, a renowned expert on terrorism issues, told Pakistan Today that General Musharraf was one of the prime targets of al Qaeda and the Taliban.
“They can’t hit top US leaders like President [Barack] Obama or the US secretary of defence… targeting Musharraf would be easier and would not be a lesser achievement for them. So the former COAS is under severe threat from al Qaedarelated outfits,” he added.
To a question on why the Taliban would have used 50 kilogrammmes of explosives in an assassination bid of the former president, Brig Shah said the might do so to test the general’s security cover.
“They have targeted him several times in the past and would do it again,” he added.
Asked what would be the focus of the terrorists’ planning, Brig Shah said in cases where reaching the target was difficult, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were used through a remote control.
“Let me tell you, they will hit again and this time around, their attack would be serious and deadly as they have already tested the waters,” he added.