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– ISLAMABAD A.Q CELL

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On 08/13/2004, the Pakistani Interior Minister, Faisal Saleh Hayat, said authorities have arrested 10 Al Qaeda suspects, including 2 Egyptians, suspected of planning suicide attacks against government buildings and the USA embassy. “We have unearthed a big and sinister plan,” he added.

On 08/22/2004, Information Minister, Sheik Rashid Ahmed, said the targets included a residence of President Pervez Musharraf, the office of the chief minister of Punjab province, the national convention center and the USA embassy. The targets are located in the capital, Islamabad, or its adjoining city, Rawalpindi. 6 people, with rockets, grenades, rifles and explosives in their possession, had been arrested in the week or so before the planned attacks on 08/13/2004, the eve of Pakistani Independence Day. 4 more suspects were arrested on 08/15/2004.

The 2 Egyptians Qari Ismail and Sheik Essa, were suspected of being “key elements” of the group, who masterminded the attacks. They were linked, through a Pakistani suspect, Farooq Usman, to the brothers Mualana Abdul Aziz Ghazi and Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the main coordinator of the plot, who ran the Lal Mosque in Islamabad. The Ghazi brothers managed to escape few days after their arrest, on 08/17/2004, and found refuge in the Lal Mosque compound. 

Another Pakistani suspect was the former Punjabi PM Javed Ibrahim Paracha, a lawyer known for his firm support to the Taliban in Afghanistan. He provided legal and judicial assistance to many Al Qaeda and Taliban detainees in Pakistan and raised money for Islamic militants who fought USA in Afghanistan. Javed Ibrahim Paracha competed in the 2002 election for PML-N (Nawaz Sharif’s party) but was also supported by Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP), an extreme anti Shiite group in Punjab. Javed Ibrahim Paracha was arrested, probably on 08/11/2004.

Two relatives of Javed Ibrahim Paracha: Saifullah Paracha and his son Azizullah Uzair Paracha were arrested, on 08/24/2003, by the FBI in USA on the evidence provided by Al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheikh Muhammad. They were accused of using their USA accounts for money transfers for Al Qaeda apart from actually facilitating the entry of Al Qaeda terrorists into the United States.

 

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