The men convicted for their involvement in the 2009 terrorist attacks on the General Headquarters (GHQ) had deserted the army in February, 2006 and had been missing for over three years, according to an investigation report.
On August 11, seven men were convicted by the Field General Court Martial (FGCM) for planning, supporting and executing the attacks, which left 16 people dead on Oct 10, 2009.
According to the charge sheet made available to The Express Tribune, the mastermind behind the attack, Dispenser Aqeel Ahmed, a native of Kahuta, had previously participated in terrorist activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan and had planned the attack on GHQ to ‘avenge’ the killings of terrorists in tribal areas by the army. Ahmed, alias Dr Usman, was arrested on October 11, 2009.
Day of the attack
Ten men dressed in army uniforms entered the GHQ at about 11:15 am on October 10, 2009, after killing the guards on the gate. The attackers were challenged near the Tank Chowk in GHQ, where five of them were killed.
The remaining five terrorists ran towards the directorate of Military Intelligence (MI) in GHQ where they shot dead MI Security Director Brigadier Anwarul Haq. The attackers also killed Lieutenant Colonel Amir Waseem of the MI.
While inside the MI directorate building, the terrorists held hostage some 25 people. Ahmed introduced himself as a member of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Amjad Farooqi Group and a former personal assistant of Lt General Mushtaq Baig in the Military Hospital, Rawalpindi.
Investigators informed the court martial that Ahmed used a hostage’s phone to convey their demands, which included the release of some Jihadis, a trial of former president Pervez Musharraf and the release of Dr Aafia from the US. However, he reduced his demand to the release of some Jihadis. Their names are not mentioned in the investigation report.
Early morning on October 11, the Special Services Group (SSG) of the army carried out an armed operation and managed to kill four of the five attackers. During identification of the hostages, Ahmed under the alias of Dr Usman tried to escape but was recognised by a soldier who had seen him firing at CCTV cameras, and was taken into custody.
A record prepared by army investigators showed that Ahmed, under the alias of Muhammad Kamran, had hired a room on August 20, 2009 and lived there for 19 days. This was where the plan for the attack was assembled.
Five men associated with TTP reportedly contributed to the planning. However, investigators skipped mentioning any TTP leader responsible for planning and executing the attack.
They accused sepoy Imran Saddique and Wajid Mehmood, a civilian, of carrying out the surveillance of the GHQ’s security and entry and exit routes. The two then collaborated with Ahmed, who had a map of the GHQ, on the location of important directorates and offices of the army.
A Suzuki van was used by the terrorists as a means of transport to the GHQ. Ahmed, under Kamran’s name, had bought it for Rs368,000 on September 16, 2009 from a show-room on Murree Road.
On September 6, 2009, Ahmed rented a house in Dhoke Awan Dakhli Humak, from where the Islamabad police recovered army uniforms and arms following the GHQ attack. Police officers, who had visited the house as part of investigations, described seeing writings against the army on the walls.
A list of weapons recovered from the terrorists included nine rifles, one rocket launcher, 16 empty magazines, 28 loaded magazines, four ammunition pouches, two fly liver grenades, six mine AP Claymore, six rockets, six expelling charges, eight hand grenades, eight detonators and 19 grenades 40mm of Gp-25.
In February of last year, the ISI apprehended Khaleequr Rehman and Muhammad Usman from Lahore, recovering weapons from their possession. During interrogation, Usman revealed that he transported the weapons from Jhang to Rawalpindi in a CNG cylinder kit of a car with the help of Tahir Shafique and delivered them to Ahmed.
Another accused, Wajid Hussain, a civilian who was arrested in connection with the attack, confirmed that Ahmed was the mastermind who was assisted by Imran, Adnan and Tahir. The court martial issued a death sentence for Ahmed; life imprisonment for Imran, Khaleeq, Usman, Wajid and 10 years imprisonment for Adnan and Tahir.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th, 2011.