United States prosecutors in Guantanamo war crimes tribunal on Wednesday filed charges against a Pakistani national alleged to have plotted with Al Qaeda to attack US targets and assassinate former president Pervez Musharraf.
The US Defence Department alleges that Majid Shaukat Khan, 31, reported directly to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the September 11 attacks, and had worn an explosive vest to blow himself up in a mosque in an attempt to kill Musharraf.
Khan, a Pakistani with legal US residence, moved with his family to the Baltimore area in 1996. He worked for a while at his family’s gas station before travelling to Pakistan in 2002 to attend a series of family weddings and look for a wife.
Some of the major charges against Khan are that he, at Sheikh’s direction, recorded a ‘martyr video,’ donned an explosive vest, and sat in a mosque waiting for Musharraf to arrive so that Khan could assassinate him, an attempt that was foiled when Musharraf never arrived; conspired with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed regarding a plot to blow up underground gasoline storage tanks at gas stations in the United States and other domestic plots; traveled with his wife in December 2002 from Pakistan to Bangkok where he delivered $50,000 in al Qaeda funds to a southeast Asia-based affiliate, which in turn delivered the money to the allied terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, which used the funding to detonate a bomb in August of 2003 at the J W Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, killing eleven people.
Based on these allegations and others outlined in the charge sheet, Khan is charged with conspiracy, murder and attempted murder in violation of the law of war, providing material support for terrorism, and spying.
With additional input from Reuters
Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2012.