Junior Pakistani army and air force officers were involved in two attempts to kill President Pervez Musharraf in December 2003, he said in an interview on Thursday.
“There are some people at junior level, people in uniform, air force and army,” who have been arrested in connection with the December attacks, General Musharraf told local Geo Television.
However the mastermind of the attack, a “very clever” Pakistani, was still on the run.
“That man is still at large. We will get him, as we know exactly who he is,” Musharraf said, refusing to name the suspected mastermind.
‘We know exactly who he is’ “He’s a Pakistani, he’s very much a Pakistani, he’s very clever, but we’ll get him.”
Musharraf narrowly survived two assassination attempts on December 14 and Christmas Day as his motorcade travelled near his official army residence in Rawalpindi, next to the capital Islamabad.
In the first attempt attackers blew up a bridge seconds after his car passed over it. On Christmas Day two suicide bombers rammed two explosives-filled trucks into his passing motorcade, killing 15 people and injuring 46.
Musharraf has previously accused the al-Qaeda network of masterminding the assassination plots.
Those already detained will soon be put on trial, he added.
“It will be under a military court and the whole nation will see it,” he said, without giving a date.
Attackers were motivated by religion and money, he said.
“Some are not even religious motivation, some are for money,” he told the channel.
An earlier attempt to kill Musharraf in April 2002 proved ineffective when a detonator failed to explode a car bomb on a highway used by his motorcade as he travelled from Karachi airport into the city.
Four Islamic militants were convicted and jailed last year over the botched plot. They belonged to the hardcore network Harkatul Mujahedin al-Alaami, who were also linked to a suicide car bomb attack outside the United States consulate two months later, killing 12 Pakistanis, and Wednesday’s double car bomb attack near the Consul General’s residence.
One police officer was killed and 32 people were injured in Wednesday’ attack.
Musharraf was “200 percent sure” that no senior officers were involved in the plots.
The army chief-cum-president has enraged Islamists in Pakistan by supporting the US-led ouster of Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers and helping crack down on the al-Qaeda network by arresting over 500 suspected members since late 2001.