Gunmen shoot at Pakistani President Musharraf's plane

Friday, July 6, 2007

Map of Pakistan showing Rawalpindi (near Islamabad).

During a flight Friday from Chaklala Airbase in Rawalpindi, Pakistan to Balochistan province, President Pervez Musharraf's plane was shot at from a rooftop near the flight path. Musharraf was flying to Balochistan province to observe the effects of recent flooding in the area.

The Pakistani government has officially denied the plane came under fire, but a Paksitani intelligence officer indicated, off the record, that an attempt of Mushaffaf's life had occurred. Musharraf's plane arrived safely at its destination. However, sources say that Intelligence agencies in Pakistan are investigating into possible connection between attack on the plane and the siege of Lal Masjid.

Police have cordoned off a house in Rawalpindi to investigate the incident. Reuters news agency had a photographer in the area at the time, and reported seeing two guns on the roof of the house, one of them an anti-aircraft gun, which had been mounted on the roof. The other gun was reported to be a machinegun. Deputy Inspector General of police Marwat Ali Shah confirmed that an anti-aircraft gun, a machine gun and ammunition had been recovered from the home.

Local residents reported hearing the sound of gunfire. "Everyone heard a firing sound," Ishaq Ahmed told BBC News. "The firing sound was like a bomb blast. It was that kind of sound." Some witnesses claimed that they saw a person along with a woman and two kids escaping on a motorbike after the incident.

General Musharraf has survived two previous attempts on his life, carried out on December 14, 2003 by al-Qaeda-linked militants. There is no indication or claim of responsibility, as yet, as to who carried out the latest attack.