The Blog

Jailed Al Qaeda Leader Behind Musharraf Death Plot

11:56 AM, Dec 18, 2008 • By BILL ROGGIO
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Pakistani security officials have uncovered a plot to murder former President Pervez Musharraf. The plot was organized from a Pakistani jail in Hyderabad, and was led by none of than senior al Qaeda leader Omar Saeed Sheikh, The News reported.

Omar contracted out a local Pakistani terror group known as the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Security officials traced phone calls back to Omar and found communications equipment in his cell, and found records of communications with a senior Lashkar-e-Jhangvi operative who is serving time at another prison. The plan was to ambush Musharraf's convoy," preferably by using a suicide car bomber," as he traveled between his home in Rawalpindi and his farmhouse outside of Islamabad. Al Qaeda uses local Pakistani groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi as "muscle" to carry out operations.

Omar Saeed Sheikh has a long pedigree in al Qaeda and various Pakistan-based terror groups. He is best known for the brutal murder and beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Omar was involved in funding the September 11 attacks; he wired more than $100,000 to Mohammed Atta, the tactical commander of the September 11 attacks. Atta then sent money not used in the operation back to Omar.

Omar also is a close associate of Maulana Masood Azhar, the leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group. Omar and Aktar were freed from Indian custody in 1999 after terrorists hijacked an Indian Airline flight and forced it to land in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He also has close links to the Kashmiri terror group Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, the Taliban, and of course Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence agency. After the murder of Pearl, Omar is said to have turned himself in to his ISI handler. It is believed Omar's death sentence has not been carried out because of his connections with the ISI.

The good news here is that Pakistani security officials uncovered the plot and suspended police officials for negligence. The bad news is that high-value detainees can so easily plot the murder of senior Pakistani politicians from jail.