— KARACHI (Reuters) - Five Islamic militants pleaded not guilty
on Saturday to killing 12 people in a car bomb attack on the U.S.
consulate in the Pakistani city of Karachi last June, a defense
The five accused were brought before a special anti-terrorism
court at Karachi's central jail and charged with murder, attempted
murder, terrorism and use of explosives.
All are members of al-Almi, an offshoot of the radical
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen organization, which is accused both of
masterminding the June 14 consulate bombing and conspiring to kill
President Pervez Musharraf.
Three of the five suspects -- Mohammad Imran, Mohammad Hanif and
Mohammad Ashraf -- were put on trial in August but the judge decided
to restart the case when two more were arrested. They are the
alleged ringleader, identified as Shahib Arslan, and Zubair
"All the five accused pleaded not guilty and had told the court
that they are falsely implicated in the case," Abdul Waheed Katpar,
one of the defense lawyers, told reporters outside the Karachi
The hearing was adjourned till April 7, he added.
The car bomb exploded outside the consulate and all the victims
were Pakistanis. At least 20 people were wounded.
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen has long been on a U.S. blacklist of
terrorist organizations and reportedly has links to Muslim
separatists fighting Indian rule in the disputed Kashmir region.
Islamic militant groups have been incensed by Pakistan's decision
to turn its back on the Taliban in Afghanistan and support the
U.S.-led war on terror after the attacks on the United States last
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