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Pakistani court convicts attackers of army headquarters

A Pakistani military court has sentenced a retired soldier to death for his role in a 2009 militant attack on the army's headquarters, officials said on Saturday, an assault that caused huge embarrassment to the military.

world Updated: Aug 13, 2011 17:25 IST

A Pakistani military court has sentenced a retired soldier to death for his role in a 2009 militant attack on the army's headquarters, officials said on Saturday, an assault that caused huge embarrassment to the military.

Six others were given various sentences, including life, after the court martial that ended on Aug. 11, the military officials said.

In October 2009, a small group of militants attacked the army's General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, taking 42 people hostage, including several officers. By the end of the day-long siege, nine gunmen, 11 soldiers and three hostages were dead.

"The death sentence has been given to an ex-military personnel because he was the main culprit and the ring leader, and the sole survivor of the attack," a senior military official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The convicted retired soldier, identified by a single name as Usman, belonged to the army medical corp.
Pakistan has faced a wave of assaults over the last few years, many of them claimed by the Pakistani Taliban and other al Qaeda linked militant groups.

The 2009 attack on the tightly guarded army headquarters was a major embarrassment for the military, which has come under renewed pressure after a similar raid on a naval air base in the southern city of Karachi in May that killed 10 security officials.

Three senior Pakistan Navy officers are facing court martial in connection with the attack on the naval base.

The militants' infiltration into the Mehran base raised fresh concerns about the military's ability to protect its bases, and was a further embarrassment after a covert U.S. raid killed Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani town on May 2.

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