One Bullet That Saved 39 LivesOctober 17, 2009
PESHAWAR: Muhammad Aqeel, alias Dr Usman, took dozens of army personnel hostage during an attack on the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi last week because he believed this would force the government to free over a 100 detained militants, interrogation has revealed.
Sources quoting investigators said on Friday that Aqeel was sure the government would release most, if not all, of his comrades after he took almost 40 army personnel hostage. “Once I was successful in taking several personnel hostage, I believed the army would not fight back and the release of my comrades would only be a matter of time. I was also sure that I would receive safe passage to end the hostage situation,” the sole surviving member of the terrorist team who attacked the GHQ has been quoted as informing military investigators. Senior military officials said the real turning point in the attack was when a military sniper killed a militant who was wearing an explosives-laden suicide jacket while sitting amongst all the hostages. “That single gunshot changed the entire scenario,” they said. “The terrorist was taken out with a bullet to the neck, giving him no time to act,” they added. Investigators are still probing the entry points used by the attackers to move closer to the GHQ targets and have started investigating whether the terrorists could have received any “support from inside the GHQ”.