A court in Sargodha has charged five Americans with planning terrorist attacks in the country clearing the deck for their trial indicating it is likely they will not be deported to the United States anytime soon.

In addition to plotting attacks in Afghanistan, the five young Americans – all Muslims from the Washington, D.C., area – were accused of planning assaults on a Pakistani nuclear power plant and Pakistani Air Force bases in Sargodha and the central city of Mianwali, Mr. Katchela, the defense lawyer, told reporters.

Defense lawyer Hasan Dastagir said the five young men were also charged Wednesday with planning to wage war against countries that are in alliance with Pakistan.

Dastagir said his clients pleaded not guilty to all the five charges against them.
These young Americans could face life in prison if convicted on all charges. They are friends from Virginia, who are in their late teens and early 20s. Their detention in Pakistan added to fears that Westerners might be increasingly be turning to Islamist-inspired terrorism.

The five are Ramy ZamZam, a dental student of Egyptian descent at Howard University; Ahmed Abdullah Minni, a native of Eritrea; Umar Farooq;Waqar Khan, and Aman Hassan Yemer, originally from Ethiopia.

The five Americans were charged by a court in the city in Punjab province where they were arrested in December.

Their lawyer said they were heading to Afghanistan and had no plans to stage attacks inside Pakistan.