Information Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmad on Saturday the targets of the planned attacks included the military residence of President Pervez Musharraf, the US embassy and the office of the chief minister of Punjab province.

Interior Minister Faisal Salih Hayat said the two Egyptians, Qari Ismail and Shaikh Isa, were suspected of being "key elements" of the group.

Hayat said eight to 10 people had been arrested and the plots bore the hallmarks of Usama bin-Ladin's al-Qaida network.

"We have obtained valuable information from the foreigners…we have unearthed a big and sinister plan," he said.

Targets

"The most dangerous aspect was their targets included army headquarters, the parliament building, the prime minister's house and important people," he said. "This kind of terrorism can only be done by terrorists like al-Qaida".

Aljazeera's Pakistan correspondent said five of the arrested men were Pakistani nationals.

Hayat named two of the Pakistanis arrested as Javed Ibrahim Piracha and Faruq Usman.

The arrests follow a crackdown since the detention in Pakistan last month of an al-Qaida computer expert, Muhammad Naaim Nur Khan, who has proved a key source of information on operatives inside the organization.

Khan's arrest has led to the detention of more than 60 ''terror-suspects'' in Pakistan.