Despite five military officers being detained and questioned for their links to the organisation, the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir appears to be free to distribute its propaganda material and promote its events, including at mosques just yards away from the police headquarters in Lahore and prominent locations in the federal capital.
Hizb ut-Tahrir’s objective is to overthrow the current Pakistani government and establish a worldwide caliphate that encompasses all Muslim-majority countries. While the organisation claims to be non-violent, it has often been accused of aiding and abetting acts of terrorism.
On Tuesday, the Pakistan Army confirmed that they had detained Brigadier Ali Khan, who served at the military headquarters in Rawalpindi, for his alleged links to the organisation. On Wednesday, reports emerged of four more military officers being detained for their ties to Hizb ut-Tahrir.
Yet the organisation seems to face no difficulty in disseminating its message to the public through posters, seminars, literature and even rallies. Hizb ut-Tahrir displayed hundreds of banners across the country in order to promote its nationwide “caliphate” rally on November 5, 2010. They have organised protests in front of the Lahore Press Club and even in parts of Islamabad.
Few cases have ever been registered against members of the organisation for participating in the activities of a banned group and the very few that do get reported are rarely ever prosecuted, with most Hizb ut-Tahrir members being released after a few days of detention and questioning.
Among the places that Hizb ut-Tahrir activists have been seen distributing their group’s materials are in front of the Masjid-e-Shuhda on Mall Road, Lahore, just yards away from the Punjab Assembly, the chief minister’s house and the Lahore police headquarters.
Hizb ut-Tahrir activists have been able to regularly distribute their press releases and pictures of the group’s events to virtually all major news organisations in Pakistan.
The group’s website is also still accessible in Pakistan and does not appear to have been blocked by the National Responses Centre of the Federal Investigation Agency.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2011.