A retired brigadier accused of having links with banned outfit Hizbut Tahrir (HT) and planning attacks on the military general headquarters (GHQ) has moved a petition before the Lahore High Court (LHC), saying the court martial proceedings against him be declared illegal.
Justice Ijaz Ahmed of Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench on Monday directed the defence secretary to respond to the petition filed by Brigadier Ali Khan, son of a retired army Subedar, by February 29.
The petitioner, through his lawyer Colonel (retd) Inam ur Raheem, prayed to the court to declare the field general court martial (FGCM) proceedings unlawful and to direct military authorities to shift him back to Rawalpindi from Sialkot. He informed the court that he is due there for cardiac treatment, and pleaded not to be kept in solitary confinement and be allowed to see his attorney.
Speaking against the proceedings, Brigadier Ali said he was being maligned after he asked military officials to fix responsibility for the May 2 American incursion in Abbotabad and keep a check on perks enjoyed by certain officers.
“It was on May 5 that I urged the military’s top ranking officials to hold responsible officers. I suggested that the army leadership should surrender its perks to achieve self-reliance. After the conference I was arrested and kept in solitary confinement,” the petitioner said.
After his arrest, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) issued a press release saying Brig Ali had been arrested for having links with HT. The petitioner said that the army later also charged him with planning to neutralise its top leadership in an attempt to create disturbances and to carry out an air attack, using F-16 planes, on the GHQ. Ali has vehemently denied all the charges.
Referring to the rules governing the Pakistan Army Act, Ali said a retired army man can only be tried within six months of his superannuation, and that he had retired last April.
Ali said he was a chronic heart patient and that an angiography was carried out recently.
On the other hand, the investigation officer of the case Major Khawaja Kashif Saleem, in his statement before the trial court, alleged that the accused was introduced to HT activist Rizwan by Major Jawad Basheer in August 2008 in Islamabad. The investigator further alleged that HT members tried to neutralise the senior political and military leadership, including the president, prime minister, chief of army staff and the formation of the commanders’ conference through Brig Ali.
During the investigation, Major Sohail Akbar revealed that in July 2010 he was introduced to Ali Khan by Rizwan. In the meeting, Ali disclosed his plan, saying that 300 to 400 officers were required to take over either the GHQ or the Presidential Palace. Akbar alleged that Ali was ready to lead the team.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2012.