Hizbut Tahrir (HuT) has come to the defence of Brigadier Ali Khan and four other military officers who are currently being court-martialled due to their alleged ties to the banned militant outfit. Describing Brig Khan as one of the most capable officers in the army, HuT has bitterly criticised the establishment over its decision to try him in a military court.
Brig Khan was arrested in May last year. A day later four army majors were also arrested for alleged links with HuT. Sources say the military trial is currently in process; Brig Khan is also accused of attempted mutiny.
In an SMS and also through a statement on its website, HuT, which was banned in Pakistan in 2004, expressed its disappointment over the trial decision.
Highlighting what it called Brig Khan’s “illustrious military career,” the statement said that he is “an officer of humble origins from Punjab province who had a distinguished thirty-two year military career and was a gold medalist.”
“Army officers who had served with Brigadier Ali Khan stated that he had been exerting influence on the military leadership to stop the alliance with America in its crusade against the Muslims of the tribal areas and Afghanistan,” the statement added.
Matters came to a head when Brig Khan openly challenged the then Chief of Army Staff, General Pervez Musharraf, in the military’s prestigious Quetta Staff College as to why Musharraf did not make public the details of the alliance agreement with the US.
He further demanded a clear definition of the ‘limits’ of the alliance with the US. Gen Musharraf presided personally over the promotion board a few weeks later and denied Brig Khan’s expected promotion to Major General.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2012.