No one at Szabist knew of Owais Raheel’s ideas

Published: October 8, 2015
 Owais Raheel

Owais Raheel

KARACHI: Religion appeared to be an integral part of the lecturer’s life but for his students to believe that he belonged to a banned outfit and preached anti-state ideology to young people was difficult.

On Wednesday afternoon things were as usual at Szabist, whose faculty member, Owais Raheel, has been arrested in connection with having links with the banned Hizbut Tahrir (HT). According to the institution, he was suspended last month after failing to show up for his classes.

But those who knew Raheel and were taught by him were in for a shock. “We had no idea that he was from the HT. He always denounced radicalism and was against violence,” said a student.

Raheel taught probability and statistical inference and operations management to BBA students at Szabist, where he had joined a year ago. A highly qualified man, Raheel is an engineer with a BE degree from NED University and an MBA degree from the Institute of Business Administration.

According to Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) incharge Mazhar Mashwani, Owais Raheel was detained from Nihari-Inn, Boat Basin, at 2pm on Tuesday. “He is involved in anti-state activities,” Mashwani said, adding that the investigation is underway. “We have to find out if he is involved in any terrorist activities.” The CTD official said that they found numerous pamphlets and literature of the banned outfit, which he would distribute outside mosques in the Defence Housing Authority and Clifton. But he refrained from doing so in his classrooms and within the university premises. They believe he joined the organisation in 2007. His role in the organisation was to distribute pamphlets in mosques situated in Clifton and DHA.

“He belongs to an educated family,” Mashwani said, adding that his friends and colleagues will also be investigated. Raheel was also attached with another private organisation, the police official said.

“He is involved in brain-washing activities,” Mashwani said, adding that it has not been confirmed as yet whether Raheel was involved in terrorist activities.  Three of his students, who did not want to be named, called him a gentle and helpful man, having full command not only of his subject but of other matters as well.

“I once went to him to get my concepts cleared on another supply chain course and he was so helpful. I really liked him as a teacher,” said a student.

Religion in class

At the end of some of his sessions, students say that he would spend five to ten minutes talking about religion, what Islam is and how it has evolved. However, they insist that he never tried to impose his religious views or force them to follow his ideology. “He never offended anyone with his views, even people of other faiths,” said a student. This is all the experience students had with Raheel’s religious inclinations.


Szabist’s senior administration manager Khurram Mumtaz told The Express Tribune that Raheel was suspended last month after he failed to attend his classes, giving no reason for his absence. “It is shocking for us to hear that he was arrested. This is the first incident that has occurred to one of our lecturers,” he said.

Mumtaz said that at Szabist they do conduct background investigations before hiring faculty members but for an institution to discover an individual’s affiliations especially with banned outfits, is difficult. Students said that they tried to contact  Raheel when he failed to come for classes, but his phone was off. “The administration didn’t tell us why he wasn’t coming. He was just replaced by another teacher,” said one student, saying that Raheel last taught a class as Szabist three weeks ago.

On Wednesday, the CTD personnel produced the suspect in the chamber of ATC-III judge Saleem Raza Baloch. The investigation officer said they received credible information on Raheel’s involvement in terrorism related activities, which came within the ambit of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997. He has been placed under preventive detention for three months under Section 11EEEE (1) for interrogation.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 8th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (66)

  • Khadija
    Oct 8, 2015 - 10:55AM

    So basically the man has nothing to do with terrorism and is being prosecuted for believing in Ideas . That’s make him a prisoner of conscious really. Reminds one of Dark days of Zia’s era where people were silenced through use of force. Recommend

  • Mullah Nasruddin of Delhi
    Oct 8, 2015 - 11:14AM

    Plot twist and he will be released soon, because HT is not supported by regular scholars.Recommend

  • Usmani
    Oct 8, 2015 - 11:28AM

    Good. Most extremist will turn into foxes, waiting for their chance to pounce. It’s important to arrest them. Recommend

  • Ahmad
    Oct 8, 2015 - 11:52AM

    So he wasn’t a terrorist, didn’t believe in violence, was highly educated and was against this prevailing flawed system and was striving for an alternative that he thought is the right solution to current mess. This is all his crime was? If yes, we should stop stereotyping – a better idea would be to further read/understand the ideology he believed in, it might turn out to be different than our biased imaginations.Recommend

  • Abdullah
    Oct 8, 2015 - 11:58AM



  • Vap
    Oct 8, 2015 - 12:09PM

    @Khadija: What a conclusion madam. Do you have any idea about HUT, You have forgotten Brig Ali and his ilk. HUT poses a potential threat to Pakistani State, its good that CTD apprehended him before he could do damage. Recommend

  • Shah(Berlin)
    Oct 8, 2015 - 12:14PM


    he did not believe but was a part of HT….So I guess we have seen enough Dark days in the past 8 years …or were they not dark enough for you…?!?!?!Recommend

  • Meheryar Sheikh
    Oct 8, 2015 - 12:20PM


    Did you actually read the article?

    ‘The CTD official said that they found numerous pamphlets and literature of the banned outfit, which he would distribute outside mosques in the Defence Housing Authority and Clifton. ‘Recommend

  • ihsan
    Oct 8, 2015 - 12:23PM

    this is a country where non-violent organizations are banned because they believe in certain idea. but organizations like MQM, PPP, PML-N are incharge. rest you can imagine…Recommend

  • Abdullah
    Oct 8, 2015 - 12:33PM

    I dont have idea about Ali khan association of HT but what i know is not a single charge has been proved on him and some article in recent days also shows that Ali khan arrested due to his political views against US presence & involvement in Pak.
    So should arrest everyone might be they harm one day.Recommend

  • Waqas
    Oct 8, 2015 - 12:39PM

    @Meheryar Sheikh:
    Sir what is the meaning of banned? pamphlets & literature containing what??Recommend

  • Ansari
    Oct 8, 2015 - 1:39PM

    So, basically this guy was arrested because he doesn’t believe in Democracy and have another idea (i.e. Khilafah) as a ruling system, how this goes in for Terrorism by the way?Recommend

  • Ansari
    Oct 8, 2015 - 1:41PM

    Will CTD elaborate about contents of that literature they confiscated, lets see how much danger a piece of paper can pose to security of state ..Recommend

  • Mubashir
    Oct 8, 2015 - 1:43PM

    Yesterday private news channel program (shahzaib khanzada k sath) reported that arrested professor change the mind of their student and use them in his cause but above student statement doesn’t shows anything like that.Recommend

  • shahid
    Oct 8, 2015 - 2:15PM

    so he was arrested for having a different ideas. why not regime invite them to a TV show to intellectually engage them if they think they are on right path ?Recommend

  • shahzad
    Oct 8, 2015 - 2:47PM

    It was not ONLY his views but HIS INVOLVEMENT in propagating the agenda of HT.
    Go through the news again.Recommend

  • Bilal
    Oct 8, 2015 - 4:30PM

    Okay, so basically even if he was distributing literature (pamphlets etc), he has been arrested? Most of you reading this are educated, so stop and think for a second. Do pieces of paper that are being distributed so great a crime as to arrest someone? What about the thugs that roam around freely in this country? I salute people like him to stand up and oppose the current oppressive system that only benefits the rich. Makes me curious as to what Hizbtahrir ideas are Recommend

  • FatemaK
    Oct 8, 2015 - 4:35PM

    @shahzad Okay, so what exactly do you mean by INVOLVEMENT in HT? please all of you, google HT, read about it and then decide whether it is a crime to believe in ideas related to Islam. It is very clear that it is not a terrorist organization. HT does not believe in using arms or nay terrorism for that matter. The only views that they have are that the Caliphate is a good political system. Now if you’re pro democracy and i am pro communism, will you report me or should the police come and arrest me? Moreover, people, wake up and see why the organization was banned, It was banned because it spoke honest truths that noone dared to speak. It spoke against Pakistan’s involvement in the war of terror in Musharraf’s time. There is so much available online, see for yourself and dont jump to conclusions. These learned men are not stupid to become involved in these ideas etc, they merely believe they are playing their part by making people socially aware about the actual terrorists that roam around freely Recommend

  • random
    Oct 8, 2015 - 4:44PM

    @Vap Ummmm, how exactly are they posing as a threat to the state? And if they are, then lets all try to figure out how and why they are seen as a threat. It is definitely because they speak out against injustice of the state. why would educated people ‘waste’ away their time being involved in such things? its because they know they are doing the right thing for standing up for us Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Oct 8, 2015 - 4:46PM

    Do people speaking in his defense even know what HT is all about? It is one thing to openly support and fight for a different political system, whether it is socialism or khilafah. Entirely another to silently spread and plan the overthrow of the current government through dubious and possibly violent means.
    We have suffered through enough experiments. About time we give stability a chance and fix/improve whatever system we currently have.Recommend

  • random
    Oct 8, 2015 - 5:12PM

    @Ahmed One thing for sure, we do know about HT, and they are not secretly trying to overthrow the govt, they make it very clear that they are exposing the government,and they declare many times that they do not use any violent means. These educated people are giving out pamphlets, not teaching people how to use guns!! For God’s sake, open your eyes and see what HT truly is. This system cannot be stabilized while big robbers and liars are n control. Recommend

  • calculus student
    Oct 8, 2015 - 5:15PM

    OWAIS RAHEEL was my calculus teacher, an amazing teacher. He was such a nice man, I cannot put into words. Yes, he had knowledge about history and his intelligence and power of speech was more than words can explain. He is not a terrorist and the media just wants to create hype about things that they do not know of!!!! I hope he gets released soon Recommend

  • ibrahim
    Oct 8, 2015 - 5:30PM

    He was an amazing teacher and he NEVER forced us for anything, or propogated terrorist views. Stop with this crap!! he didnt tell his students anything like that. Shahzeb Khanzada on his show said that he used to tell his students things too, he never did that Recommend

  • operations student
    Oct 8, 2015 - 6:25PM

    He is a good teacher with knowledge in depth related to his course as well to Islamic views but he never tried to impose such things on his students ever.. moreover the CTD team should handle it intellectually and the media should stop creating hype without any information whether he is involved or not.Recommend

  • Zaki
    Oct 8, 2015 - 6:31PM

    The need of the hour is to keep going like this… Izhaar ki Azadi has already brought so much evil to this country rather than good. Recommend

  • waqas
    Oct 8, 2015 - 8:50PM

    I am a muslim. trying to practice islam and its fundamentals. Arrest me. Recommend

  • I am a Khan
    Oct 8, 2015 - 8:51PM

    is there any proof that he was part of HUT? this looks like a case of the corrupt CTD settling personal scores with him and arresting him without any solid evidence. shameful agencies…Recommend

  • Tariq
    Oct 8, 2015 - 8:53PM

    Indeed for a corrupt and subserviant government, honest people are threat. Now its our chioce either to be corrupt or honest!!!!!Recommend

  • Abdullah
    Oct 8, 2015 - 9:28PM

    Pakistani government why don’t you arrest all the Pakistani population since most of them want Khilafah system. Let this country to be ruled by Paindoos, thugs, Criminals, Liars, looters, cheaters who roam on streets with no shame showing guns and guards to protect their crimes. The nation deserve these corrupt thugs and dakoos to rule them who has no remorse on the arrest of such fellows… only arrested because of their views! Wow on champions of democracy! Recommend

  • A Student
    Oct 8, 2015 - 11:49PM

    never felt any brainwashing in his words. He was a frank, connected & a helpful teacher. I remember few of his arguments on existence of God which were very convincing and he used to discuss his views openly which were logical and not forceful… Can’t digest this news Recommend

  • ejaz
    Oct 9, 2015 - 1:00AM

    we live in a state where believing in some ideology is a crime..
    we live in a country where preaching about islam is actually a SInRecommend

  • ejaz
    Oct 9, 2015 - 1:36AM

    Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “There will come a time of patience upon people wherein one adhering to his religion will be as if he were grasping a hot coal.”

    Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2260Recommend

  • ehtisham
    Oct 9, 2015 - 2:39AM

    I posted some comments and they were not published, why?Recommend

  • (Student at SZABIST)
    Oct 9, 2015 - 3:07AM

    He is by no way a fanatic or extremist. He always respected and appreciated opinions of other and believed in the diversity of God’s creation. May he get the justice!Recommend

  • Travis
    Oct 9, 2015 - 6:02AM

    Many educated Muslims have turned into Islamic radicals. Lack of education is not the only issue. The ideology needs reform.Recommend

  • Student szab
    Oct 9, 2015 - 7:39AM

    Take a moment to share this page that we have created to tell the truth of our beloved teacher

    Oct 9, 2015 - 7:51AM

    If Owais Raheel has charges to change the minds of students towards terrorism etc, why cant his students come on media and tell the public and government officials what is right and what is wrong???

    Now a days every TV channel is running behind these types of news and they will definitely give coverage to student feed back.

    At least with the students spoken truth if Owais Raheel is innocent, Government officials can put unnecessary charges on himRecommend

  • shocked
    Oct 9, 2015 - 8:00AM

    I found this on Free OWAIS Raheel’s page :

    Please take a moment to read

    On Friday 11/09/15, my husband went for jumma prayer to Masjid e Ibrahim, Defence, everything was according to the routine. Suddenly two men in plain clothes and one uniformed policeman appeared and picked him up in the mobile from the masjid. The passers by at the masjid witnessed the incident. The same day we went to Gizri Police Station as Masjid e Ibrahim falls under their jurisdiction to ask about my husband, but they refused any such information. I also lodged a complain at 15 the same night, then the next day i sent applications to security agencies and went to Gizri Police Station to lodge FIR.

    After a long argument, they just wrote a report on a simple paper. On 18/01/15, we filed a petition for missing person in High Court against the agencies. 10 to 12 days after the petition, Gizri Police wrote FIR. The next hearing in High Court was held on 8/10/15. Just exactly two days before the hearing ie 6/10/15 Tuesday, the news appeared on TV channels that ” Owais Raheel, a highly qualified man arrested today for some doubtful actions and so on….”.

    They themselves knew that they had arrested Owais for no reason thats y one after the other they created fake stories, accused him of false allegations and created such a hype, just to prove themselves clear. Owais was presented in ATC, but they did not even let us meet him, they took him in Police mobile in front of us as if they are taking a criminal.

    Its not just about my husband, we dont even know how many innocent people are targeted like this, how many ended up in prison for no crime, how many were tortured just because they raise their voices for Islam. Many are still suffering under NATIONAL ACTION PLAN just because they spoke about the implementation of Islam. They will be accountable before Allah for their unjust decisions and they cannot stop the spreading and implementation of Islam.

    Wife of Owais RaheelRecommend

  • anti-Travis
    Oct 9, 2015 - 8:56AM

    “The ideology needs reform”? Ehh…Recommend

  • Naveed
    Oct 9, 2015 - 9:15AM

    Make an unforgettable example of him.Recommend

  • AQ.M
    Oct 9, 2015 - 11:46AM

    These so-called law enforcing agencies are fulfilling the sinful agenda of US influenced Govt.
    This is definitely because he speak out against injustice of the state.Recommend

  • Awan
    Oct 9, 2015 - 12:18PM

    The government shows that it wants to maintain the status quo by arresting this young professor. Despite the esteemed status he enjoys, this educated young man is working in his spare time to improve the things in a peaceful intellectual way.What better can we ask from somebody his age and status?

    The news shows that he is more sincere to Pakistan than the government itself. He makes us proud and assures that Pakistan’s youth will let it fallRecommend

  • Ravian
    Oct 9, 2015 - 12:49PM

    @Khadija: Zia’s days were bad but people did not disappear during his times. Some people were lashed and put behind the bars. However, it was mush who started killing and torturing people. Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Oct 9, 2015 - 12:56PM

    What makes you think that Pakistanis want Khalifa system… strong democracy is the answer. And by the way who will be the Khalifa in your humble opinion. Recommend

  • Ashraf
    Oct 9, 2015 - 1:59PM

    No person who is not a radical will wear a beard like that at a young age.Recommend

  • Zaida
    Oct 9, 2015 - 2:07PM

    The best anarchists are the ones who are very difficult to spot. This man must have been one of the best. Recommend

  • Parvez
    Oct 9, 2015 - 2:11PM

    This reminds me of the Moin Akthar 50-50 episode where he drives in through the main gate of the airport with a cannon strapped to the roof of his small Suzuki…..the security look inside, under the seat, in the booth….and lets the car through.Recommend

  • dany
    Oct 9, 2015 - 4:32PM

    come on.. u need to be taking more of balance approach.Recommend

  • Musab
    Oct 9, 2015 - 5:20PM

    Pakistan was created in the name of Islam. Ppl like Owais who are calling for Islam and its establishment by the rightly guided Khilafah are the real Muslims and following the commands of Allah. I read some recent pamphlet distributed outside mosque and all was mentioned on it is the true meaning of leadership in Islam… Democracy is unable to deliver and deceived us. Only Khilafah can produce such ruler. There is no so called hate or terrorism stuff on this. We all want to have such system and rulers like Umar ra to correct our society. Recommend

  • Musa
    Oct 9, 2015 - 6:27PM

    These are the types of people who become part of ‘sleeper cells’. They are more dangerous than the people who thump their chest and look the part.Recommend

  • ali sindhi
    Oct 9, 2015 - 6:56PM

    dear khalija zindaa hai zia zinda hai…Recommend

  • Wah Bhai Wah
    Oct 9, 2015 - 9:20PM

    Could not agree more… Very true.Recommend

  • Malik
    Oct 9, 2015 - 10:17PM

    Pakistan certainly needs a change. Sincere people are being arrested and goons being given protocols.

    The idea of Khilafah is the core of Islam. How can the government call it terrorism? They should be ashamed of saying so.. Pakistan is a Muslim majority state and majority wants Islam in their practical lives…Recommend

  • ehtisham
    Oct 9, 2015 - 10:44PM

    And the award for idiot of the day goes too…Recommend

  • Timorlane
    Oct 9, 2015 - 10:59PM

    At szabist they apparently don’t have much time left

    after dating to look after other mattersRecommend

  • Bert
    Oct 9, 2015 - 11:52PM

    Reading through these comments is quite disheartening. So, you would prefer a religious dictatorial regime in the form of caliphate? That is really what you people want, a dictator and a complete revoking of all freedom, rights and a police state? I knew things were bad in Pakistan, but this, this is willfully signing away what is left of your freedom and submitting to religious slavery. Recommend

  • Ameen
    Oct 10, 2015 - 12:01AM

    Let’s not make wrong judgments about the man before he has a fair trial. It is clear from his students that he is an amicable, helpful and intelligent man. No evidence is being stated by anyone that he was doing anything dangerous or against Pakistan plus we know how truthful the govt and police are. Let there be a fair trial to establish who is truthful and who is the liar. Recommend

    Oct 10, 2015 - 1:21AM

    who is a terrorist? For me those who arrest without any proof of crime… they are terrorizing all law abiding citizens……Recommend

  • Hassan
    Oct 10, 2015 - 4:17AM

    First of all HT is not a terrorist organization, they never ever involved or supported any terrorist activities. Their ideology is against western style democracy and capitalism and they emphasise on Islamic government system, and they do this books, literatures etc without inciting any voidance. If they were arrested to be against state, this I think is completely wrong, they are only against the governance system the state has adopt. If HT is such a threat, than why not government arrest Zaid Hamid and ban his organization who openly criticise the state governance, but you know the only difference is that Zaid Hamid and Co praises Army all the time, where as HT is against all including the Armed forces. Recommend

  • Syed Zeshan
    Oct 10, 2015 - 6:23AM

    After reading the article and the comments, and if indeed this organisation is non violent, then surely I feel sad for the guy, the way they are portraying him I thought they have caught another terrorist, even if he gets out after three months he won’t get any job specially the kind of job he had before, sad to see how we defame someone in the society…Recommend

  • shakeel
    Oct 10, 2015 - 3:44PM

    With outflow of petro-dollars in 80’s the leadership of muslims has gone to non-molvi leaders, having no basic education and knowledge of Islam. Ulama of Islam never taught to kill innocent people on any reason/logic or to destroy school building w bombs. The new terrorist non-molvi leaders have their own philosophy and feel happy to kill every other person and sometimes their own people. Recommend

  • Salik Abdullah
    Oct 11, 2015 - 12:01PM

    According to Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) incharge, “Owais Raheel is involved in anti-state activities”.
    With an engineering degree and graduation in business administration,Owais Raheel would have worked from 9 to 5 earning more than enough amount and would have enjoyed life like our selfish leaders but instead he decided to give his time to change this corrupt rulling system”democracy” in which nothing is in line with justice,so these selfish leaders and their cronies not only are doing any good to this country but are stopping the sincere ones also,so that they may continue in their plunder.
    Working for a better solution is not “anti-state activities”,but is actually “sensitivity for others pain and effort to bring them justice”.Recommend

  • Suleiman
    Oct 11, 2015 - 3:28PM

    So basically the National Action Plan (NAP) is mainly targeting practising Muslims. Does this mean that the NAP in fact opposes the Islamic Ideology? We all agree that Pakistan was based on Islam and thus such laws are against the basic structure of the constitution. The NAP promotes the concept of nationalism. In doing so it aims at bending the country towards the West. On the other hand the Islamic Ideology aims at strengthening the bond between Pakistan and the Muslim Ummah. Recommend

  • Malik
    Oct 11, 2015 - 3:32PM

    Let us assume for a moment that such people are criminals. That their actions are against the interests of Pakistan and the National Action Plan must be invoked.

    Then why is the judiciary biased? Why are specific judges assigned to this matter? Why are these puppet judges ignoring the weaknesses of the allegations impanted by the CTD? Recommend

  • Aitchisonian
    Oct 12, 2015 - 10:01PM

    It is clear that the National Action Plan exists to serve the interests of America and other foreign powers who do not want the real Islam to be implemented in Pakistan which is the want and the need of the Muslim World. If Democracy argues for freedom of belief then why are people such as Owais Raheel being arrested for believing in different ideas.Recommend

  • Ali
    Oct 15, 2015 - 12:26PM

    I didn’t see any comment like he was involved in brain washing although this is a serious allegation …this shows that he was neutral with his students and only support them with their educational issues rather forcing them to do something against the country …Recommend

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