Military officer linked to banned HuT secures early release

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Pakistan
Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Brigadier Ali Khan, a senior army officer who was court-martialled over links his suspected with a banned outfit, was released from Adiala Jail on Monday night.

Ex-Brig Ali Khan was awarded five years rigorous imprisonment by the Field General Court Marshal (FGCM) in 2012. He was also accused of being involved in a conspiracy to topple the government, trying to instigate a mutiny within the army and planning an attack on General Headquarters (GHQ).

The former official has been released less than four years after he was convicted, even though he was facing “serious allegations” which would lead to capital punishment if proven.

He was caught for ‘planning ground and air attacks on top military and civil leadership’ with the help of banned outfit Hizb ut Tahrir (HuT) in 2011 after the US raided Abbottabad, where Navy SEALs found and killed the most-wanted terrorist, Osama Bin Laden.

Since most of the charges levelled against him were not proved in the court-martial proceedings, he was sentenced to five years in prison and was scheduled to be released in August 2017. However, he got the benefit of a remission in his sentence and was released on June 27.

Ex-Brig Ali Khan’s co-accused have already served out their sentences
This relief was granted by the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on January 27, 2016, which is usually granted to convicts in the form of a reduction of their sentence on different occasions, including the two Eids and national holidays, while they are in custody during the course of an investigation and trial.

According to retired Brig Wasaf Khan Niazi, a former member of the army’s Judge Advocate General (JAG) branch, Ex-Brig Ali Khan had been in custody for over one year before he was convicted of being linked to the banned organisation, and the under the court’s order, the officer got some relief as his period of detention prior to the sentence was also included in the total imprisonment.

Earlier, Brig Ali had challenged the court-martial proceedings before the LHC in 2012. His case was heard by 14 different single-member benches at different times. Finally, the petition was dismissed and he was asked to face court-martial proceedings.

The investigation report of the military’s Special Investigation Branch claimed that Brig Ali, with the help of his military and civilian accomplices, wanted to attack a large gathering, such as a dinner for formation commanders hosted by the president, the prime minister and the army chief.

They also planned air strikes on corps commanders’ or formation commanders’ conferences. According to the investigation, between August 2008 and April 2011, ex-Brig Khan met a number of senior army officers. In these meetings, he expressed disappointment with the political and military leadership, proposing a “caliphate” in their place and referring to his intimate connections with the HuT.

Brig Ali was detained just days after US Navy SEALs found and killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad on May 2, 2011, reviving disturbing questions about the ignorance or complicity within Pakistan’s powerful military.

The court martial proceedings against ex-Brigadier Ali Khan, Major Inayat Aziz, Maj Iftikhar, Maj Sohail Akbar and Maj Jawad Baseer, who were facing charges of having links with a banned outfit, were completed in August 2012 and all five were convicted.

Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) officially announced their conviction on August 3, 2012.

The FGCM awarded Major Sohail Akbar three years, Maj Jawad Baseer two years, and Major Inayat Aziz and Major Iftikhar one year and six months of rigorous imprisonment each.

Jail sources said that the other accused had already been released after the completion of their respective sentences.

In March 2013, the wife of the detained officer wrote a letter to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) alleging that her husband had been facing the ordeal simply because he had asked for a justification of the Abbottabad raid during a conference held at the GHQ on May 4, 2011.

She had claimed that Brig Ali Khan had suggested that he and the entire top brass surrender all their plots, agricultural land, perks and privileges availed from military service because they had all failed to deliver.

According to the letter, Brig Ali had retired from service on July 11, 2011, before the trial, but he had been tried as a serving brigadier on the basis of a backdated notification, purportedly issued by the defence ministry.

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