Pak Army officer urges cutting alliance with US

Brigadier Ali Khan faces charges of conspiring with 4 other officers and a British member of Hizb ut-Tahrir to recruit officers to the group.

London: A jailed senior Pakistan Army officer, who has been accused of plotting an Islamist takeover of the military high command, has called on the Army to break its anti-terror alliance with the United States, which he contends is forcing Pakistan to fight its own people.

"This may help us redeem some of our lost dignity and we badly need that," The Telegraph quoted Brigadier Ali Khan, as saying in a six-page document.

The US might retaliate by cutting military and economic aid, but "do they not always do this at will? ... Our fears that the heavens will fall must be laid to rest”, he added.

The manifesto reveals the ideological underpinnings of the most senior Pakistani military officer detained for alleged ties to Islamist extremists.

Khan, who was arrested a year ago, faces charges of conspiring with four other officers and a British member of Hizb ut-Tahrir to recruit officers to the group.

The banned Hizb ut-Tahrir professes non-violence, but the outfit makes no secret of its desire to penetrate the armies of Muslim countries, particularly Pakistan, and foment an "Islamic coup" to establish a global "caliphate”.

The manifesto doesn`t call for an armed insurrection, support Islamic militancy or mention Hizb ut-Tahrir.

The accusations against Khan go to the heart of a major Western fear about Pakistan: that its Army could tilt toward Islamic extremism or that a cabal of hardline officers could seize the country`s most powerful institution, possibly with the help of al Qaeda or associated groups like the Pakistani Taliban. Pakistani leaders dismiss such worries as ungrounded.

Khan`s family and two of his Army colleagues insisted he was innocent and has been targeted because of a falling out with senior officers and his political views.

"He was easy prey," said the colleague, "He walked into a trap. He was fed up with the government and (Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez) Kayani," he added.

Pakistan, a nuclear-armed country teeming with disgruntled Muslims, is a strategic priority for Hizb ut-Tahir, ex-members and analysts said.


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