Detained Pak Brigadier likely to be released soon
Islamabad: A Pakistani Army Brigadier, detained on May 06 for his alleged links with the banned Hizb-ut-Tahrir extremist group, is likely to be released soon as authorities have not found "enough evidence" to charge him.
Military officials grilling Brigadier Ali Khan, who was serving as Director for rules and regulations at the Army's General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, have not yet found "enough evidence" to formally charge him, 'The Express Tribune' reported today, quoting a military official familiar with the development.
The Army has confirmed that it is also questioning four unnamed Majors for their alleged links with the Hizb-ut-Tahrir.
"You need to have very solid evidence to chargesheet anyone in the military. At the moment there is no such thing against the detained officers, including Brig Ali," said the unnamed official.
"Brig Ali is likely to be released soon," he said.
However, it is unclear whether Khan will be dismissed from service or allowed to go with his perks and privileges intact.
Khan is due to retire on July 09.
Sources told the daily that though Khan was allegedly in contact with Hizb-ut-Tahrir, the main reason behind his detention appears to be his "highly critical stance" on the Army's high command over its relationship with the US.
The Hizb-ut-Tahrir calls for creating a pan-Islamic caliphate by ousting the "pro-US" government of Pakistan.
According to BBC Urdu, Khan angered the Army's hierarchy by writing letters to Generals, some of them his former colleagues, with suggestions on how to become "self-reliant" and "to purge the Army of American influence”.
Khan reportedly told senior officers like Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani that Pakistan's "unconditional" support to the US was causing resentment in the lower ranks.
But this act did not constitute a serious offence warranting punishment such as a court-martial, sources said.
The Brigadier's family told The Express Tribune that they were given indications that Khan would be reunited with them in a few days.
Khan spoke to his family last week for the first time since he was taken into custody on May 06.
"I talked to him briefly on our son's birthday... He was in good health and quite confident that he would be declared innocent," Khan's wife said.
"You should not worry. I have done nothing wrong and Inshallah (God willing) I will be with you very soon," Khan's wife quoted him as saying.
Chief military spokesperson Maj Gen Athar Abbas too confirmed that Khan and the four other Majors were yet to be formally charge sheeted.
"Investigations are underway and they will be charge sheeted once the probe is complete," he said without providing details.
The fate of the officers will be decided on the recommendations of authorities questioning them, said another unnamed official.
He too said they are unlikely to be court martialled.