Ali Khan (brigadier)

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Ali Khan is a serving brigadier in Pakistan Army who was arrested in May 2011 for links with banned Islamist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir.[1] According to CNN he was the senior most Pakistani officer to face such allegations since 1995. His arrest raised suspicions of infiltration by Islamic fundamentalists into the senior officer corps of Pakistani Army.[2][3]


Pakistan army has long been accused of harbouring elements sympathetic to Islamic extremists within its ranks.[1] Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT) is an Islamist party that rejects democracy, is working to establish an Islamic caliphate globally, and is active in over 40 countries including Pakistan.[4] HuT has been banned in Pakistan since 2004.[5] HuT has long been accused of trying to infiltrate Pakistan's military and in the aftermath of the American raid that killed Osama bin-Laden it distributed pamphlets near Pakistani military bases calling on officers to overthrow the government and establish an Islamic caliphate.[6] Two other Pakistani army officers were court-martialed in 2010 for links with Hizb ut-Tahrir.[1]


Khan belonged to Punjab had joined the army in 1979 and had a distinguished career.[7] At the time of his arrest Khan had been in the army for 32 years during which time he had served with United Nations Protection Force in Bosnia, did a company commander's couse in Japan and an alumnus of US Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth and was about to retire.[2] Khan's father was a Junior Commissioned Officer, his brother is a colonel, His both sons and son-in-law are captains in Pakistan army.[8] Khan had been a vocal critic of the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden and had raised questions at a meeting of Pakistani generals. He had previously criticised General Pervez Musharraf for his support to America and his promotion to major general was blocked.[9] At the time of arrest he was the oldest brigadier in Pakistani army having been rejected for promotion repeatedly.[7] After the arrest Khans wife stated that he was a man with an ideology and a staunch Muslim who believed "Pakistan was made in the name of Islam and the Islamic laws should be enforced. This is the ideology of Pakistan." He had grown his beard about a year prior to his arrest.[9]


Khan was serving at the general headquarters of Pakistani army in Rawalpindi at the time of his arrest on 6 May 2011.[4] The arrest was announced on 21 June 2011.[2] Pakistan Army spokesperson Major general Athar Abbas claimed that there was compelling evidence against Khan.[7] According to BBC General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had personally ordered his arrest after examining evidence against Khan.[1] However, on 28 June 2011 it was reported that Brigadier Khan was to be released soon as not enough evidence had been found to formally charge him.[10] From his prison cell, Khan released a six-page manifesto calling for Pakistan to sever its anti-terrorism alliance with the United States.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d "Pakistan army officer held for 'links with extremists'". BBC. 21 June 2011. Archived from the original on 24 June 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Lister, Tim (21 June 2011). "Arrest of Pakistani officer revives fears of extremism within military". CNN. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "Extremism within". Dawn. 23 June 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Masood, Salman (21 June 2011). "Pakistan Detains Officer on Suspicion of Militant Ties". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 
  5. ^ "Hizbut Tahrir and the armed forces". The Express Tribune. 23 June 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  6. ^ Walsh, Declan (21 June 2011). "Pakistan army officer held over suspected Hizb ut-Tahrir links". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c "Brigadier Ali Khan: Pakistan's dissenting army officer". BBC. 23 June 2011. Archived from the original on 24 June 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  8. ^ Syed, Baqir Sajjad (22 June 2011). "Brigadier held for links with extremists". Dawn. Retrieved 23 June 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Cheema, Umar (23 June 2011). "'Brig Ali had raised questions about Abbottabad raid'". The News International. Retrieved 23 June 2011. 
  10. ^ Yousaf, Kamran. "Alleged HuT links: 'Brigadier Ali likely to be released soon'". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 4 July 2011. 
  11. ^ Brummitt, Chris; Asif Shahzad (15 May 2012). "Senior Pakistani officer issues anti-U.S. manifesto from his cell". Washington Times. Retrieved 15 May 2012.