The Pakistan Army has started court martial proceedings against five officers over suspected ties to a banned extremist group that has called for ousting the government, security officials said on Saturday.
Brig Ali Khan and four other officers were detained in May, 2011 for suspected links to Hizbut Tahrir. Brig Khan was working at the army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi at the time of his arrest.
His family has denied the allegations against him.
Two senior security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the military trial started recently but did not provide any other details. It was also not clear where the trial is taking place and what punishment the officers face, if convicted.Brig Khan’s lawyer, Col (retd) Inam Rahim, said after the arrest that his client was detained for demanding that someone within the military be held accountable for the covert US Navy SEALs raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.
Hizbut Tahrir is banned in Pakistan because of its extremist propaganda. The group also works to re-establish the caliphate system and campaigns in Pakistan against its alliance with the Unites States in the war on terror.The group insists it has rejected violence, although observers say it promotes an intolerant mindset that can ultimately lead some followers to embrace militancy.
Western officials have long suspected some Pakistani military officials of having ties to Islamist groups.
Pakistan military has repeatedly denied supporting extremist groups.—AP