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Engineer belonging to Hizbut Tahrir arrested for distributing pamphlets

Updated October 07, 2015

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The Hizbut Tahrir suspect is being brought to the Counter-Terrorism Department office for the press conference on Tuesday.—Online
The Hizbut Tahrir suspect is being brought to the Counter-Terrorism Department office for the press conference on Tuesday.—Online

KARACHI: Police on Tuesday claimed to have arrested an engineering and business graduate, who has allegedly been working for a banned organisation in Karachi’s south district, in the Boat Basin area of Clifton.

The suspect, Owais Raheel, targeted educated youngsters in the Defence and Clifton areas in order to use them “for illegal activities” with a view to implementing “Khilafa” in the country, the police said.

He graduated from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) and the NED University of Engineering and Technology and joined the banned Hizbut Tahrir (HT) in 2007, said a senior official.

Within eight years, he added, Owais became a key member of the group that defied Pakistan’s democratic system and aimed to implement “Khilafa” in the country.

“The suspect was arrested in the Boat Basin area on Tuesday under Section 11EEEE (1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act,” said Mazhar Mashwani of the Counter-Terrorism Department of police.

“We have also recovered from his possession several pamphlets of the organisation which he used to distribute outside mosques,” the officer added.

Banned in Pakistan in November 2003, HT is believed to be a global organisation that has organisational structure in several countries with main concentration in Islamic states.

Activists of the group have been arrested in the past as well for allegedly turning educated youngsters against the government.

“The suspect is associated with an elite educational institution,” said Mr Mashwani of the CTD. “He graduated from the NED University of Engineering and Technology and IBA and joined the Hizbut Tahrir in 2007.

“He was tasked with the distribution of pamphlets in mosques in the Clifton and Defence areas.”

He said the banned outfit did not recognise Pakistan’s governance system and wanted to establish “Khilafa” in the country. The suspect and his aides targeted young graduates in order to turn “them against the state” so that they could be used for illegal activities to achieve their objectives, he added.

“The suspect is motivated by lectures and sermons of Dr Israr Ahmed of the Tanzeem-i-Islami and is a follower of him,” said Mr Mashwani.

“During the initial investigation, he also shared details of his organisation’s set-up in Karachi. He stayed in contact through Viber with his fellows who mostly live in Malir, Landhi and Model Colony. Efforts are being made for their arrest.”

The organisation has the history of penetration in the country’s educated and elite class.

In 2012, the army convicted its five officers — Brigadier Ali Khan, Major Inayat Aziz, Major Iftikhar, Major Sohail Akbar and Major Jawad Baseer — for their links with the banned outfit.

The army did not name the organisation while announcing the sentences, though some officials had in the past identified the group as the HT.

A top-ranking police officer said several suspects associated with the HT in Karachi had been arrested in the past as well. But their arrest had not yet established the group’s direct link with terrorism in the city, he said.

“We have not yet found their history of terrorism,” said SSP Amir Farooqi of the CTD when asked about key charges against the suspect arrested in Clifton. The officer added that Owais had been found involved in campaigning for the banned organisation that did not recognise the governance system of Pakistan. “For this, he targeted the young graduates and turned them against the state,” the officer said.