RAWALPINDI: Brigadier (retd) Ali Khan was released from Adiala jail after completing five years of rigorous imprisonment awarded by a military court for having links with a banned outfit Hizbut Tahrir, it has been learnt.
Ali Khan, who was arrested in 2011, faced charges of conspiring with four other officers and a British member of the Hizbut Tahrir to recruit officers to the group including the commander of army's 111 Brigade — which covers the capital and has been historically linked to the military coups.
The four other officer who were also convicted included Major Inayat Aziz, Major Iftikhar, Major Sohail Akbar and Major Jawad Baseer.
Major Sohail Akbar was awarded three years of (rigorous imprisonment) RI while Major Jawad Baseer was sentenced to two years RI, whereas Major Inayat Aziz and Major Iftikhar have been awarded one year six months RI each.
Ali Khan's family and few of his army colleagues had insisted he was innocent and had been targeted because of a falling out with senior officers and his political views — particularly his stance against the alliance with the US.
But one of the colleagues had said that Khan did meet with members of Hizbut Tahrir and tried to enlist other officers, though the colleague had played down the importance of the contacts.
At a meeting with other officers days after the May 2, 2011, raid by US commandos that killed Osama bin Laden, Khan had reportedly spoken out against the operation, which he and others on the forces considered a national humiliation.
Khan was arrested on May 5, 2011, and later presented himself as a "victim" of the Abbottabad raid.
Hizbut Tahrir, which is banned in Pakistan and several other Muslim countries, professes non-violence and is not connected to terrorist groups like the Pakistani Taliban or al Qaeda.
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."