The court martial proceedings presently underway in Pakistan against Brigadier Ali Khan, exemplify the strains with in its Army, as the nation carries out the war against extremists. Many in Pakistan disown the war stating that the country is fighting the American war for military and civilian assistance. The trial is likely to increase western apprehensions regarding radicalization of Pakistan Army.
Brigadier Ali was taken into custody from his office at General Headquarters (GHQ) last year and interrogated over his alleged links with the banned outfit Hizb ut Tahrir (HuT). The charge sheet accuses him of inciting mutiny against the civilian government and plotting an attack on GHQ with civilian and military officers.
According to the witness of defense counsel Major Suhail, Brigadier Ali Khan hatched a conspiracy to attack GHQ with an F16 jet while a meeting of the corps commanders was taking place. Major Suhail also stated that the Brigadier Ali was in contact with HuT and had also succeeded in gaining support from Triple One Brigade, including a few generals
According to BBC, during a meeting with HuT, Brigadier Ali drew maps highlighting his plan and wanted to take over the government with two to three hundred armed men. Moreover, he planned to attack US bases in Pakistan, and other locations where Black Water was suspected to be based.
Brigadier Ali has filed petition in the Lahore High Court through a retired Colonel Imamurraheem, pleading that the court martial proceedings against him be declared illegal. Justice Ijaz Ahmed of the Lahore High Court has demanded the Defense Secretary to respond quickly to these allegations that the military is trying to manipulate the court martial proceedings
According to the counsel of Brigadier Ali, he petitioned, “I have been retired from Pakistan Army and they [army] have charged me with heinous crimes without any proof.”
HuT has criticized the court-martial proceedings of Brigadier Ali Khan and four other military officers, for their alleged ties to the group. Statements from HuT published on its website states that Brigadier Ali had an illustrious military career spanning thirty-two years and he come from a humble origin. The statement adds that he wanted Pakistan to sever it alliance with US as it is on a crusade against the Muslim world.
In an earlier incident, Brigadier Khan had questioned General Musharraf for keeping the details of the agreement and cooperation with the US a secret. This incident caused Musharraf to deny him a promotion to the post of Major General.
US has long suspected that extremists groups have sympathizers with in the Pakistan Army, and has frequently accused the military of double dealings. The West is also worried about the radicalization of Pakistan Army that has nuclear weapons in its arsenal. The trial of Brigadier Ali suggests that the case may be an exception. Furthermore, the trial indicates that Pakistan’s military is determined to take serious action against such elements and to maintain its liberal outlook.
However, as Anti American and nationalistic sentiments have risen in Pakistan, Brigadier Ali Khan’s trial is likely to reinforce western concerns regarding Pakistan Army. US has recently deployed counter-terrorist operatives in India, as well as the Maldives, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. US Pacific commander Admiral Robert Willard told a congressional hearing on the subject that: “We are working very closely with India with regard to their counter-terrorism capabilities and in particular on the maritime domain but also government to government.” The particular threat Willard mentioned was Lashkar-e-Toiba (Let) based out of Pakistan.