Pak brigadier conspired to create Islamic caliphate

Islamabad: A Pakistan Army brigadier facing court martial on charges of plotting to topple the democratic government had met a senior commander of the banned Hizb-ut-Tahrir while conspiring to create an Islamic caliphate, a prosecution witness has said.

Brigadier (retired) Ali Khan, who was arrested last year and has been accused of plotting to mount an attack on the army`s General Headquarters, met the HuT`s chief for Palestine, Maj Gen Amir Riaz has said in a statement.

According to BBC Urdu, Riaz`s statement said Khan had disclosed that HuT had prepared a new constitution and a shadow government for Pakistan and that the group was ready to take over at any time.

Army authorities had earlier said that Khan had contacted Riaz as part of his alleged efforts to get other military officers to join him in a mutiny.

Riaz is the head of the Rawalpindi-based 111 Brigade, which has played a key role in military coups in the past. Riaz, who was recently promoted to the rank of major general, has been made a prosecution witness against Khan.

Riaz said in his statement that Khan had expressed distrust in Pakistan`s incumbent civil and military leadership a few months ago and called for establishing an Islamic caliphate.

According to the documents produced by the prosecution, Khan allegedly told his former colleagues that he had friends in the HuT and that he had met the group`s chief for the Palestinian territory.

"Brig Ali told me that HuT could establish a real caliphate which could also ensure good governance in Pakistan. He also told me that HuT has prepared an alternative constitution and a shadow government which could take over any time," Riaz said.

Riaz said he knew his former colleague Khan as an emotional person but that his remarks could not be brushed aside as emotionalism.

In his statement, Riaz further said that Khan had told him that some elements in the Pakistan Air Force were part of the HuT`s conspiracy and they would mount an air strike on General Headquarters with F-16 fighter jets during a Corps Commanders` conference to eliminate the army`s top commanders.

He further claimed that Khan had asked him to take over key buildings in Islamabad following the planned air strike. Riaz said he had turned down Khan`s offer to become part of the conspiracy.

After being disappointed with Riaz, Khan tried to recruit other army officers, the statement said. Khan seemed to be in a hurry to execute his plot because his retirement was nearing, it added. Khan`s family has denied the charges against him.

Following the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May last year, the HuT had distributed pamphlets in cantonments asking soldiers and officers to rise up against the army leadership.