Pakistan arrests brigadier on suspected militant ties

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 22, 2011 1:52 PM
Pakistan arrests brigadier on suspected militant ties

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A Pakistan army brigadier assigned to military headquarters in the garrison town of Rawalpindi has been arrested for suspected ties to a banned group, a military spokesman said on Tuesday.

Spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said Brigadier Ali Khan, who was in charge of drafting army regulations, was linked to Hizb-ul-Tahrir, a banned group in Pakistan.

"We follow zero tolerance policy of such activities within the military therefore prompt action was taken on detection," Abbas said.

Hizb-ul-Tahrir, or "Party of Liberation," is a radical political group dedicated to reestablishing an Islamic Caliphate across the Muslim world. Active in Britain, it is banned in many Muslim countries for its calls to overthrow the sitting governments.

The group says it does not advocate violence, but many critics say it has ties to militant organisations and encourages young men to radicalism.

Abbas said efforts were also being made to arrest members of the group who were in contact with Khan.

Khan would be the highest-ranking serving army officer arrested in a decade.

A senior military official, who declined to be identified, told Reuters that the detention was made 20 days ago.

(Reporting by Kamran Haider and Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Chris Allbritton and Alex Richardson)