Lahore: 19 Hizb-ut-Tahrir men booked under sedition law, jailed
LAHORE: The banned outfit Hizb-ut-Tahrir or HT has suffered a major blow as its 19 top leaders and activists have been sent to jail, days after they were arrested during a joint operation in Model Town area and booked under sedition laws. Sources in the joint investigations team disclosed that some of the arrested leaders of HT have alleged that they were receiving funding from the MI-6.
However, a member of the HT denied the claim, terming it baseless and said that the HT men were attending Dars-e-Quran when the law enforcing agencies raided the house. All 19 accused have been sent to a local jail after the Lahore High Court (LHC) rejected the petition, seeking their post-arrest bail.
Earlier, a Special Judge of the Anti-Terrorism Court had dismissed the post-arrest bail of the petitioners. The LHC also asked the security agencies to submit evidence and details about the HT, an outfit banned by the Ministry of Interior in November 20, 2003 vide notification (SRO-1061 (1) 2003).
The law enforcement and intelligence agencies carried out a joint operation, raiding the HT headquarters situated in (79/C-III) Model Town at about 10:00 pm on March 29 and arrested 19 leaders and activists of the banned outfit. The police have claimed the HT leaders and activists were holding a key meeting at their secret headquarters to intensify operations to conspire and incite rebellion among the Judiciary, government and the Pakistan Army, when security personnel stormed their safe haven.
The arrested suspects are highly-trained, well-off, and well educated, police sources said, adding, “they are professors, serving in leading universities, computer experts, textile engineers and chemical experts with M. Phil and PhD degrees”.
The Model Town police registered a case (FIR No 130/12) on the charges of sedition, criminal conspiracy, subversive /hate material, funding by prescribed organisation, and meeting by prescribed organisation (under sections 120-B, 124-A, 11-W-ATA, 11-H-ATA, and 11-F-ATA). According to section 124-A (Sedition), “Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Federal or Provincial Government established by law shall be punished with imprisonment for life to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.”
Security agencies recovered more than 500-kg of “subversive and hatred material, including hundreds of books, thousands of leaflets, CDs, cassettes etc from their possession during the raid,” a source close to the investigations team told this reporter, requesting his name not be mentioned.
“It was a grand and extraordinary operation, which took place under the direct supervision of SP Model Town Maroof Safdar Wahla. The law enforcing agencies got irrefutable evidences against the HT,” he added. Investigators further revealed that all addresses printed on the recovered subversive material were found fake.
“They always use fake names, fake IDs and bogus documents to incite people especially the youth against the state and government institutions in the name of Islam,” investigators said. According to the Hizb-ut-Tahrir’s manifesto, it is working for the establishment of Islamic state or Khilafah and is the only global party that works throughout the world. Interestingly, the focus of the banned outfit remains Pakistan, since 2003, when it began targeting Pakistani government, Army and Judiciary in its propaganda campaign.
In an open letter, the HT had asked the Generals, Air Marshals, Navy Admirals, and officers of Pakistan’s armed forces “to rise up against the western forces because only through you the Ummah can be liberated.”
More interestingly, after the Lahore High Court rejected the bail plea of the suspects, the HT forwarded an SMS to a great number of people across Pakistan, apart from its members, and criticised the courts stating that the “the independence of the courts has been exposed,” and warned the rulers that the HT would never stop its ‘struggle.’
The outfit using various methods of communications regularly targets the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Chief of Army Staff, DG ISI and the government in order to spread hatred the people against the state institutions. “While focusing on the youth, they target judiciary, armed forces and the government in an attempt to create hatred among the public against the state institutions,” a police investigator said.HT members base their philosophy in the name of Islam, the officer added.
“By God, they even don’t know the basics of Islam,” he said. The arrested were identified as Faisal Rehman, Ali Nawaz, Muhammad Tanveer, Zain Bin Zubair, Ghulam Ali, Ahsan Namdar, Shahzad Ahmed, Muhammad Danial, Muhammad Shajji, Muhammad Jamal, Adeel Naeem, Sharak Naeem, Muhammad Saleem, Qamar Abbas, Jalal, Shoaib Daud, Muhammad Talha Sameeh and Zeshan. The accused have been sent to Kot Lakhpat Jail. Further investigations are underway.