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Islamic group planning coup in Pak
Published on 6 Jul. 2009 12:22 AM IST
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An Islamic militant group based in Britain plans to overthrow the Pakistani government, a British media report said Sunday. Followers of the fundamentalist group Hizb ut-Tahrir have called for a “bloodless military coup” in Islamabad and the creation of a caliphate in which strict Islamic laws would be rigorously enforced, The Sunday Times reported. The group is believed to have been set up in Pakistan in the early 1990s by Imtiaz Malik, a British-born Pakistani who may still be secretly operating as its leader in the country. Members of the group, which is banned in Pakistan and calls itself the Liberation party in Britain, said last week that it planned to make Pakistan a base to spread Islamic rule across the world. “Pakistan was neglected and ignored until it had a nuclear bomb and then the global leaders realised it would be a good strategic base for the caliphate,” said Maajid Nawaz, one of the organisation’s pioneers in Pakistan, who has since renounced the group. Nawaz claimed at least 10 British activists were planted in each of Pakistan’s main cities. “The traffic has been increasing ever since and people are always going back and forth (to the UK),” he added. The newspaper also obtained the names of a dozen British Hizb ut-Tahrir activists based in Lahore and Karachi, or who move regularly between Britain and Pakistan. Tayyib Muqeem, an English teacher from Stoke-on-Trent, said he moved to Lahore to persuade Pakistanis to join the movement. He said the organisation’s aim was to subject Muslim and western countries to Islamic rule under sharia law - “by force” if necessary. In a caliphate, “every woman would have to cover up”, adultery would be punished by stoning to death and thieves’ hands would be chopped off, he added. Muqeem said Islamic rule would be spread through “indoctrination” and by “military means” if non-Muslim countries refused to bow to it and “waging war” would be part of the caliphate’s foreign policy. One of the strategies of the group in Pakistan is to influence military officers, he said. Shahzad Sheikh, a Pakistani recruit and the group’s official spokesman in Karachi, said that the group plans to persuade the army to instigate a “bloodless coup” against the present government which he described as “worse than the Taliban”. “It is the military who hold the power (in Pakistan) and we are asking them to give their allegiance to Hizb ut-Tahrir,” he said. “I can’t explain to you in detail how we are trying to influence the military... We never disclose our methodology of change. You may say it is a coup.” Four army officers were arrested in 2003 in Pakistan on suspicion of being linked to extremist groups. A Hizb ut-Tahrir insider claimed that they were recruited by the organisation’s “Pakistan team” while training at Sandhurst.

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