ISLAMABAD - A brigadier of Pakistan Army appointed at General Headquarters was arrested apparently on the charges of having links with a banned militant outfit.
Brigadier Ali Khan, who was appointed at the Regulation Directorate in GHQ back in May 2009, came under the surveillance radar of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) earlier this year, according to sources.
Reportedly, after almost six months of surveillance, the ISI and MI in a joint operation, picked up the brigadier from outside his residence on May 6.
The intelligence authorities reportedly ran a check on him after some 'suspicious people were found frequently visiting his home.
The call records of Khans cell phone confirmed the suspicions of intelligence agencies.
Sources said Brigadier Ali Khan was linked to the section of militants that had direct ties with the Central Investigation Agency (CIA) and the military intelligence agencies arrested him to probe this connection.
The ISPR only confirmed Ali Khans arrest but refused to provide further details.
Confirming the arrest, ISPR Director General Major General Athar Abbass said the news was not made public earlier due to pending investigations against the brigadier.
Abbas said the brigadier was linked to Hizbul Tahrir, a militant organisation banned by former president Pervez Musharraf in 2003.
He said the investigations were at early stages and it was premature to comment any further.
He denied any racket of senior military officers having links with militants.
Earlier, talking to a private television channel, Abbas had said Hizbul Tahrir was linked to England, which, according to sources, was a hint at the possible nexus between militants, CIA and officers like Ali Khan.
The ISPR DG said no other arrests were made.
The brigadier was reportedly going to retire from his duties at Pakistan Army next month.
It is also being probed how a brigadier having linkages with militants got appointed Regulation Directorate, an important military branch that primarily deals with recruitments and human resource issues.
Hizbul Tahrir is the same organisation that sends hand-outs and parcels to almost all the journalists of mainstream national media instigating the journalist community to declare 'Jihad against the foreign powers, Pakistani government and Pakistan Army.
Agencies add: We follow zero tolerance policy of such activities within the military.
Therefore prompt action was taken on detection, Abbas said.
A military official, who declined to be identified, ruled out the possibility of the brigadiers involvement in any plot.
He just had contacts with the banned group.
But he was not involved in any type of conspiracy, Khan is from a family of soldiers - his father was a junior officer while he has two sons and one son-in law in the Army.
His wife Anjum rejected the allegations against him as 'rubbish.
Every general knows Brigadier Ali Khan.
Even (army chief) General (Ashfaq) Kayani knows him, she said.
We can never think of betraying the Army or our country.
He was an intellectual, an honest, patriotic and ideological person.
Its a fashion here that whosoever offers prayers and practises religion is dubbed as Taliban and militant, she said.
A military source told BBC that Gen Kayani had asked for a briefing about the brigadier and after being satisfied about the weight of the 'evidence, ordered the arrest himself.
This is not the first time allegations have been made about links between elements in Pakistans military and banned organisations, including militant groups.
At least two army officers were court-martialled last year for links with the banned Hizbul Tahrir.
Some fear extremist groups like Hizb-ul-Tahrir may have been making inroads into the Army.
What we see is that it is trying to infiltrate the military and wanting to bring some sort of a change through the military and that could be dangerous, retired general and defence analyst Talat Masood said.
The allegations against the brigadier could show gaps as far as discipline was concerned, he said, but added that it was a positive sign that the Army had found out and taken action.
I think the Army is trying do a clean-up, he said.
They have realised that otherwise the institution will be undermined.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 22-Jun-2011 here.