One witness at his ongoing court-martial said Khan discussed sending an F-16 jet crashing into the army headquarters, though that allegation has been withdrawn, according to Khan's lawyer Inam-ul-Rahiem. Pakistan's army declined to comment on the trial, which is supposed to be secret.
Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is banned in Pakistan and several other Muslim countries, professes non-violence and is not connected to terrorist groups like the Pakistani Taliban or al-Qaida. But the outfit makes no secret of its desire to penetrate the armies of Muslim countries, particularly Pakistan, and foment an "Islamic coup" to establish a global "caliphate."
In interviews, Khan's family and two of his army colleagues insisted he was innocent and has been targeted because of a falling out with senior officers and his political views — particularly his stance against the alliance with the U.S. Khan's lawyer has denied the charges and says no concrete evidence has been presented at the trial.
But one of the colleagues said Khan did meet with members of Hizb ut-Tahrir and tried to enlist other officers, though the colleague played down the importance of the contacts.
"He was easy prey," said the colleague, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was worried about prejudicing the case. "He walked into a trap. He was fed up with the government and (army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez) Kayani."
Image: In this Saturday, May 5, 2012 photo, a sticker by Pakistan's banned Islamist organization Hizbut Tahrir which reads, " Oh sincere officers in the armed force! fulfill your obligations by removing the traitors in the civil and military leadership, bring the caliphate," is posted on a pole in Islamabad, Pakistan.