When the UK police arrested, and later released, retired Pakistani army officer and popular YouTuber Adil Raja, on a request by the Pakistani government, it raised a lot of eyebrows and speculation.
It now transpires that he was arrested on terrorism offences by the Counter-Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) under the UK’s Section 59 of the Terrorism Act 2000 on the request of the Pakistani government. Raja’s lawyer Mahtab Aziz also confirmed that the police action in London took place after Pakistan’s complaints to the UK.
Though the popular YouTuber, who is close to former prime minister Imran Khan, has been given bail till September, investigations by the British related to terrorism charges will continue against him, reports the Pakistani media.
Pakistani daily, The News International reported from London that Raja is being tried under British laws under which inciting terrorism overseas is considered to be an act that has been committed in the UK.
The newspaper quotes a UK-based lawyer, Umar Ali, who says: “If a person encourages someone else to commit an act of terrorism outside the United Kingdom, they have committed an offence. The act they incite must be similar to certain offences, such as murder or causing harm with intent if it had been committed in England and Wales. If someone is found guilty of this offence, they will face the same penalties as if they had committed the corresponding offense themselves. It doesn’t matter if the person being incited is in the UK or not”.
The Pakistani Army has launched a massive crackdown on people inside and outside Pakistan in relation to the May 9 protests by former prime minister Imran Khan’s supporters that targeted army properties and families. Raja is part of the diaspora known to be fanatically loyal to Khan, which the government of Shehbaz Sharif wants to break-up.
Raja has denied involvement in terrorism offences and reportedly told the British police that he is a victim of Pakistan government’s high-handedness.
In one of his latest tweets, he said: “The harassment by the Pakistani state against voices of dissent and democracy continues. It’s a classic example of the misuse and manipulation of the state resources to conduct an international “witch hunt/fishing” misadventure”.
The harassment by the Pakistani state against voices of dissent and democracy continues. It’s a classic example of the misuse and manipulation of the state resources to conduct an international “witch hunt/fishing” misadventure.
@Twitter @elonmusk @amnestysasia pic.twitter.com/ipTitvfIQL
— Adil Raja (@soldierspeaks) June 16, 2023
He has continued with his tirade against Pakistan, tagging Twitter and its CEO Elon Musk besides human rights organisation Amnesty Asia in his anti-Pakistan tweets.
In another tweet after his release by the UK police, Raja said that he “… will continue to advocate people’s democratic right to peaceful protest as the only way to bring about real change. A sea of peaceful protesters can achieve the change, which violent protest can not as violence can only be counterproductive”.