After a lapse of twelve months, Karim Khan has resurfaced to haunt US defence officials in Pakistan with legal action for killing his son and brother in a drone strike.
Early this month, Khan filed an application with a district court judge who has summoned the Secretariat Police and its prosecution wing to explain their failure to book former CIA station chief in Islamabad, Jonathan Banks, over the killing of Khan’s family members.
Banks lost his posting in December 2010 after Karim Khan, a tribesman from Mirali, North Waziristan Agency, blew his cover by publicly naming him in his application for FIR in the Secretariat Police Station of Islamabad.
In his application, Khan held Banks responsible for the killings of his 18-year-old son Zaheenullah and brother Asif Iqbal in a drone attack in Waziristan in December 2009.
Additional Sessions Judge Kamran Basharat Mufti has asked the Station House Officer (SHO) Secretariat Police Station and the officials of the prosecution branch to appear before him on the 20th of this month.
Sources in the police said that the prosecution wing and the police will stand by their earlier plea that the site of the drone strike does not fall under their jurisdiction. Therefore, they cannot entertain Karim’s application for FIR.
The Secretariat Police, in December 2010, decided not to register the FIR against the US intelligence chief in Pakistan on those grounds after taking advice from their prosecution department which held that the application was not maintainable.
“But you never know. If the court thinks the incident merits an FIR and orders police to register it, the police will have no choice but to obey the court orders,” said an official of the police.
Karim Khan went back to his town after he was told by the police that the FIR could not be registered. However, after a year, Khan has moved the court for the registration of the FIR this month.
“He has filed an application this month after which the court has summoned the police. Now both parties will be heard before the court decides on the case registration against the US officials,” said the police official.
Khan had also sent a $500 million claim for damages to the then US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, the then CIA chief Leon Panetta and its station head in Islamabad Jonathan Banks.
The US defence officials accused the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) for blowing the CIA chief’s cover but the latter denied the allegations.
In his application, Khan maintained that CIA Islamabad’s chief Jonathan Banks bought information from his local agents in the area to guide the drone strike.
However, he added that this information was wrong and misleading in most occasions and caused the deaths of innocent people.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2012.