Tortured, shaken up: Anti-drone activist returns home 9 days after disappearance

Published: February 14, 2014
Khan's lawyer described him to be "pretty shaken up, tortured, beaten up, questioned, put in a cell, and handcuffed". PHOTO: AFP

Khan's lawyer described him to be "pretty shaken up, tortured, beaten up, questioned, put in a cell, and handcuffed". PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Anti-drone activist Karim Khan, who was kidnapped from his home last week, has been freed, his lawyer said Friday.

Karim Khan was picked up from his home on the outskirts of Islamabad on February 5 by around 20 men, some in police uniform, just days before he was due to testify before European parliamentarians about the US drone attacks.

He was bundled into a van, blindfolded and pushed off onto the road in the early hours of Friday morning, in the Tarnol suburb of Islamabad, his lawyer Shahzad Akber told AFP.

“He has been released,” Akber said. “His hands weren’t tied and he was able to remove his blindfold and take a taxi home after asking where he was.”

Though Khan was not able to identify the men who had detained him, a court on Wednesday had ordered the government to produce him by February 20 or provide the reason for his detention.

Khan had been staying in the outskirts of Islamabad with his wife, children and an uncle ahead of a trip to Europe he was supposed to make last week.

Akber described Khan as “pretty shaken up, tortured, beaten up, questioned, put in a cell, and handcuffed”.

“He was questioned about names and people in Waziristan. Many names he did not know about. He was questioned about his drone work, and was told not to speak to media otherwise they will come back for them.”

Khan, who was also a drone investigator, was fighting a legal case in which he had named both the CIA’s former station chief and the Pakistani government for their roles in the US drone campaign in the country’s tribal areas.

Khan’s brother and teenage son were killed in a drone attack in their native North Waziristan in December 2009.

Last month, a new law was passed allowing the security forces to detain terror suspects for up to 90 days without disclosing their whereabouts or the allegations against them.

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Reader Comments (28)

  • Justice Miscarried
    Feb 14, 2014 - 7:28PM

    Is freedom of speech protected by the Pakistan Constitution?


  • Shoking
    Feb 14, 2014 - 7:35PM

    I used to watch this guy campaigning bravely for Pakistan and against droned, sitting on youtube and watching it in Delhi. And they put this guy in jail?.Scythians are Scythians, not Bharatis.To move from one location to another is their basic trait, what land? what Patriotism? , only money and parasiting. Thats what happend when the Mughals came, the Scyths joined them to feed on India.Thats what happening now, but now, the scyths have started cannibalizing each other..for now India is closed.


  • Justice Miscarried
    Feb 14, 2014 - 7:37PM

    so no one can campaign peacefully about an issue?


  • usman786
    Feb 14, 2014 - 7:38PM

    those must be supporters of CIA, directly or indirectly bcz drones are done by USA. If NS is not responsible as PM, then who could be held answerable


  • Nikki
    Feb 14, 2014 - 7:50PM

    He is luckey one has been freed, otherwise several missing persons still missing and no clue.Best wishes Mr. Khan
    Talks work………


  • Justice Miscarried
    Feb 14, 2014 - 7:52PM

    Denounce torture, period.


  • Mia
    Feb 14, 2014 - 7:58PM

    tragic and disturbing. What happened to this brave man is common. This is what dissidents in Pakistan have been facing for decades, actually. Just ask Baloch students, who’ve been tortured and extra judicially executed for years.


  • 357
    Feb 14, 2014 - 8:17PM

    Thugs will be thugs. Uniform notwithstanding. Every Pakistani stereotype military character shown in Indian movies is based upon the truth.


  • hehe
    Feb 14, 2014 - 8:19PM

    Hello drone apologists, don’t see you here. Where’s the ‘activism’ boys?


  • Qabil Khan
    Feb 14, 2014 - 8:26PM

    Just how do you rein in these lawless agencies? They appear to be convinced that they’re are the super patriots and we are all suspects. Unfortunately our generals act as if nothing is happening and Pakistan’s law is only applicable to civilians.


  • Aahjiz BayNawa
    Feb 14, 2014 - 8:30PM

    In general: punishment without conviction is a denial of justice.


  • Vikram
    Feb 14, 2014 - 8:31PM

    Lot of Pakistanis making lot of money from drone bombings. Some of them may be related to high government officials, political leaders.This guy is a threat to their livelihood.


  • Justice Miscarried
    Feb 14, 2014 - 8:43PM

    First convict, then punish. Punishment without conviction is against fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Justice Miscarried
    Feb 14, 2014 - 8:56PM

    Which party took law into its own hands?Recommend

  • Feb 14, 2014 - 8:57PM

    There seem to be more than what the news here. He was asked about the people in Waziristan, which is a place our terrorist brothers live. This activist might be a partner either with ISI or terrorists or a double agent. Truth will never come out and this half news site repeat the same for the next few years.


  • Legend
    Feb 14, 2014 - 9:14PM

    This guy was kidnapped by Black-water agents, to embarrass the Pakistani Army


  • White Russian
    Feb 14, 2014 - 9:36PM

    A bitter lesson (for those who allow themselves to be used by secret agencies): Get used and vanish. Respect your leash and never try to break loose. This guy rendered tremendous service to his mentors when it was time to show the door to CIA operations in Pakistan. But this somehow got to his head and he took the whole thing too seriously. Is there any doubt anymore about the staged and phony nature of anti-drone, anti-american activism in Pakistan.


  • Striver
    Feb 14, 2014 - 10:19PM

    States play dirty games with each other. No one plays a dirtier game with any other state than with Pakistan. You name any major spy agency and it will have grown its tentacles in Pakistan since the Soviet and then the American invasion of Afghanistan.

    Why do the play the dirtiest with Pakistan? Why is Pakistan’s geopolitical location important to these agencies? Within that question lies your answer. But seek deeper and the more intriguing facts. The mind boggles. No conspiracy theories I promise.

    Why in your first reaction you point the finger as Pakistan’ spy agency? It could be someone-else. After all you can buy police uniforms at local shops in certain areas. Recommend

  • Khadim Karrar
    Feb 14, 2014 - 10:40PM

    Suspects are considered guilty until tortured to prove innocent. Recommend

  • Justice Miscarried
    Feb 14, 2014 - 11:05PM

    Law enforcement agencies please renounce torture and cause due process of law for conviction, thanks!Recommend

  • Ahmed - Karachi
    Feb 14, 2014 - 11:17PM

    Takes real courage to step up against injustice despite the threat of harassment. May Allah help him in hi pursuit of justice and keep him safe. Ameen.


  • Mir Khan
    Feb 14, 2014 - 11:21PM

    khan shb sorry for ur brother and son.europians do get it but its a trade orianrared in peace to ur loved ones. strong text


  • pretty lair
    Feb 15, 2014 - 9:14AM

    he is from wazirastan living in isb, , he was about to go to europy parliment,,, suddenly disappeared but nobody come to know,,, again suddenly re appears telling some story… i don’t believe in this man..


  • naeem khan Manhattan,Kansas
    Feb 16, 2014 - 1:56AM

    We know who are involved in kidnapping and torture. It is such a lawless country that no one is safe unless you do their bidding,they are ones the who created this monster for strategic depth in the first place and now the innocent citizens of Pakistan are paying the price for it . We also know that Musharraf and Zardari were in cahoots with the Americans and now MNS has extended his blessing to kill his own citizens in the Tribal areas. We knew all along that Pakistan was a subservient State to USA with nuclear weapons and it stays the same and now acts like some banana republic. I have been saying it loudly that people deserve what they have put-in in Islamabad. Recommend

  • naeem khan Manhattan,Kansas
    Feb 16, 2014 - 2:05AM

    Yeah, so could that be, please enlighten us.


  • believer
    Feb 16, 2014 - 7:45AM

    @Justice Miscarried:
    he is free to talk infront of allah, not in pakistan


  • sohail khan
    Feb 16, 2014 - 12:19PM

    …….and why you people are silent on the strong allegations of extra judicial killings, tortures and abductions of MQM workers by LAE in Karachi. Are not they pakistanis? If people of karachi are not being ruled under the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Why we do not raise voice.


  • Shahzad
    Feb 16, 2014 - 1:22PM

    Looks like we are going to reverse the proxy war policy so all you closet warriors watch your back. They have been raids on JI dominated sleeper cells in Karachi and Lahore universities plus choking of source of funds , writing is on the wall.


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