The police have been directed to register a murder case against the then chief of America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Islamabad for a drone strike in 2009 that killed several innocent civilians in North Waziristan.
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued the directives on Tuesday to the Islamabad police chief while hearing a contempt plea filed by a North Waziristan resident.
The petitioner, Kareem Khan, from Mir Ali town, had lost his teenage son Zahinullah and brother Asif Iqbal in the CIA drone attack on December 31, 2009. He has nominated CIA’s former station chief Jonathan Banks and then general counsel John Rizzo.
The judge ordered the Islamabad IGP to comply with the 2014 court orders, directing the Secretariat police station SHO to register the case and submit a compliance report to the registrar office.
On the previous hearing, the court had given two weeks to the police chief to submit a report on the plea seeking registration of a case against a police official for defying court orders.
On Tuesday, the IGP himself appeared before the judges and sought more time to comply with the orders. He told the bench the issue was sensitive and the police needed time to formally register the case. The court, however, declined the request.
The petitioner had sought contempt proceedings against the Secretariat SHO for not registering a murder case against the CIA officials for their alleged role in drone strikes.
Days before he was due to testify before the European Parliament in February last year, Khan had been ‘picked up’ from his home. But he was recovered after the Lahore High Court took notice of his disappearance.
On December 14, 2010, Khan had asked the Islamabad police to lodge an FIR against the CIA station chief, but his request was not entertained. He approached a sessions court, which refused his request as well. The anti-drone activist then filed an application in the IHC, which took up the case.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2015.