ISLAMABAD: The capital police on Thursday registered a murder case against former CIA station chief Jonathan Banks, who is currently heading the US agency’s counter terrorism programme in Langley, Virginia.
Following the direction of Islamabad High Court (IHC), Secretariat police formally registered a murder case against Banks for his alleged role in a surgical strike that killed the family members of an anti-drone activist.
The case was registered under sections 302 (murder) 109 (Punishment of abettment) and 427(Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) of Pakistan Penal Code PPC. However, police refused to proceed with the case, on the ground that the case did not fall within its jurisdiction and referred the matter to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas secretariat.
On April 6, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, of IHC directed Secretariat police to register a case against the former CIA official, in response to a contempt application filed by Haji Abdul Karim Khan, a native of Mirali, North Waziristan, against the police for non-compliance with the court’s orders to register the case against the former official. The complainant’s son Zahinullah and brother Asif Iqbal, and other civilians were killed in a drone attack on December 31, 2009.
Station House Officer, Secretariat police Muhammad Nawaz Bhatti, confirmed to The Express Tribune, that police has registered a murder case but will not proceed further. Bhatti said that matter has been transferred to Fata secretariat as it did not fall in its jurisdiction. “FIR was registered on the direction of IHC but Islamabad police will not proceed with it under police rules 1923.” According to the FIR, the complainant’s family was residing in Fata. However, on March 31, 2009 his house was attacked through drone strikes that killed innocent civilians which are believed to be operated by CIA from Langley, Virginia. “Former CIA chief is responsible for the death of innocent civilians including my son Zahinullah and brother Asif Iqbal,” stated the complainant in the FIR.
Mirza Shahzad Akbar, the counsel for the victim, said that police cannot transfer or quash the case before submitting a report in the court. He said that former CIA chief was residing in Islamabad and he was operating from the capital, therefore the case should be proceeding in the capital.
Akbar said that he will file a fresh petition in IHC next week against the police for transferring the case to Fata. Akbar said that police have not inserted Fata charges in the FIR which was ‘surprising’.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2015.
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