Deaths in drone attack: IHC orders Islamabad police to probe CIA officials
ISLAMABAD: An Islamabad High Court (IHC) bench here on Monday directed Islamabad police to investigate the killings of two innocent civilians in a drone attack by the American Central Investigation Agency (CIA) in Mir Ali, North Waziristan on December 31, 2009.
Petitioner Kareem Khan whose teenage son Zahinullah and brother Asif Iqbal were died in the attack, had been contesting for this case for the last almost 8 years since 2010. After an order dated April 7, 2015 by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC to register an FIR, it was registered against the former CIA station chief in Islamabad Jonathan Banks and former CIA legal counsel John A Rizzo in a drone attack case. Later the FIR was transferred to Fata secretariat.
The petitioner then filed a petition seeking investigation of the case by Islamabad police as in Fata, there exist no law enforcement infrastructure. The petitioner had alleged that the impugned order of police and the district magistrate to transfer the case was based on mala fide and government’s unwillingness to pursue the case.
Initially, Justice Siddiqui on June 5, 2014 ordered registration of FIR against the above said respondents and on April 7, 2015, IHC bench third time directed secretariat police station Islamabad to register the FIR in the contempt of court petition.
FIR was then registered and transferred to Fata secretariat. After the petition was transferred to Fata secretariat, the petitioner once again approached the IHC and today IHC allowed his petition. Justice Siddiqui remarked if Aimal Kasi could be taken away from Pakistan why CIA chief could not be brought back here to face the legal proceedings.
Justice Siddiqui, while addressing the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Mirvais Niaz of the Islamabad police, asked if it was not responsibility of the state to protect its citizens against foreign aggression. He suggested the police officials to have some courage.
IHC judge further said that the matter did not concern the norms of diplomacy but was primarily an issue concerning the right of life of citizens. Setting aside an order to transfer this case to Fata secretariat, IHC bench said that the case should be investigated in Islamabad. Its transfer to Fata secretariat was tantamount to frustrating the court orders.
The bench had also summoned an SHO of secretariat police station Nawaz Bhatti who had alleged in writing that he was transferring the FIR on orders of the high court. Today Bhatti tendered an unconditional apology and said that it was a mistake. The court warned him of any future mistakes.
In 2010, Kareem Khan approached secretariat police to register an FIR against the CIA officials stationed in Islamabad for the killings of his son and brother. After police refused to register an FIR, he then approached the civil court that also did not entertain his application. A civil judge of Islamabad dismissed the application in December 2013 citing lack of jurisdiction as the reason. He then moved an application in the IHC. An IHC bench on June 5, 2014 directed Islamabad police to register FIR.
The petitioner, Kareem Khan, was provided with legal aid by the ‘foundation for fundamental rights’ (FFR), a local chapter of an international NGO ‘Repreive’.
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