Free Press Journal

Pakistan court orders murder case against CIA ex-officials


Islamabad: A Pakistani court ordered police on Tuesday to register a criminal case against two former CIA officials for the offences of murder, conspiracy, waging war against Pakistan and terrorism.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad High Court issued the order to Islamabad police chief Tahir Alam Khan on a petition filed by a resident of North Waziristan tribal region who lost his son and a brother in a drone attack carried out by the CIA in 2009, Xinhua news agency reported.

On December 31, 2009, Kareem Khan lost his teenaged son Zahinullah and brother Asif Iqbal, who was a primary school teacher in Mirali, North Waziristan Agency, in a drone strike carried out by the CIA, his defence lawyer Mirza Shahzad Akbar said.

The police chief explained that the government was reluctant to register the case against the former CIA station chief in Islamabad Jonathan Banks and CIA legal counsel John A. Rizzo because such an act could possibly jeopardise relations between Pakistan and the US.

After conducting hearing in chambers, Justice Siddiqui rejected the police chief’s pleas and dictated an order directing him to register a criminal case against the CIA officials according to the application of the petitioner and submit a copy of the case to the Islamabad High Court to prove compliance.

Kareem Khan said he started his legal struggle in 2010 and has been pursuing the case ever since. For around five years, the Islamabad police were avoiding proceeding against the CIA officials involved in these killings and hundreds of other killings in the US drone strikes in Pakistan.

Kareem Khan earlier filed cases before the Justice of Peace in Islamabad and Islamabad High Court but so far the Islamabad police had been reluctant to proceed against the CIA officials.

“Today’s order is a victory for all those innocent civilians who have been killed in US-led drone strikes in Pakistan and as a citizen of Pakistan, I feel somewhat reaffirmed that perhaps people like me from Waziristan might also be able to get justice for the wrongs being done to them,” Kareem Khan said after the court issued the order.