Anti-drone campaigner kidnapped from Rawalpindi: lawyer

Published February 11, 2014
Kareem Khan (2R) and his lawyer Mirza Shehzad Akbar (2L) attend a protest against US drone attacks, in front of parliament in Islamabad on December 9, 2010. — File Photo by AFP
Kareem Khan (2R) and his lawyer Mirza Shehzad Akbar (2L) attend a protest against US drone attacks, in front of parliament in Islamabad on December 9, 2010. — File Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: An anti-drone campaigner, from North Waziristan, has “disappeared” from the city of Rawalpindi days before he was due to testify before European parliamentarians, his lawyer said Monday, accusing the country's intelligence agencies of illegal kidnapping.

Kareem Khan, whose brother and teenage son were killed in a drone attack in December 2009, was picked up at his home by security forces in the early hours of February 5 and has not been heard from since, Shahzad Akbar, a lawyer representing him said.

Akbar said 15 to 20 men, some wearing police uniform and others in plain clothes, seized Khan, who is involved in legal proceedings against Pakistan over the deaths of his relatives.

“We lodged a report with the local police but they denied having picked him up. I checked with the central office of the police and they have no such arrest in their record, it seems to be work of the intelligence agencies,”Akbar said.

“The men did not disclose their identities and no reason was given for the detention. Mr Khan's wife and young children were present at the time, as was a neighbour,” he added.

A senior police official who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity surrounding the case denied the force had arrested Khan, who is in his fifties and hails from the North Warizistan tribal area.

“The Rawalpindi police has not arrested anybody from the tribal area, in fact we had no 'raid' on record on that night,” the official said.

Khan had filed a case against the Pakistani government petitioning the court against drones strikes, arguing they constitute murder under domestic law.

The next hearing date before the Islamabad High Court is scheduled for Tuesday.

He was also due to travel to Europe this Saturday to speak with German, Dutch and British parliamentarians about his personal experience with drone strikes and the impact they are having on his country.

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