ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) referred to the district and sessions judge of Islamabad on Tuesday a case relating to registration of a first information report (FIR) against CIA station chief over the death of two tribesmen in a US drone attack.
The directive was issued by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC on a petition filed by Karim Khan, a native of North Waziristan, who is seeking registration of an FIR against CIA station chief Jonathan Banks for killing his son and a brother in a 2009 drone attack.
Ironically, Mr Khan has allegedly been picked up by security agencies from Rawalpindi. He was making preparations to go to Brussels to narrate his ordeal before the European Parliament on Feb 15.
A petition against the disappearance of Mr Khan has been filed by his brother-in-law in the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) Rawalpindi bench. Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan will take up the petition on Wednesday (today).
Mr Khan, a native of Mirali, North Waziristan, had filed an application in the IHC in 2010, seeking registration of an FIR with the Secretariat police station in Islamabad.
He stated in the application that his brother Asif Iqbal and son Zaheenullah were killed in a drone strike in 2009 when Jonathan Banks was CIA station chief in Islamabad.
He said he had requested the Secretariat police to register an FIR against Mr Banks but they refused to do so. Then he filed a case under section 22-A with the civil court of Islamabad, requesting that police be directed to register the FIR.
Citing lack of jurisdiction as the reason, a civil judge of Islamabad dismissed the application in Dec 2013. The judge observed that since the drone attack had occurred in the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas, the Islamabad court could not assume jurisdiction in the matter.
Then the petitioner filed an appeal with the IHC. He has been provided legal aid by the Foundation for Fundamental Rights, the local chapter of international NGO Reprieve. The foundation’s director, Mirza Shehzad Akbar, pleaded the case of Mr Khan before the IHC. He argued that the drone strike had taken place in North Waziristan but the FIR could be registered in Islamabad because the CIA station chief was based there.
He said the decision of the civil judge to dismiss Mr Khan’s application on account of territorial jurisdiction was misconceived because under the law the FIR could be registered in Islamabad. In the matter relating to the disappearance of Mr Khan, the LHC bench has issued notices to the Rawalpindi police and sought their reply by Wednesday (today).