ISLAMABAD - The anti-drone activist, who had gone missing on February 5 last from Rawalpindi in mysterious circumstances, reached home on Friday.
Sources of law enforcement agencies as well as the family of the missing person, Karim Khan, confirmed the reunion. However, none of them has any idea who were the captives and what had made them kidnap Karim who had lost his brother and son in 2009 as a result of a drone attack. It was then Karim Khan who kicked off an anti-drone campaign and sued both the CIA and government of Pakistan.
“Karim Khan has come back this morning. It seems the kidnappers have tortured him as he cannot even stand easily on his feet,” Karim’s lawyer told The Nation on Friday.
Shehzad Akbar, the victim’s lawyer, told media men that he was abandoned blindfold in the jurisdiction of Tarnol police station. He said there were torture marks on his body.
Naseer Abad police SHO Chaudhry Jameel confirmed the report while talking to the media and said that unknown persons aboard a vehicle had dropped him along a road. However, he said Khan is yet to be handed over to the police.
SSP (Operations) Mian Maqbool, when contacted, said they had got the information about his recovery. He said he directed SHO Naseer Abad to confirm the report and contact Khan’s lawyer. Khan had gone missing on February 5. He was reportedly picked up from his residence.
Earlier, Lahore High Court Rawalpindi bench had also issued notices to police directing to inform the court about his whereabouts. Later, the police submitted a report in the court, saying Khan was not in their custody.
The court then sought reply from intelligence agencies and ordered them to produce him on February 20.
His family told police that a group of 15 to 20 men, some in police uniform, had rounded him up and drove him to an unknown destination.
Karim’s lawyer told media on Friday that the kidnappers had interrogated his counsel about some suspects believably living in North Waziristan and his motives behind kicking off the anti-drone strikes campaign.
Karim was scheduled to fly to Belgium to meet legislators hailing from three countries to brief them about the miseries of tribesmen who were living under constant fear of CIA-controlled drone strikes. However, he couldn’t proceed according to his plans as he had fallen prey to unknown kidnappers.
AFP adds: Karim Khan, wearing a black and silver turban, told reporters about his ordeal. “Some armed men in police clothes and plain civil uniform came in my house after midnight and took me with them. They tortured me. They punched me on the head, they slap my arms and they beat me with a stick,” Khan said.
Khan said that he was kept handcuffed throughout the detention and was asked about many names during torture.
“During the torture, they dropped many names and asked me if I know these persons. Some of them were drone victims, others were people he does not know.
“They were speaking different languages - Pashto, Punjabi - it is difficult to say if they were army, police or civilians,” Khan said.
“I can’t say if it was because of the drones or anything else (that I was kidnapped), they were just asking me questions about these people. I still don’t know why they kept me.”
Akbar described Khan as “pretty shaken up” and said he had been “tortured, beaten up, questioned, put in a cell, and handcuffed”.
“He was questioned about names and people in Waziristan. Many names he did not know about. He was questioned about his drone work, and was told not to speak to media otherwise they will come back for them,” Akbar said.