ISLAMABAD - Complying with the court orders, Islamabad police on Wednesday registered a case against former CIA station chief Islamabad Jonathan Banks over the death of three Pakistanis in a US drone strike in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) back in 2009 but immediately referred the matter to the concerned police station in NWA for registration of the same case and subsequent investigation over there, arguing the incident in question did not occur in its jurisdiction.

According to a copy of the FIR exclusively available with this scribe, Secretariat police Islamabad registered the case on Wednesday April 29, 2015 (FIR # 91) under section 302, 109 and 427 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). Islamabad High Court had on April 7, 2015 on a petition filed by Karim Khan son of Mir Gul Jan, resident of Village Machi Khel Tehsil Mir Ali, NWA, had directed the IG Islamabad police to register case against the former CIA station chief over the death of petitioner’s son Zahinullah Khan; brother Asif Iqbal and a mason Khaliq Dad in a US drone strike in 2009 in NWA. However, the police kept the matter lingering on maintaining that it could harm Pak-US diplomatic relations. IG Islamabad also maintained before the court that the incident did not occur in its jurisdiction and that Foreign Office was also a party in the matter and it was important to know its stance. However, IHC judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui asked IG police Tahir Alam Khan to register the FIR against ex-CIA station chief with Islamabad’s Secretariat Police Station and submit a report to the court within two days. Karim Khan had filed an application in the IHC in 2010, seeking registration of an FIR with the Secretariat Police Station against Jonathan Banks and the police station had then refused Karim’s request to register the FIR.

Subsequent to the registration of the FIR, the police in its report maintained that it had already sent the case file to Secretary FATA through ASI Zafar Iqbal and the report was submitted in the court but the court on April 7 again ordered registration of the FIR in the police station. It said that complying with the court orders, the police registered the case on April 29. As, the police maintained, the investigation into the matter had already been conducted and it transpired that the incident, if any, had occurred in North Waziristan (police mentions South Waziristan in the FIR). So under rule 25-8 (3) of Police Rules 1934, the case file is transferred to the concerned police station in North Waziristan (police again mentions South Waziristan in the FIR) through Secretary FATA for registration of a case and investigation over there. Rule 25-8 (3) deals with a controversy arising out of area of jurisdiction in a police case. The copy of file, the police further said, would also be sent to the concerned court (IHC) under Rule 25-7 of Police Rules.  The complainant had requested for registration of FIR against CIA station chief and others but the police nominated only the station chief in the FIR. It also mentioned South Waziristan Agency in the FIR contrary to the fact that the complainant was a resident of NWA and the incident also occurred over there.

A convict under section 302 which deals with intentional and deliberate murder is punished with death or imprisonment for life. Section 109 of PPC deals with abetment in crime and an abettor of an offence shall be liable to punishment of ta’zir specified for such offence including death. Section 427 of the PPC deals with mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees and whoever commit mischief and thereby causes loss or damage to the amount of fifty rupees or upwards, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both. Banks had left Pakistan in December 2010 after his identity was disclosed. A civil judge in Islamabad had earlier dismissed Karim’s application observing that since the drone attack had occurred in FATA, the Islamabad court could not assume jurisdiction in the matter.

According to the contents of the FIR, the applicant had asked the Secretariat police to register a case against former CIA station chief who was then residing and working in territorial jurisdiction of the police station for murder of his son and brother. Karim said he is a permanent resident of FATA. On the night of 31st December, 2009 approximately about 2100 hours, his ancestral house situated at village Machi Khel was attacked with missiles fired by drone which is believed to be operated by CIA Virginia, USA. At the time of attack, three people were present in the ‘Hujra’ who died due to the attack. One was his brother, Asif Iqbal (CNIC# 21505-4498443-1); his son Zahinullah Khan (CNIC# 21505-3441001-1) and a third person Khaliq who was a mason and had come from Lakky Marwat and was staying in his Hujra. He said the drone attack also destroyed his property completely. He further maintained in the application to the police that CIA chief was responsible for the murder of his son and brother — both government employees. He maintained that in his case, it was Jonathan Banks and his clandestine network which threw a GPS device on behest of the accused at his ancestral Hujra and conspired the missile attack. He said the name of the remote pilot of the said drone and others involved are yet not known but can be ascertained through interrogation of Jonathan Banks.

He said Banks was then residing and operating from the US embassy in Diplomatic Enclave Islamabad which was a clear violation of diplomatic norms and law as a foreign mission cannot be used for any criminal activity within a sovereign state. He said Banks is guilty of committing an offence u/s 302, 319, 109 of the PPC. He had at that time also asked the police to ask interior ministry to put Banks’ name of ECL so that he could not flee from Pakistan. Karim requested the police to register a case against Banks and others for murder of his son and brother.