ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday issued notices to state and station house officer (SHO) Secretariat police in a petition seeking registration of an FIR against Jonathan Banks, former station chief of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), for his alleged involvement in the brutal killing of the petitioner’s son and brother through a drone strike on December 31, 2009 in a village of North Waziristan.
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui issued the notices and directed the respondents to submit their reply in a petition of Kareem Khan who is a permanent resident of village Machi Khel, Mirali, North Waziristan Agency (NWA).
Khan moved his petition through his counsel Mirza Shahzad Akbar and cited station house officer Secretariat Police Station, superintendent of police (city) Islamabad and ex-officio justice of peace, Islamabad, as respondents.
He stated in petition that on December 14, 2010, he filed an application with the respondent SHO Secretariat police station, Islamabad, for registration of an FIR under section 154 CrPC against Jonathan Banks, then station chief of the CIA who was residing and functioning in the territorial jurisdiction of the said police station in Islamabad, for his alleged involvement in the brutal killing of the petitioner’s son and brother by a drone strike on December 31, 2009 in his ancestral village.
Kareem along with two other victim families, namely Sadaullah Khan and Maezol Khan who suffered similar brutality by the same accused and his accomplices, filed yet another application for registration of an FIR on July 19, 2011 against another participant John A Rizzo, who was general counsel of the CIA in USA and authorised drone strikes till 2009, including the attack that killed Kareem’s son and brother.
“The respondent police station once again received the application but did not register the FIR or investigate the matter at all,” he added. He continued that being aggrieved with the said inaction of police, he moved an application under section 22-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 before the ex-officio justice of peace on 11-02-2012 which was dismissed vide order dated 02-12-2013. The said order of the justice of peace was challenged before the IHC through a writ petition, which was disposed of with the direction to the learned justice of peace to decide the matter afresh considering the relevant provisions referred therein.
“That it was categorically held by this court in order dated 11-02-2014 that relevant provisions of law i.e. sections 180, 182 & 185 of the criminal procedure code and rules 25.4 to 25.8 of the police rules escaped notice the learned justice of peace, therefore, he was directed to decide the case afresh while properly considering the said provisions of law. But the learned justice of peace again, acting in whimsical manner and in utter violation of the directions of this court and following the true spirit of law, dismissed the application of the petitioner vide order dated 11-04-2014,” he maintained before the court.
He said that the learned justice of peace erred in reading of law and facts in his recent order. “The reason given by the justice of peace that the main offence of section 302 PPC doesn’t exist in FATA and therefore the act of conspiracy cannot be probed into in settled areas of Pakistan is a clear misconception of law and procedure. It is a settled principle of criminal jurisprudence that inchoate offences are tried and taken as one and not in piece meal,” argued the counsel.
Mirza Shahzad contended that the petitioner in his first application to the respondent number 1 described Jonathan Banks’ role in the murders of his son and brother.
Specifically, in that application, he explained that it was Jonathan Banks and his clandestine network acting at behest of the accused which threw a GPS (global positioning system) device at the petitioner’s ancestral house in Machi Khel and then conspired with others who ordered that a drone missile strike be conducted at the home, which killed Asif Iqbal (brother of petitioner) and Zahin ullah Khan (son of petitioner).
“Petitioner also believes that the conspiracy to murder his son and brother and many other citizens of Pakistan in NWA was carried out from Islamabad where the accused Jonathan Banks was stationed and was in cahoots with his other accomplices who are scattered in various parts of Pakistan and abroad. It is also believed that the GPS devices and other spying gadgets were distributed by Jonathan Banks, and both his predecessor and successors in Islamabad,” he contended.
He stated that the other accused, and an important participant of this crime, John A Rizzo was, until recently, acting as the general counsel to the CIA. He worked with the CIA as one of their legal counsels from the 1970s and was in that position at the time of the initial drone attacks on Pakistani territory. He was acting as general counsel to the CIA until 2009. He continued to work with the CIA until his retirement and continued to play a role in the conspiracy described below. One of his roles at the CIA was to approve a list of persons to be killed every month in Pakistan through drones. John A Rizzo has already confessed his crime publicly.
Therefore, he prayed to the court that it might pass an order declaring that the impugned order dated 11-04-2014 passed by the respondent justice of peace is devoid of any legal force and is, therefore, set aside.
He further requested that the court might pass an appropriate order to the respondent police authorities for registration of FIR against the accused Jonathan Banks and John A Rizzo.