ISLAMABAD- Islamabad’s High Court on Thursday ordered police to press charges against the CIA’s former station chief for murder, conspiracy and waging war against Pakistan.
Judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui issued the orders following a 2010 court petition by drone activist Kareem Khan, whose brother and teenage son were killed in a US drone strike in North Waziristan tribal district.
The former top spy left Pakistan in December 2010 after his identity was disclosed through the court case, and there is little expectation Islamabad will seek his return to face charges.
“Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of Islamabad High Court ordered today registration of a criminal case for offences of murder, conspiracy, waging war against Pakistan and offences under the provisions of Terrorism Act 1997,” against the ex-chief, a statement by Khan’s lawyers said.
Khan is being provided legal assistance by the Foundation for Fundamental Rights, a charity associated with Britain’s Reprieve.
“Today’s order is a victory for all those innocent civilians that have been killed in US-led drone strikes in Pakistan,” he said.
“We are fighting this legal battle since 2010 and the police was reluctant to pursue our case but finally we did it, we won the war,” Mirza Shahzad Akbar, his lawyer, added.
Khan, who is also a freelance journalist, lost his teenage son Zahinullah and brother Asif Iqbal in a drone strike on December 31, 2009.
He was briefly kidnapped from Rawalpindi in February this year days before he was due to travel to Europe to speak with German, Dutch and British parliamentarians about his personal experience with drone strikes and the impact they are having on his country.
He was released four days later blindfolded and dumped on a roadside at the outskirts of Islamabad, with Pakistani intelligence agencies suspected of being behind the detention.
According to an AFP tally, 2,155 people have been killed in drone attacks since August 2008, with critics charging that the strikes cause many civilian casualties.
The last drone attack on Pakistani soil occurred on December 25, 2013, killing three suspected militants. According to media reports the strikes have been temporarily halted at the Pakistani government’s request.