• Local CIA chief may face case against drone attacks

      December 01, 2010
      Print : National

      ISLAMABAD: The station chief of the CIA in Pakistan, Jonathan Banks, is on business visa and does not enjoy diplomatic immunity, the fact that will possibly haunt him in Islamabad in the days to come as a resident of North Waziristan is all set to sue him in the court of law for drone attacks that killed the near and dear ones of the tribal resident.

      US Embassy spokesman Alberto Rodriguez, when contacted, though declined to discuss the status of Jonathan Banks’s stay in Pakistan, a Foreign Ministry source confided to this correspondent that Banks’s name is not reflected in the list of US diplomats, who enjoy diplomatic immunity under the international law.

      A resident of North Waziristan Kareem Khan served legal notice on Jonathan Banks on Monday and demanded a compensation of $500 million for the killing of his son Zaenullah and brother Asif Iqbal in a drone attack that killed three persons in Mir Ali, North Waziristan on December 31, 2009.

      Barrister Shahzad Akbar, who represents Kareem Khan, while confirming that the local CIA’s name can be put on the ECL for not enjoying the diplomatic immunity, said he would soon file civil suits against the CIA top official in Pakistan both in the lower court as well as in the superior courts.

      Kareem Khan, who claims to be a journalist, has also served legal notices on US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates and Director CIA Leon Panetta besides Jonathan Banks, who reportedly resides in the US embassy in Islamabad.

      According to Barrister Shahzad Akbar, after Kareem Khan’s press conference on Monday many more from the tribal areas are contacting him to become party in the same suit against the American Defence Secretary and the CIA senior officials for the drone attacks that have already killed more than 1,000 innocent people in Pakistan.

      Kareem has already requested the Interior Ministry to put the name of Jonathon Banks on the ECL besides, seeking from the chief justice a suo moto notice of the case. Kareem had announced that he would initiate both criminal and civil proceedings against the US authorities for the killing of the innocent people by the drone attacks. Kareem’s counsel revealed that he is also considering filing a separate case in the US against the drone attacks for which he is in search of an American-Pakistani, who lost any of his relation in the drone attacks.

      In a strange coincidence, this legal proceeding against the top US defence and CIA officials have started within a few days when a US court had summoned top officials of Pakistani spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and others as the alleged masterminds of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in response to a case filed by relatives of two American victims.

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