Pakistan files murder case against former CIA head for drone strikes
Demonstrators shout anti-US slogans during a protest against drone attacks in Pakistan's tribal region, in Multan on Dec. 6, 2012. (AFP/File)
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Pakistani police have filed a murder case against the former CIA head in Islamabad for his alleged role in deaths caused by drone strikes.
After an order from Islamabad High Court last month, the CIA's Jonathan Banks will face charges for the killing of two civilians in a strike in the northwestern North Waziristan province in 2009.
The case has been pushed by anti-drone activist Karim Khan, whose son and brother were killed, since 2010 after he became frustrated with the government's reluctance to file charges.
Banks was withdrawn as the CIA station chief in Islamabad in 2010 after local media published his name, blowing his cover.
According to Barrister Shahzad Akbar, the police have transferred the investigation to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas Secretariat, which deals with the seven semi-autonomous tribal areas in northwestern Pakistan.
Police said this was because the deaths did not happen within Islamabad's jurisdiction but Akbar called the move a bid to "spoil the case."
“We will go to the court against the transfer of the investigation. This is a completely illegal act,” he told reporters.
More than 3,450 people have been killed in 416 drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004. According to international think tanks and human rights groups, including Amnesty international and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 70 percent of drone victims were unarmed civilians.
The U.S. government had previously denied the killing of civilians in drone strikes because of their purported "precision."
Last week however, U.S. President Barack Obama publicly apologized for the killing of an American and an Italian hostage who had been "inadvertently" killed in a strike on a suspected al-Qaeda compound in January.
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