On Nov. 28, Rana Sanaullah, law minister of Punjab, criticized Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leadership in a press conference regarding an official written request PTI filed with the Hangu Police. In the written request – called First Information Report (FIR) – PTI accused US CIA chief John Brennan and the US agency’s Pakistan chief of being criminally responsible for a Nov. 21 drone attack that killed six people.
The FIR said those behind the drone attack that targeted the Afghan insurgent group Haqqani Network within the borders of Hangu district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, should be named as suspects of murder and “waging war against Pakistan”.
But Rana Sanaullah asked why PTI chairman Imran Khan had not mentioned the CIA chief in the First Information Report (FIR) earlier (an FIR on the same drone strike had been filed previously, but did not name any names) if he already had information about the person’s involvement in the drone strike.
“He should have raided the CIA offices now with police as the nation wanted to see the accused behind bars and masses also made an appeal to Imran Khan for such action. The federal government is trying to solve problems by taking nation on board, but PTI leadership is sabotaging this process,” he further said.
On Nov. 21, at least six people were killed in a US drone attack in Hangu. Three out of six were Afghanis and associated with the banned Haqqani Network.
All parties condemned that attack, but PTI, which is also the ruling party in KPK province, announced a physical protest. Imran Khan, chairman of PTI, had also announced that the province would block NATO supply routes through the province until the US stopped its
drone attacks. In the meantime, a FIR against unknown persons was registered in Hangu police station. Later, PTI submitted a letter to the Inspector General Police (IGP) of KPK province alleging that the US CIA chief and the US CIA country head in Pakistan were the main culprits.
Truth Tracker contacted Punjab Assembly opposition leader and PTI stalwart Mehmudur Rashid. He said that PTI showed moral courage by registering the First Information Report (FIR), a document which is taken as a legal charge, in regard to the Hangu attack and said that they had officially requested that the police include the name of CIA country head.
“To arrest the culprits is the next step. Although international laws can create problems, we can try to arrest the alleged persons if federal government allows us,” Mian Mehmud Ur Rashid told Truth Tracker.
Mian Iftikhar Hussain, ANP leader and former provincial minister of KPK, disagreed. Talking with Truth Tracker by phone, Hussain said he did not believe the PTI’s registering of a FIR against the CIA head after the incident was morally courageous.
“Now alteration can’t be made by putting some names in FIR and IG. KPK Police has already clarified it. It looks very strange that the PTI and KPK government knew about the culprit, but in the first FIR there was nothing about the murderers. Now, giving any application to put any name in the FIR seems ridiculous. If the KPK government and the PTI are aware of the culprits and serious about arresting them, it could be done with an Executive order rather than by giving an application to name someone in the FIR. So, giving application to police instead following this process is done with the purpose of merely making a fool out of public,” Hussain said.
Raja Basharat, former Punjab law minister, also spoke with Truth Tracker. He said that this particular FIR was registered under special circumstances, but that it was the responsibility of the police to name the culprit after conducting an investigation.
“Both KPK and the federal government are handling this case politically. The procedure adopted in this case is not normal. The demand of PTI to name the CIA head in the FIR is unlawful. In addition, when the investigation happens and it comes out that the persons killed in that drone attack were not Pakistani, what would be the stance of the KPK government, and what would PTI’s demand stand for?” he asked.
Dr. Tariq of SSP Punjab Police also talked with Truth Tracker. He said a FIR is a report of any incident, and that it is only after an official investigation that suspects can be identified. “Naming names in this particular case is entirely political act,” Tariq said. “Altering the FIR is not allowed at this stage,” he further stated.
Aftab Bajwa, an attorney at the Pakstian Supreme Court, told Truth Tracker that, in this particular case, PTI could get the CIA country head’s name in the FIR by court order rather than merely relying on the police.
In the light of given statements and findings, Truth Tracker finds Rana Sanaullah’s statement as mostly true.