QUETTA (Staff Report) – Top US authorities have been named in an FIR registered on Sunday in connection with the killing of Muhammad Azam in a drone strike inside the Naushki district of Balochistan.
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Relatives of a taxi driver, who was killed in the US drone strike along with former Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mansour, have registered a case in Pakistan against US officials for the killing.
However, the FIR, lodged on different counts including murder, terrorism and laws that deal with explosives, does not mention any US officials by name. The name of US President, Barrack Obama, was also suggested but later on dropped by the police officials due to “security risks”.
The FIR, a copy of which is available with Daily Pakistan, was lodged at the Levies police station some 30 kilometers away from where the drone struck in the Mal Naushki area of Balochistan, on behalf of Mohammad Qasim, a brother of taxi driver Mohammad Azam, with whom the Afghan Taliban chief traveled from Iran to Pakistan.
“I seek justice in this case. Legal action should be taken against all those US officials responsible for killing my innocent brother in a drone strike near Noshki,” read a statement in the FIR.
It is so far unclear whether Azam knew who he was ferrying across the Pak-Iran border.
The applicant, Muhammad Qasim upheld that his brother was not only an innocent citizen but was also the sole breadwinner of his five-member family.
Muhammad Qasim is quoted in the FIR as saying that he was informed on May 21 at 3:00 pm that his brother’s vehicle was blown up in an explosion that killed him and passenger “Wali Muhammad”, a false name used by Mansour on valid Pakistani travel and identification documents.
The May 21 strike targeting Mansour was perhaps the most high-profile US incursion into Pakistan since the 2011 raid to kill Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Both the bin Laden raid and the Mansour strike sparked strong protests in Islamabad over its sovereignty being violated.
Earlier this week, the Taliban confirmed Mansour’s death in the US drone strike and named one of the slain Taliban leader’s deputies, Mullah Haibatullah Akhunzada, to succeed him as their leader.
Following the strike, US Secretary of State John Kerry said leaders of both Pakistan and Afghanistan were notified of the air strike but he declined to elaborate on the timing of the notifications
He said that he had telephoned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif; however, the Pakistani premier maintains that the call came many hours after the strike.
Reacting to the development after its initial silence, Pakistan termed the US drone strike inside the country’s territory a violation of its sovereignty as well as principles of the United Nations Charter governing the conduct of states.
Pakistan also says Mansour’s killing will prove to be a setback for talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, and for peace in the region as a whole.