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Today's Top News
In Protest Against Unending Drone Attacks, Pakistani Party 'Unmasks' CIA Station Chief
Political party of Imran Khan accuses CIA chief John Brennan of murder and calls for arrest of agency top spy in the country
The political party of Imran Khan, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has reportedly 'unmasked' the identity of the CIA station chief in Pakistan, demanding he not be allowed to leave the country and stand trial for murder and war crimes for his role in the continued U.S drone attacks there.
As the Guardian reports:
The [PTI] named a man it claimed was head of the CIA station in Islamabad in a letter to police demanding he be nominated as one of the people responsible for a drone strike on 21 November, which killed five militants including senior commanders of the Haqqani Network.
John Brennan, the CIA director, was also nominated as an "accused person" for murder and "waging war against Pakistan".
According to the Associated Press:
CIA spokesman Dean Boyd would not confirm the Islamabad station chief's name and declined to immediately comment. The Associated Press is not publishing the name given by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party because it could not verify its authenticity.
Shireen Mazari, the party's information secretary, called for the station chief and CIA director John Brennan to be tried for murder and waging war against Pakistan in connection with a recent drone strike in northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. She claimed the station chief did not enjoy diplomatic immunity.
If the man's identity is confirmed it will be the second time anti-drone campaigners in Pakistan have outed the identity of a top US spy in Pakistan. As the Washington Post reports:
The names of two previous CIA station chiefs in Islamabad were exposed during a six-month stretch three years ago. In one case the CIA officer became a target of death threats after his cover was blown, forcing the agency to rush him out of the country.
And the New York Times adds:
... the move is expected to infuriate American officials, who had to recall a previous C.I.A. station chief in 2010 after he was identified in the local news media, also in relation to a legal suit brought by anti-drone campaigners.
But while that outing was blamed on smoldering tensions between the C.I.A. and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency, this time it appears to be driven more by Mr. Khan’s increasingly confrontational stance against drone strikes.
In an appearance on a television talk show on Wednesday evening, Mr. Khan said he had named the station chief essentially to punish the C.I.A. for a deadly drone strike this month in the province his P.T.I. party controls, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Now, he said, it was up to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government to take the next step against the American spy agency.
In recent weeks, he had threatened to cut off NATO supply traffic passing through Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on the way to Afghanistan. That statement came after the American drone strike that killed the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud.
Mr. Khan has been a leading advocate of ceasing military action against the Pakistani Taliban, despite the fact that Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is the region hardest hit by militant violence.