A missile fired by the CIA-operated drone hit Mr. Khan’s house on February 08, 2010 and allegedly killed his brother Asif Khan, a teacher of English, his son Zaheenullah, a daily wager and another person known as Haji Omar, a resident of Wana in South Waziristan. Mr. Khan, intriguingly, avoids mentioning Haji Omar and denies he was present in his house at the time of the attack.
Independent sources have yet to confirm whether Haji Omar was killed in the attack but one thing is sure that the man is no more active after the attack. Local people and intelligence men knew him as a facilitator of Uzbek militants in South Waziristan. He reportedly fled South Waziristan after anti-Uzbek Mehsud tribesmen sought him for his alleged support for the notorious Uzbek militants hiding in Waziristan region since US launched military campaign in Afghanistan.
Mr. Khan’s profile makes him an enough suspect. He calls himself a ‘professional’ journalist. Talking to an international news organization in December 2010, he said he was a reporter for ‘Zarb-e-Momin’, ‘Ummat’, ‘Islam,’ ‘Ausaaf’, and contributed to ‘al-Quds’, ‘al-Arabia’, and ‘al-Jazeera’. Pakistani journalists working in the tribal region confirm Mr. Khan’s journalistic affiliation with ‘Zarb-e-Momin’, ‘Ummat’, ‘Islam’, and ‘Ausaaf’ but doubt his claims of working for other media outlets.
The journalistic community, military and militants know well ‘Zarb-e-Momin’. The weekly newspaper is a mouthpiece of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, distributed free in mosques throughout the country during Friday prayers. Its contents are full of hate literature, flaying Pakistan’s political forces, US forces in Afghanistan and drone attacks on safe havens of terrorists in Pakistan’s tribal regions. Its editorials and opinions harangue people to make Pakistan and Afghanistan as ‘Dar-ul-Harb’--a battlefield against infidels.
Pakistani media, ironically, failed to expose that aspect of Mr. Khan’s background and presented him as a hero for his protest against the U.S. and drone attacks. Pakistan’s private TV channels have shown him sitting along with MPs from tribal regions near Parliament House in December 2010. Geo’s Hamid Mir mainly runs the show, beating his rivals with more coverage on such topics.
Encouraged by ‘unseen hands,’ Mr. Khan filed a civil suit in a Pakistani court to seek $500 million in damages from the US government. He also named a CIA Operation Manager, Janathen Banks, in his suit accusing him of ordering drone attack on his house. Analysts later questioned how Mr. Khan came to know and then revealed the name of the CIA spy in his law suit as that was a secret between the governments of Pakistan and the U.S. Mr. Khan himself said his ‘sources’ told him the name of the US spy, who later fled the country fearing legal complications in Pakistan.