Naqeebullah Mehsud’s brother has accused the Sindh government of paving way for the acquittal of former Malir SSP Rao Anwar in the case by forcing witnesses against the latter to turn hostile.
Alam Sher, the younger brother of the slain Naseemullah Mehsud, alias Naqeebullah, levelled this allegation against the Sindh government on Sunday as he addressed a news conference at the Karachi Press Club in connection with the death anniversary of his brother who was killed in a fake shoot-out on January 13, 2018. He was accompanied by his attorney Jibran Nasir and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MNA Saifur Rehman.
Raising concerns over the recent events in which witnesses turned hostile in the Naqeebullah murder case, Sher and his attorney said it had all happened with the involvement of the Sindh government and the prosecution who wanted the release of Anwar in the high-profile case.
The former Malir SSP and around 20 of his subordinates have been charged with killing Naqeebullah and three other persons, Sabir, Nazar Jan and Ishaq, in a fake encounter after dubbing them as ‘Taliban militants’.
“The case was registered on behalf of the state, not from the family and if the charges were not proved in the court, the state will lose,” remarked Nasir, who is also a rights activist. The lawyer also criticised the National Accountability Bureau for not entertaining the family’s application to look into the assets of Anwar, saying that the United States and the United Kingdom had imposed travel restrictions on him for human rights abuses and also ordered the freezing of his assets.
Instead of being detained in a jail, he was confined for a short time in the comfort of his own home and given the protocol of a federal minister, Nasir remarked. “Maryam Nawaz, Syed Khurshid Shah, Shehbaz Sharif, etc. can go to jail but Anwar cannot,” he said and asked if the former Malir SSP was above the law.
He added that Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and provincial ministers did not say a single word against Anwar, who, according to police’s own record, had been involved in 444 extrajudicial killings.
“A police officer of the 17th grade [or above] can give permission to officers to open fire but it has been found in many cases that assistant sub-inspectors or personnel below them routinely open fire during encounters,” the lawyer said.
Naqeebullah’s brother thanked on the occasion civil society groups and people who had raised their voices against the murder of his brother.
He demanded of the federal and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governments to complete the construction of colleges named after Naqeebullah in his hometown in South Waziristan.
“The government should honour its pledge and initiate practical work on the project which will help minimise the scale of grievances among the tribal people,” he said. In March 2019, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) had framed charges on Anwar and others for the alleged murder of Naqeebullah and implicating him in bogus cases.
As hue and cry was raised after his murder, police carried out investigations which revealed that Naqeebullah and his friends Hazrat Ali and Qasim were picked up by a police team on January 4, 2018, from a teashop on Abul Hassan Ispahani Road.
They were kept in illegal confinement and tortured. Ali and Qasim were released two days later but Naqeebullah was killed in a fake police encounter on January 13. Anwar claimed that the 27-year-old was a terrorist and was killed with his accomplices during a shoot-out with law enforcers within the jurisdiction of the Shah Latif Town police station. Contrary to Anwar’s repeated claim, no evidence was found for Naqeebullah’s involvement in any terrorist activity.
Regarding the claim of an exchange of gunfire, the examination of the crime scene found that no shots were fired from the inside of the house where the alleged terrorists were supposedly hiding. No hand grenade had been hurled either.