A three-member inquiry commission investigating the veracity of a "police encounter" that resulted in the killing of Naseemullah, better known as Naqeebullah Mehsud, held its first session on Friday during which Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Malir Rao Anwar recorded his statement.
The commission also recorded statements by civil society activists Jibran Nasir and Hashim Khan.
Additional Inspector General (AIG) of Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Dr Sanaullah Abbasi, who is the head of the inquiry commission, told the media that the committee was now headed towards Central Jail to interrogate a prisoner who is expected to have information about Naqeebullah.
When asked about whether the committee will question Naqeebullah's family, Abbasi said that summons had been sent to the deceased's relatives and they will be questioned once they reach Karachi, adding that they already "heard the family's version from the media".
SSP Anwar, who is facing the inquiry over the alleged extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah on Jan 13, said that he had submitted the case's evidence, including the FIR, to the committee.
He added that the witnesses of the kidnapping case, in which Naqeebullah was allegedly nominated, will also record their statements.
'Allegations are politically motivated'
SSP Anwar arrived at the office of the deputy inspector general (DIG) of Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) on Friday afternoon where he also spoke to the media briefly. The SSP said that Mehsud, whose name is Naseemullah on his national identity card, was nominated in a 2014 first information report (FIR) of a kidnapping incident registered in Sachal police station and was on the run.
He said that "militants" named Abid Machhar, Irshad Masood, Maulvi Yar Mohammad along with four "unidentified terrorists" had also been named in the FIR. He claimed that Mehsud's criminal activities were on record; however, certain elements were trying to present the latter as an innocent citizen to "frame" Anwar for political reasons.
"Those who work [honestly] have to bear such allegations and challenges," he said, adding that he was being targeted by some "political elements".
"He was 100 per cent a terrorist," Anwar claimed, alleging that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) was trying to malign him because he had lodged two FIRs against PTI member Haleem Adil Sheikh.
Talking to the media earlier, DIG East-Zone Sultan Ali Khowaja, who is a member of the inquiry committee, said that Mehsud's familly had also been ordered to appear before the commission. He added that the committee will submit a report to Sindh Inspector General in three days.
The DIG refused to comment on the incident, claiming that nothing could be said until the investigation is complete. However, he said that anyone with information regarding the incident can come forward since it is an open inquiry.
He assured that the investigation would be transparent and the commission would not tolerate any external pressure.
Murder or encounter?
On January 13, Anwar claimed to have killed a Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan's (TTP) militant in an "encounter" in the Shah Latif Town area of Karachi.
However, Mehsud's family disputed the SSP's claim and said that the 27-year-old, who hailed from Waziristan, was interested in modelling and had no links with any militant organisation.
The killing triggered widespread uproar on the social media as both relatives and friends said that Naqeebullah had nothing to do with militancy as he was keenly interested in art work and modelling and he was picked up by members of law enforcement agencies from his clothes’ shop in Sohrab Goth earlier in January and was subsequently killed in a `police encounter’.
Though Anwar stuck to his story, Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal took notice and directed the DIG police South Sultan Khawaja to head an investigation personally.
Inspector General (IG) of Police Sindh A.D Khawaja formed a three-member inquiry committee to be headed by Additional IG of CTD Dr Sanaullah Abbasi. The other members also include DIG East-Zone Sultan Ali Khowaja and DIG South-Zone Azad Khan.
Regarding terms of reference of the committee, a notification issued by DIG Headquarters Munir Ahmed Shaikh said that the panel would “assess and conduct genuineness of the encounter of Malir police and to dig out the profile of the deceased namely Naseemullah alias Naqeeb Mehsud”.