The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Friday took suo motu notice of the alleged extrajudicial murder of Naqeebullah Mehsud in Karachi.
Taking notice of the issue, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar asked the Sindh IGP to submit a report within seven days.
Naqeebullah, a 27-year-old hailing from South Waziristan, was allegedly among four suspects killed in an 'encounter' with a police team headed by Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Rao Anwar in the Usman Khaskheli Goth on the outskirts of the metropolis last week.
So far, however, no evidence has emerged about any crime being committed — notwithstanding police allegations, specifically those made by SSP Anwar.
Editorial: Murder or encounter?
On Thursday, the Sindh home minister had taken notice of Naqeebullah’s death and ordered the DIG police South to personally conduct an inquiry.
A committee comprising the Inspector General Police (IGP) Counter-terrorism Department (CTD) Sanaullah Abbasi and DIGs South and East was also formed on Thursday, on the directives of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, to investigate the alleged "staged encounter".
SSP Anwar appeared before the committee on Friday and submitted 'evidence' supporting his claim that Naqeebullah was a Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan's (TTP) militant.
"He was 100 per cent a terrorist," Anwar reiterated while speaking to the media on Friday.
'Not a terrorist'
A statement reportedly issued by a spokesman of TTP's South Waziristan chapter, however, has termed SSP Anwar's claim as "baseless", saying that Naqeebullah had no links with the banned militant outfit.
Naqeebullah — whose name is given as Naseemullah on his national identity card — was a shop owner fond of modelling, relatives of the deceased had said soon after reports of his death came to fore.
A relative, who did not wish to be named, had told Dawn that Naqeebullah was allegedly taken away by men in plainclothes from his clothing shop in Sohrab Goth earlier this month. He said the deceased had previously worked at a petrol pump at Hub Chowki in Balochistan and "had no association with any militant outfit".
'He was a militant'
SSP Anwar has maintained that Naqeebullah was involved in major acts of terrorism and was residing in an apartment on Abul Hassan Ispahani Road. The SSP has also issued a document detailing Naqeebullah's path to militancy.
According to the police officer, Naqeebulah was born on January 1, 1991, in a village of South Waziristan's Makeen tehsil. He allegedly received religious education from a madressah.
He was reported to be a brother-in-law of Sher Dawood, a commander of the TTP, who motivated him to join the banned outfit. He allegedly received physical and weapons training in 2007/2008 at a TTP camp in Miranshah.
Naqeebulah was also associated with TTP commander Sanaullah Mehsud, SSP Anwar had claimed, who survived a “suicide attack” on Tuesday evening.
“He was a close aide of a TTP commander, Wahab, who was involved in the bombing at Karsaz during slain PPP leader Benazir Bhutto's rally on October 18, 2007," claimed SSP Anwar.
The ‘encounter specialist’
Rao Anwar, called the ‘encounter specialist’ by some, is known for carrying out 'encounters' of controversial nature against outlaws and has claimed in the past to have killed militants belonging to various terrorist organisations and the then-Mohajir Qaumi Movement activists during his raids.
The majority of such cases have remained unquestioned, apart from a few where the families of those shot dead have moved the court.