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In a letter written to the secretary Sindh Home Department, provincial authorities have been asked to provide protection for two witnesses in the Naqeebullah murder case on court’s orders.

Both witnesses will be provided security under Section-4 of Witness Protection Act, according to which they will be given a security detail of three policemen each. In addition to this, the SSP Malir district has been asked to relocate the said witnesses to a safe location, preferably in the cantonment area.

However, the letter, a copy of which is available with Dawn, mentions that the witness protection programme is not fully functional yet due to non-allocation of funds.

Naqeebullah Mehsud, a South Waziristan resident, was among the four killed in what was later found to be a staged encounter led by then SSP Malir Rao Anwar.

Know more: Mehsud tribesmen call on PM Abbasi to demand arrest of Naqeebullah's killers

Additional Inspector General of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) had later announced that the death of Naqeebullah Mehsud was an extrajudicial killing.

Abbasi, who headed a three-member team investigating Naqeebullah's killing in an 'exchange of fire', assured his kin that Naqeebullah had never been involved in terrorism-related activities as alleged earlier, but had been innocent and was in fact killed in a 'fake encounter'.

On Wednesday, four policemen detained for their involvement in the alleged extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah had pleaded not guilty before a court in Karachi.

Moreover, the court ordered police to arrest 15 absconders in the case, including former SSP Malir Rao Anwar — who has been accused of leading the 'encounter' in which Naqeebullah was killed — by February 16.

According to the prosecution, policemen in plainclothes had picked up Naseemullah, better known as Naqeebullah Mehsud, with his two friends from a tea shop on Abul Hassan Ispahani Road on January 3, kept them in wrongful detention and subjected to torture. Three days later, the two friends were dumped on the Superhighway on the night of January 6.