A Joint Interrogation Team (JIT) formed under the directives of Supreme Court of Pakistan has held former Malir SSP Rao Anwar Ahmed Khan responsible for killing Naqeebullah Mehsud and three others in a “fake encounter” in Karachi on January 13, it emerged on Friday.

A JIT member informed Dawn on the condition of anonymity that the investigation team has "held Rao Anwar guilty of killing an innocent person in a fake encounter".

Dawn has learnt that the JIT — which was led by Additional IG Dr Aftab Pathan — has submitted its findings before the competent authority.

Dawn Investigation: Rao Anwar and the killing fields of Karachi

Naqeebullah Mehsud, a 27-year-old aspiring model hailing from South Waziristan, was killed in an 'encounter' with a police team headed by Rao Anwar in the Usman Khaskheli Goth on the outskirts of the metropolis.

On March 21, the apex court had ordered the formation of a JIT to investigate the alleged encounter. Subsequently, the JIT held different sessions, recorded statement of Rao Anwar, visited various avenues including the place from where Naqeeb was allegedly kidnapped and the encounter place in Shah Latif Town.

Earlier, Additional IG Counter-Terrorism Department Dr Sanaullah Abbasi had said 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'.

A first information report (FIR) was registered against Anwar and other police personnel accused of involvement in the alleged 'encounter'. The murder case was lodged at Sachal police station after the victim's father nominated Anwar and his team in the FIR. According to his statement, eight or nine subordinates of SSP Anwar had taken his son into custody before he was killed.

Pakistan’s chaotic largest city is no stranger to extrajudicial killings, and Rao Anwar is not the only cop who is guilty of the odious practice. SSP Chaudhry Aslam, of course, was among the known practitioners of the tactic until he was killed in a suicide bombing in early 2014.

There are a number of serving police officials that are guilty of the same, although Rao is recognised as being in a class of his own.

According to data from the home department, aside from encounters in which Rao was involved, there were in all of Karachi at least 304 encounters in 2017 resulting in 170 deaths, down from a high of 1,719 such incidents in 2014 with 609 deaths.