Naqeebullah murder case: Eyewitness claims 'false' statement was taken under duress

Updated 14 May 2018

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Former Malir SSP Rao Anwar arrives at the ATC court. — Screengrab
Former Malir SSP Rao Anwar arrives at the ATC court. — Screengrab

A witness in a case pertaining to the extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud in a police encounter told the court on Monday that a statement establishing the presence of former Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Malir Rao Anwar at the site of the murder was extracted under duress, and that the witness had not been present at the time of the encounter.

Anwar, 11 of his detained subordinates and 14 absconders, have been accused of abducting the Waziristan native shopkeeper and aspiring model Naqeebullah for ransom and later killing him, along with three other detainees, in a staged encounter in Karachi's Malir area on January 13.

Jahangir Shahzada, a head constable, was presented in the Anti-Terrorism Court today by the prosecution as an eyewitness to the staged encounter allegedly led by Anwar. He had previously affirmed the prosecution's version of events.

Dawn Investigation: Rao Anwar and the killing fields of Karachi

Shahzada's written statement, which had been recorded by an oath commissioner, was submitted in court today.

In his statement, he said that at the time of the encounter, he had been posted in Memon Goth and had nothing to do with the incident.

"I received a call from the SP Office on February 17. When I went there on February 18, I was arrested" his statement read.

There, he said, he had been intimidated, threatened, and tortured by police personnel to provide a statement which was not based on facts, since he had not been present at the time of the encounter.

He added that his life was in danger and requested the court to provide him security.

Rao Anwar was also produced before the ATC today.

Despite earlier criticism by members of the Mehsud tribal jirga over Anwar appearing in court accompanied by a protocol and without handcuffs, the former SSP showed up again today with an entourage, and without handcuffs.

His counsel Amir Mansoob Qureshi presented arguments against the former SSP's ongoing detention at Malir Cantonment's Multan Lines area, which has been declared a sub-jail due to reported threats to his life.

Anwar's lawyer had moved an application seeking bail in connection to the murder case of Naqeebullah and three others which had been registered at the Sachal police station.

The bail plea submitted by Anwar's lawyer claimed that the murder case against the former SSP was, in fact, a 'case of no evidence' and a product of professional rivalry.

The hearing of the case was adjourned until May 19 after the defence pointed out that the copies of the plea provided by the court were incomplete.