An antiterrorism court in Karachi on Thursday declared Naqeebullah Mehsud and three others innocent and quashed the cases filed against the four accused who had been killed in a staged police encounter by notorious encounter specialist former SSP Rao Anwar and his team.
The ATC-III judge in his order declared the police encounter "fake" and observed that the statements of witnesses and the forensic reports have not supported the allegations levelled in the FIRs lodged against Naqeebullah, Mohammad Sabir, Nazar Jan and Mohammad Ishaq after their killing in a staged shootout in Shah Latif Town of Karachi in January last year.
While accepting the police report, the court ruled that the cases were disposed of for being false.
Earlier, police had submitted an investigation report under B-Class [Bogus class] in the five cases lodged against the four victims by the then SHO of Shah Latif Town, Amanullah Marwat, over various counts, including attempted murder and allegedly carrying illicit weapons.
The police report revealed that the encounter was fake and the allegations were baseless. Moreover, the victims were innocent as it was the case of the extrajudicial killings, it added. Subsequently, a case was also lodged against the police party for framing the victims in forged cases.
Last week, the court had dismissed bail applications of 13 former police officials in the cases pertaining to the alleged kidnapping for ransom and killing of the aspiring Waziristan model and three others in the ‘staged’ encounter.
Innocent or a terrorist?
Naqeebullah, who hailed from South Waziristan, was among the four suspects killed in an 'encounter' with a police team headed by former SSP Anwar in the Usman Khaskheli Goth on the outskirts of the metropolis last year.
Anwar had stuck to the claim that the deceased was a Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant but a spokesperson of the outlawed TTP's South Waziristan chapter had termed Anwar's claim as "baseless", clarifying that Naqeebullah had no links with the banned militant outfit.
Naqeebullah's family also disputed the SSP's claim, saying that the 27-year-old had no links with any militant organisation.
Naqeebullah — whose name is given as Naseemullah on his national identity card — was a shop owner fond of modelling, a relative of the deceased had earlier told Dawn.
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 remained unquestioned, apart from the few where the families of those shot dead moved the court.