KARACHI: An antiterrorism court has fixed a case pertaining to killing of aspiring Waziristan model Naqeebullah Mehsud and three others in an alleged “staged” encounter for indictment of former SSP Rao Anwar and around 17 other detained police officials on March 5.
The then SSP Malir Rao Anwar, the then DSP Qamar Ahmed Shaikh along with their 13 detained and seven absconding subordinates have been booked for allegedly killing four men in a fake shoot-out after declaring them militants associated with Daesh and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi in Shah Latif Town on Jan 13, 2018.
On Tuesday, the matter came up for hearing before the ATC-III judge, who is conducting the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison.
Former SSP Rao, the main suspect in the case, appeared amid tight security and protocol of several police mobile escorts despite his retirement from the police force, while other suspects were produced from the prison.
At the outset, the special public prosecutor moved an application under Section 21M of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, seeking a joint trial of former SSP Rao and his 17 subordinates, who have been detained or granted bail.
In the plea, the prosecutor mentioned that complainant Khan Mohammad had lodged the first FIR (40/2018) regarding kidnapping for ransom, unlawful detention and murder of his son Naseebullah, better known as Naqeebullah Mehsud, and other victims against the then SSP Malir Rao Anwar and his subordinates at the Shah Latif Town police station.
He further mentioned that former investigating officer SSP Abid Qaimkhani had filed a ‘B’ class report before the court, declaring that the victims were innocent and the five criminal cases registered by the team of former SSP Malir and his team were bogus.
Later, the trial court had accepted the B class report, he added.
The prosecutor said the former IO had also lodged the second FIR (142/2018) against Rao Anwar and other police officials for foisting on the victims false recoveries of illicit arms, ammunition and explosives under Sections 3 and 4 of the Explosives Act and Section 21-I(A) of the Sindh Arms Act, 2013.
Therefore, the prosecutor argued that since both the cases were interconnected as they pertained to the same incident, therefore, both the cases may be amalgamated for a joint trial.
Advocate Amir Mansoob Qureshi, defence counsel for Rao Anwar, gave his consent for allowing the prosecutor’s application for clubbing the cases for joint trial.
However, defence counsel for some other suspects opposed the plea and requested the court to hear their arguments before allowing the plea.
The judge fixed the matter for hearing arguments from the counsel for the complainant as well as other defence counsel for all suspects on March 5.
However, the judge also fixed the matter for indictment of the suspects on the next date, observing the amalgamated charge would be framed if the prosecutor’s plea was allowed, otherwise, the same would be framed separately in both cases.
Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2019