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KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Monday indicted former SSP Rao Anwar and his 17 subordinates for killing four men, including aspiring Waziristan model Naqeebullah Mehsud, in a ‘staged’ encounter on Jan 13, 2018.

Then SSP Anwar, then DSP Qamar Ahmed Shaikh along with their 16 detained subordinates were also charged with kidnapping the four men for ransom and then killing them by dubbing them as militants linked to the banned Daesh (the Arabic acronym for the militant Islamic State group) and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, foisting fake recoveries of weapons and explosives and hiding the evidence of the ‘fake’ encounter.

On Monday, the ATC-III judge read out charges against the accused ex-SSP Rao Anwar, ex-DSP Qamar Shaikh and 16 others.

All of them pleaded not guilty and opted to contest the charges. The court directed the prosecution to produce two witnesses, including Naqeeb’s father Khan Mohammad and a judicial magistrate, in court for their testimony on April 11.

The judge also frames charges of kidnapping for ransom, planting fake evidence, etc

The judge charged policemen Mohammad Yaseen, Allahyar Kaka, Ali Akbar Mallah, Mohammad Iqbal, Khizar Hayat, Supurd Hussain, Arshad Ali, Ghulam Nazuk, Abdul Ali, Shafiq Ahmed, Syed Raees Abbas Zaidi and Syed Imran Raza Kazmi — that they at the behest of Rao Anwar in furtherance of common intention abducted Naqeeb, Hazrat Ali and Mohammad Qasim from the Gulsher Agha Hotel on Abul Hassan Ispahani Road, confined them at various places, demanded Rs1 million as ransom from Naqeeb and released Hazrat Ali and Mohammad Qasim on Jan 6, 2018.

They were further charged with keeping Naqeeb in wrongful confinement, knowing that in doing so they were acting contrary to the law, thereby committed the offences punishable under Sections 365-A (kidnapping or abducting for extorting property, valuable security, etc), 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 344 (wrongful confinement for 10 or more days), 220 (commitment for trial or confinement by person having authority, who knows that he is acting contrary to law) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) read with Section 7 (acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997.

The judge also charged former DSP Qamar Shaikh and policemen Mohammad Anar, Faisal Mehmood, Shakeel Feroze and Khair Mohammad for being present on Jan 12, 2018 between 3pm to 3.20pm inside an abandoned poultry farm in Usman Khaskheli Goth along with the absconding accused and, with abetment of Rao Anwar, murdering Naqeeb, Mohammad Ishaque, Nazar Jan and Mohammad Sabir by causing firearm injuries “in a fake encounter”, thereby creating a sense of fear and insecurity in the society, which is punishable under Sections 302 (premeditated murder), 114 (abettor present when offence is committed), 109 (abetment) and 34 of the PPC read with Section 7 of the ATA.

The court further charged ex-DSP Shaikh along with absconding accused with causing disappearance of evidence by manipulating daily diaries, committing offence as mentioned above and attempt to show the fake encounter to be true, thus committing offences punishable under Sections 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender), 202 (intentional omission to give information of offence by person bound to inform), 204 (destruction of document to prevent its production as evidence) and 34 of the PPC.

Furthermore, the judge charged Rao Anwar, DSP Shaikh, Anar, Faisal Mehmood, Khair Mohammad along with absconding accused for committing premeditated murder of Naqeeb and three others in the fake encounter.

The judged also charged the same set of accused with managing the fake recoveries of three TT pistols and a .222 rifle from the deceased in order to justify the fake encounter and managing fake recoveries of pieces of an exploded hand grenade, which was found planted by them, thus committing offences punishable under Sections 26 of the Sindh Arms Act, 2013 and 3/4 of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.

The court also charged seven absconding policemen — including former SHOs Amanullah Marwat, Shaikh Mohammad Shoaib alias Shoaib Shooter, Gada Hussain, Mohsin Abbas, Sadaqat Hussain, Raja Shamim Mukhtar and Rana Riaz — with sharing common intention.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2019