KARACHI: Two key prosecution witnesses on Tuesday retracted their earlier statements before an antiterrorism court in the Naqeebullah Mehsud murder case.
Then senior superintendent of police Malir Rao Anwar with his 10 subordinates and around 15 absconding officers has been facing trial for allegedly kidnapping Naseemullah, better known as Naqeebullah Mehsud, with his two friends from a teashop on Abul Hassan Ispahani Road, keeping them in detention and later abandoning Naqeeb’s friends on the Superhighway while he and three others were killed in a staged encounter in January 2018.
Sub-inspector Rana Asif and head constable Shahzada Jahangir were the key prosecution witnesses since in their 161 CrPC statements recorded by the investigating officer of the case, Asif had deposed that he saw Naqeeb with three other youngsters kept at the Abbas Town police post by its officer-in-charge Akbar Mallah and other policemen.
Jahangir, said to be a close aide of then Shah Latif Town SHO Amanullah Marwat, said in his statement that he had witnessed the staged encounter as Marwat, then SHO of Sohrab Goth Shoaib Shaikh, alias Shooter, and other policemen had killed Naqeeb and other captives in the presence of Rao Anwar.
However, both the witnesses appeared before the ATC-III and disowned their 161 CrPC statements and said that they had not witnessed the shootout or the detention of the captives.
The prosecution has declared Rana Asif as a hostile witness while Jahangir is also likely to be declared hostile on the next hearing (July 28) as his statement (examination-in-chief) was not completed on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, lawyer for the complainant Salahuddin Panhwar accused the police of not providing protection to the witnesses despite the repeated orders issued by the trial court on applications of the complainant side.
Man gets 10 years
Another antiterrorism court on Tuesday sentenced a man to 10-year imprisonment for raising funds for a banned militant outfit.
The ATC-XII found Zain Shahid guilty of collecting funds for the proscribed organisation Daesh last month near a park in Nazimabad.
The judge handed down 10 years under Section 11-H (fundraising for terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act and imposed a fine of Rs50,000 and in case of default the convict would have to undergo an additional six months in prison.
The court also sentenced him to three years and six months imprisonment in two sub-sections of Section 11-F (Membership, support and meetings relating to a proscribed organisation) of the ATA and also imposed fines. However, all the sentences will run concurrently.
The court observed that the convict was regularly visiting the Nazimabad police station to mark his attendance in connection with the Fourth Schedule and added that a donation book was seized from the convict at the time of his arrest and it also contained the name of the banned organisation.
The prosecution said that acting on a tip-off, a team of the Counter Terrorism Department conducted a raid near Annu Bhai Park in Nazimabad and arrested the accused and found a donation book in his possession while two of his accomplices escaped.
Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2020