KARACHI: An antiterrorism court was informed on Tuesday that the then SSP Rao Anwar was present at the place where young Naqeebullah Mehsood and three other captives were killed in a “fake” encounter.

SSP Dr Rizwan Ahmed, the second investigating officer of the high-profile case, deposed this before the ATC-III judge as a prosecution witness.

Ex-SSP Anwar along with his around two dozen subordinates has been charged with killing Naqeeb, Sabir, Nazar Jan and Ishaq in a staged encounter after dubbing them as ‘Taliban militants’ on Jan 13, 2018.

While recording his statement, SSP Rizwan deposed that the call data record (CDR) and geo-fencing of the cell phone of the then Malir SSP Rao Awan had shown him present on the crime scene between 2.41am till 5:18am on Jan 13, 2018.

Defence will cross-examine SSP Rizwan on Jan 3 in Naqeeb murder case

Earlier, Rao Anwar’s presence around the New Sabzi Mandi police post was also recorded on Jan 4, 5, 8 and 9, 2018. Naqeeb and others were kept in unlawful detention at the police post, the IO added.

He testified that the CDR and geo-fencing had further revealed the presence of other police officials including Shakeel Feroz, Azhar and Amanullah Marwat at the crime scene a day before the staged encounter took place.

He said that in the light of the statements of the witnesses recorded under Section 161 of the criminal procedure code (CrPC) the police officials were found involved in commissioning of the offence alleged on them.

After recording his statement, the judge fixed the matter for Jan 3, 2022 for cross-examination of SSP Rizwan Ahmed by the defence.

According to the prosecution, the undertrial police officials had kidnapped Naqeeb and three others for ransom and later killed them in a fake encounter and dubbed them as militants.

The killing of the 27-year-old aspirant model from South Waziristan had sparked widespread protests by the civil society and the then Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar took suo motu notice of the killings.

Contrary to Rao Anwar’s claim that the victims were militants, the trial court declared Naqeeb and other victims as “innocent” and quashed the cases filed against them.

In March 2019, an ATC had indicted Anwar and others policemen for the murder of four victims in fake encounter and labelling them as militants and foisting fake recoveries of weapons and explosives on the victims.

Seven other policemen, including Amanullah Marwat, Shaikh Muhammad Shoaib, Gada Hussain, Mohsin Abbas, Sadaqat Hussain Shah, Rana Shamim and Riaz, have been declared proclaimed offenders and warrants have been out for their arrests.

Published in Dawn, December 15th, 2021

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