KARACHI: Malir’s former senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rao Anwar has denied allegations of extrajudicially killing aspiring model, Naqeebullah Mehsud, and three other captives, alleging the case was false and managed at the behest of other police officers over departmental rivalry.
Mr Anwar and his around two dozen subordinates have been charged with murdering Naseebullah, better known as Naqeebullah, and three others in a staged encounter in January 2018 after dubbing them “Taliban militants”.
The killing of Mr Mehsud, an aspiring model from South Waziristan residing in Karachi, stormed social media with public condemnations and sparked countrywide protests by civil society against the state’s failure to arrest the former SSP and his team.
The then chief justice, Mian Saqib Nisar, took suo motu and twice offered Mr Anwar to surrender. The former SPP, after eluding the law enforcers for some three months, was finally arrested after he surrendered before the Supreme Court in March 2018.
Sindh police then kept him in a house in Malir Cantonment, which was later declared a sub-jail.
The high-profile trial has faced inordinate delays, especially since March 11 this year, when the case reached the crucial stage of recording testimonies of the accused police officials after four years.
The delay was mostly due to the absence of their defence counsel and also because the tenure of its judge had expired. The trial began last month.
Mr Mehsud’s ageing father, Muhammad Khan, who was the complainant against the police officials, passed away in December 2019. Mr Mehsud’s younger brother Alam Sher then became the complainant.
After over four years, the ATC-XVI judge finally recorded Rao Anwar’s testimony on Nov 5, as required under Section 342 (power to examine the accused) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) before passing the judgement.
The matter is fixed on Nov 24 for arguments on the complainant’s application to play in the courtroom the CDs of the SSP’s interview after the encounter, etc.
The former SSP testified that he “was not present at the place of occurrence at the time of the incident, nor ever visited new Sabzi Mandi in between Jan 4 and 6, 2018”.
“I was implicated in this case on the basis of managed geo-fencing so as call data record [CDR] on the behest of a senior police officer whom I have a departmental rivalry,” alleged the under-trial former top district cop in an eight-page statement seen by Dawn, adding that the CDR and geofencing conflicted with each other.However, in December last year, the investigating officer of the case, SSP Dr Rizwan Ahmed, informed the court that Mr Anwar’s call data record and geofencing of the cell phone had shown him present on the crime scene between 2.41am and 5:18am on Jan 13, 2018.
Earlier, on Jan 4, 5, 8 and 9 of the same year, Mr Anwar was also present around the New Sabzi Mandi police post, Mr Ahmed said, citing the record.
Rao Anwar has also claimed that the report of a joint investigation team, which declared him as the main accused in kidnapping and killing the four men, was “false, incorrect and inadmissible”.
Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2022