A man arrested on charges of possessing narcotics died in police custody, with authorities claiming he died by suicide, sparking protests from relatives and activists alleging an extrajudicial killing in detention, it emerged on Friday.

Senior Superintendent of Police Arif Aziz told Dawn.com that the suspect, identified as Naimatullah, was apprehended by Kalri police a few days ago, with the alleged recovery of two kilogrammes of hashish from his possession.

The officer stated that Naimatullah “took his own life inside the lock-up” on Thursday. Supporting the account provided by the fellow officer, Kalri police Station House Officer Asadullah Agha informed Dawn.com that the police had filed two cases against the suspect.

“These cases involve charges related to narcotics possession and the possession of counterfeit identification cards from sensitive institutions.”

“He was in the custody of the police’s investigation wing of the police where he committed suicide by hanging himself in the lock-up using a bedsheet,” the SHO told Dawn.com.

Separately, police surgeon Dr Summaiya Syed said the police transported the deceased’s body to Dr. Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi on Thursday and confirmed that the man had taken his own life by hanging. She also noted that a post-mortem examination had been conducted in the presence of a magistrate.

Later, on Thursday night, relatives of the suspect, along with workers of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), staged a sit-in at Empress Market to protest what they called a killing.

Another protest was held at the similar spot this evening. Rehmatullah, the deceased’s brother, informed the media that his brother had been employed at a restaurant in Lyari and expressed concern that his brother’s cell phone had been turned off for the past five days.

He further alleged that late on Wednesday night, he received a call from his brother’s cell phone, made by the police, claiming that Naimutallah had ended his life in jail. Rehmatullah insisted that his brother had been killed by the law enforcers.

Arbab Durrani, a local leader of PkMAP, stated that the deceased was a party worker with no involvement in criminal activities. He called for an unbiased investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding the death and called for action to be taken against those responsible for the alleged killing.

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