An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Karachi on Tuesday formally charged seven police personnel, including former station house officer (SHO) Amanullah Marwat, in the controversial case involving the killing of aspiring model Naqeebullah Mehsud in a purported staged encounter.
The encounter, led by “encounter specialist” and former Malir SSP Rao Anwar, resulted in the death of Mehsud, a 27-year-old from South Waziristan, and three others on January 13, 2018, falsely labelling them as militants. The incident sparked widespread outrage and countrywide protests, drawing attention from social media and civil society groups.
The case gained national prominence, with then-army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa assuring Mehsud’s father of justice. However, Anwar and 18 others were acquitted in the murder case last year.
In the latest court proceedings, the ATC has summoned all witnesses for the next hearing following the denial of charges by the accused. Those indicted include Gada Hussain, Sadaqat Hussain, Riaz Ahmed, Raja Shamim, Abbas, and Shoaib. Notably, six accused, including the former SHO, are in police custody, while Shoaib alias “shooter” is out on bail.
Investigative Findings and Legal Proceedings
Rao Anwar initially declared Naqeebullah a terrorist following the fake encounter broadcast on television on January 18, 2018. A subsequent case was filed, leading to Anwar’s suspension from duty. Despite the Supreme Court’s order for his appearance, Anwar evaded capture for two months. The case involves 24 accused, with 11 arrested and 13 absconding.
A Joint Investigation Team (JIT), established by the Supreme Court, found Anwar culpable for the killing of Mehsud and three others in Karachi. Geo-fencing technology confirmed Anwar’s presence at the crime scene, and he was also identified as being with Naqeebullah during his arrest and captivity.
The indictment of seven police officers, including former SHO Amanullah Marwat, marks a significant development in the Naqeebullah Mehsud murder case. The case, steeped in controversy and indicative of systemic issues within law enforcement, continues to unfold as investigations proceed.