Protesters besiege Sohrab Goth, block Super Highway
Protesters besieged Sohrab Goth area of Karachi on Friday against the alleged encounter and killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud, setting tyres on fire and throwing stones at cars to block the main highway of the metropolitan. PTI leaders and workers chanted slogans against the Malir SSP Rao Anwar, demanding of his suspension from office.
The angry protesters blocked super highway and broke windows of a bus before stopping it. Police remained absent from the scene.
Protesters, gathered to demand removal of Malir SSP Rao Anwar, blocked Super Highway again Friday evening after a person was injured during aerial firing by the police. Police opened fire to disperse protesters who had gathered again on the route.
Earlier, they had opened the thoroughfare for traffic after keeping it blocked for approximately an hour-and-a-half. According to reports, the road was blocked on the directives of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Dr Arif Alvi. The protests were carried out in other parts of the country including Tank, Bannu, Zhob and DI Khan. The protesters demanded the chief justice of Pakistan to take a suo motu notice of the incident and form a judicial commission to probe into it.
In a media talk on January 13, SSP Malir had claimed to have shot dead four alleged terrorists in a police encounter in Shah Latif Town of Karachi. Later, it was revealed that the killed ‘terrorists’ included Naseemullah alias Naqeebullah, a 27-year-old man from South Waziristan Agency. His family claimed he disappeared on January 3 from Sohrab Goth and was then killed in a fake encounter.
Friday’s demonstration was also attended by leaders of various political parties, including Jamaat-e-Islami, Awami National Party and Pak Sarzameen Party.
Naqeebullah was laid to rest in Ladha subdivision of South Waziristan earlier Friday. The funeral was attended by tribal people from the Mehsud and other tribes. The political administration members and locals also attended the funeral prayers of Naqeebullah.
However, appearing before a departmental enquiry committee on Friday, SSP Malir said a kidnapping for ransom case was registered against Naqeebullah in 2014. The police official also spoke to media, asking why the deceased’s family did not file a missing person case in any police station if he disappeared on January 3. “He was 100 per cent a terrorist,” Anwar reiterated while speaking to the media.
Later in the day, the probe committee officials visited the site of police encounter in Shah Lateef Town and gathered evidence.
According to the SSP, he was being avenged for taking action against PTI leader Haleem Adil Sheikh. Rao Anwar submitted details of the criminal record to the inquiry committee.
He also dismissed the social media campaign in the deceased’s favour and stuck to his stance that he was a terrorist. However, acquaintances and relatives of the deceased dispute the claim and term the incident an extrajudicial murder.
Talking to media later, Inspector General Police Counter-terrorism Department Sanaullah Abbasi, who heads the probe committee, said they will inspect the site of the incident and not leave any angle while investigating the incident. Abbasi also stated that they will also visit the Karachi Central Jail and record the statement of a prisoner.
The Federal legislators also protested over Naqeebullah’s killing in the National Assembly on Friday. NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq summoned a report on the case from the Ministry of Human Rights.
The speaker directed the ministry to present details of the missing persons along with the Naqeebullah murder report.
While speaking in the assembly, FATA MNA Shah Jee Gul Afridi demanded details of all the injustices committed against the people from tribal areas in Karachi. Pakistan People’s Party leader Naveed Qamar suggested that the lawmakers should wait till the investigation committee’s report on the incident is furnished.
Separately, DIG East Sultan Khawaja said the committee will submit its report to the Sindh IG in three days. He added that the deceased’s family has been informed of recording their statement and since this is an open inquiry, any eyewitness can come forward to record his or her statement.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Friday took suo motu notice of the alleged extrajudicial murder of Naqeebullah Mehsud in Karachi.
Taking notice of the issue, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar asked the Sindh IGP to submit a report within seven days.
So far, however, no evidence has emerged about any crime being committed — notwithstanding police allegations, specifically those made by SSP Anwar.
A statement reportedly issued by a spokesman of TTP’s South Waziristan chapter, however, has termed SSP Anwar’s claim as “baseless”, saying Naqeebullah had no links with the banned militant outfit.
Naqeebullah — whose name is given as Naseemullah on his national identity card — was a shop owner fond of modelling, relatives of the deceased had said soon after reports of his death came to fore.
SSP Anwar has maintained that Naqeebullah was involved in major acts of terrorism and was residing in an apartment on Abul Hassan Ispahani Road. The SSP has also issued a document detailing Naqeebullah’s path to militancy.
According to the police officer, Naqeebulah was born on January 1, 1991, in a village of South Waziristan’s Makeen tehsil. He allegedly received religious education from a madressah.
He was reported to be a brother-in-law of Sher Dawood, a commander of the TTP, who motivated him to join the banned outfit. He allegedly received physical and weapons training in 2007/2008 at a TTP camp in Miranshah.
Naqeebullah was also associated with TTP commander Sanaullah Mehsud, SSP Anwar had claimed, who survived a “suicide attack” on Tuesday evening. “He was a close aide of a TTP commander, Wahab, who was involved in the bombing at Karsaz during slain PPP leader Benazir Bhutto’s rally on October 18, 2007,” claimed SSP Anwar.