Naqeeb’s household, lawyer worry Rao Anwar’s acquittal

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KARACHI: Slain Naqeeb Ullah Mehsud’s family, their lawyer and a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf MNA on Sunday expressed their apprehensions that former SSP Rao Anwar might be acquitted in his [Naqeeb’s] murder case due to a perceived lack of interest on the part of prosecution and investigators.

They said that at least five prosecution witnesses, all serving police officers, had retracted their statements but the authorities had not taken any disciplinary action against them.

They urged the Supreme Court to monitor the case as it was done earlier for providing justice to the aggrieved family.

They spoke at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on the third death anniversary of the aspiring model of South Waziristan who was killed allegedly in a staged encounter on Jan 17, 2018.

Naqeeb’s brother Alam Sher said their father, Mohammed Khan, died with the hope the family would get justice but now “we are losing hope’.

He recalled that Imran Khan had joined the protests in Karachi and Islamabad before becoming the prime minister, and urged him to take interest in the case.

He also pointed out that the federal government had promised to establish a college in the name of Naqeeb in his village in South Waziristan but the plan had not materialised so far.

‘Failure of state’

Lawyer Jibran Nasir said there were 30 accused in the case and five of the police officers were on bail.

He pointed out that five witnesses, all policemen, had retracted their statements. The case was based on their evidence and they all were state employees but the Sindh government, or police, have not taken any disciplinary action against them, instead they are being given lucrative posts.

“We have apprehensions that the state, police and the prosecution have made full preparations to get Rao Anwar acquitted in the Naqeeb case,” said Mr Nasir.

He said it would also be meant that Rao Anwar would be acquitted from murders of 444 other people killed in ‘encounters’. It would also be a ‘failure’ of the state as the case was the state versus Rao Anwar.

He said two former PMs, the incumbent leader of the opposition in the National Assembly and senior leaders of PML-N and PPP had been arrested and sent behind bars, but Rao Anwar was never arrested and sent to prison.

He also criticised the PPP-led Sindh government as they never spoke against Rao Anwar, instead their ministers held press conferences against SSP Dr Rizwan Ahmed who was the investigation officer in the Naqeeb case. The PPP leadership called Rao Anwar a ‘brave child’, he added.

PTI MNA admits Rao Anwar’s influence

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf MNA Saif Rehman Mehsud said three reports and a JIT were prepared by the police that were also presented before the apex court.

But all these three reports showed that Rao Anwar was being treated like a ‘federal minister’ as he was never handcuffed.

He said it was not appropriate for the Sindh government to provide ‘shelter’ to Rao Anwar.

The PTI lawmaker did not reply to a question as to why the PM and interior minister, who belonged to the PTI, were not taking a ‘stance’ in the case. “I admit Rao Anwar is a powerful and influential person and Sindh government and police are supporting him,” he said.

Mr Nasir claimed everyone knew that Rao Anwar had remained an ‘asset’ of powerful institutions.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2021