ATC refuses to grant Rao Anwar exemption from appearance in Naqeebullah murder case

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Thursday turned down former senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rao Anwar’s request seeking an exemption from personal appearances in a case pertaining to the murder of Waziristan native shopkeeper-turned-model Naqeebullah Mehsud in a police ‘encounter’.

Anwar had ─ in his petition, which was taken up yesterday ─ insisted that he faced security threats from terrorist groups since he had conducted operations against them during his tenure as a police officer. He urged the court to exempt him from appearing in person, unless it was required by the court for hearing of the ongoing murder case in which he is the chief suspect.

The request was opposed by Salahuddin Panhwar, counsel of Naqeeb’s father, who said that Anwar’s claims of facing security threats did not stand as he was not a serving police officer anymore.

The former SSP’s application was not maintainable under the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, he added. The ATC-III judge reserved his verdict after hearing the arguments presented by both sides.

Naqeebullah murder case

An inquiry team probing the Jan 2018 ‘extrajudicial killing’ of Naqeebullah found that the Waziristan native was killed in a “fake encounter” which was “staged” by the former Malir SSP. Following the inquiry team’s findings, Anwar was suspended from his post.

The former SSP, however, has stuck to the claim that Naqeeb was a Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan militant. No evidence has emerged to support this claim. Naqeebullah’s family also disputed the SSP’s claim, saying that the 27-year-old had no links with any militant organisation.

Naqeebullah — whose name is given as Naseemullah on his national identity card — was a shop owner fond of modelling, a relative of the deceased had earlier told Dawn.

Anwar, along with former deputy superintendent of police Qamar and three others who are accused in the case, are out on bail, while 13 police officials are in jail on judicial remand.

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