Witness in Naqeebullah murder case retracts his statement before ATC

KARACHI: An eyewitness filed an undertaking before an anti-terrorism court on Monday retracting his earlier statement against former senior superintendent of police Rao Anwar and his subordinates regarding their involvement in the extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud and three others in a ‘fake’ encounter.
The former SSP and his 10 detained subordinates and around 15 absconding officers are accused of abducting Naseemullah, better known as Naqeebullah Mehsud, for ransom and killing him with three other detainees in a staged encounter in Malir on Jan 13.
On Monday, head constable Shahzada Jahangir, whom the investigating officer had listed among eyewitnesses of the alleged extrajudicial killings of the four men, submitted an affidavit before ATC-II.
He swore on oath that he was not present at the place of the incident on Jan 13. He maintained that he was posted at Memon Goth on Feb 10, but he joined his duty on Feb 12.
The prosecution witness said he received a call from the SP office on Feb 17, adding that when he visited there the following day at 03:00 hours he was arrested.
Jahangir stated that after seven or eight days of his arrest he was threatened and forced to give a statement, which was also recorded. The prosecution witness alleged that he was coerced to give such a statement, which was not based on facts and the police had tortured him to record that statement.
In his affidavit, HC Jahangir also asked the court for security citing reported threats to his life.
Taking his affidavit on record, the judge said the same would be decided during the trial.
In the interim charge sheet filed against the suspended SSP and his subordinates in court on March 1, the IO had cited the statement of HC Shahzada Jahangir, said to be a close aide of then Shah Latif Town SHO Amanullah Marwat.
The interim charge sheet stated that the policeman deposed to the investigation officer under Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) that on Jan 13 Mr Marwat called him at the place of incident and upon arriving there he found the SHO and other police officials present there while the four detained men were also in their custody.
In the meantime Rao Anwar, DSP Qamar Ahmed Shaikh, then SHO of Sohrab Goth Shoaib Shaikh, alias Shooter, and other police officials also arrived there and then Marwat, Shoaib and others took the detained men to an abandoned poultry farm, HC Jahangir added.
He further said that they heard gunshots and thereafter Marwat and other police officials came out of the poultry farm and asked him to do the paperwork, adding that he found the bodies of the detained men in the building.

NBWs out for absconders

In the meanwhile, the court supplied copies of the documentary evidence to former SSP Rao Anwar and 11 of his subordinates in the two cases, as required under Section 265 of the CrPC, and fixed May 19 for their indictment.
The first case pertained to kidnapping for ransom and extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud and three others in an alleged fake encounter and the second pertained to dubbing the victims as terrorists and registration of a fake case of possessing arms and explosives against them.
It also issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of over 12 absconding former policemen, including former SHO Amanullah Marwat, former SHO Shoaib Shaikh, former ASI Anar Khan, former ASI Gada Hussain, former HC Mohsib Abbas, former HC Sadaqat Hussain Shah, former HC Faisal, former PC Raja Shamim Mukhtar and former PC Rana Riaz. The judge directed the investigating officer to arrest and produce them in court on the next date of hearing.

Better class in prison sought

The court also issued notices to the special public prosecutor and lawyer for the complainant for May 19 an application moved by the defence counsel under Rules 245 and 248 read with Rule 250 of the Prison Rules, seeking provision of better facilities for Rao Anwar in prison.
The counsel argued that his client was shown accused and arrested in the case without any evidence, was remanded in judicial custody and was now confined to the Central Prison Karachi, (sub-jail) where he was being treated as ‘C’ class inmate like a hardened criminal.
Being a superintendent in the Sindh police and having “crystal clear reputation”, the applicant always remained honest and received rewards, medals, awarded by his superiors and other government functionaries for his outstanding performance during his tenure in service, the counsel said.
Besides the status in society, the lawyer further said that the applicant was well-educated, a taxpayer and was never before involved in any case. Therefore, he pleaded to the court to order the prison authorities that Rao Anwar be classified as “undertrial prisoner of better class” and be treated with all facilities available under the Prison Rules.

Detention in sub-jail

In the meanwhile, a lawyer representing the complainant moved an application challenging detention of Rao Anwar in Multan Lines in the Malir Cantonment, which had been declared a sub-jail due to reported threats to his life.
Lawyer Salahuddin Panhwar argued that the Multan Lines was declared a sub-jail by the government without seeking an order from court.
The matter was fixed for May 19 for arguments from both sides.