KARACHI: Police investigators probing the killing of the Naseemullah alias Naqeebullah Mehsud in a fake encounter claim to have arrested at least three more cops believed to be a part of former Malir SSP Rao Anwar's team. With these three latest arrests, the number of arrests made in connection with the Naqeebullah killing has risen to nine. None of these policemen, however, were part of SSP Anwar’s ‘encounter team’ that was responsible for Naqeebullah’s death.
The three policemen who were arrested have been identified as constables Abdul Ali, Shafiq and Ghulam Nazuk. They were posted at the Abbas Town police post and were arrested from the Sacchal area. Investigations SP Abid Qaimkhani confirmed the arrests, saying that the arrests were made on Sunday night. The police have obtained the cops’ seven day remand from the court, he said.
Sources privy to the investigation said that the police have so far arrested nine cops who were believed to be part of the SSP’s team, however, they have yet to arrest the policemen who were part of the team that killed Naqeebullah and three others in an alleged encounter in Shah Latif Town on January 13.
Naqeebullah murder case: Four accused backtrack on their confessional statement
"A total six cops, including Shah Latif SHO Amanullah Marwat [who has now been suspended] were present at the time of the encounter and all of them, including their chief SSP Rao Anwar, remain in hiding," said a senior police officer privy to the matter. "They are still in the country, but have gone into hiding. Police teams have already been dispatched to various parts of the country to trace and arrest them.”
SSP Anwar and his police party have been in hiding since the controversy arose surrounding the killing of Naqeebullah, who hails from South Waziristan, and three others. Earlier, SSP Anwar had claimed that the four were associated with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and were killed during an encounter with the police. The family of Qari Ahsan, who was killed alongside Naqeebullah, also approached the police to register a kidnapping-cum-murder case against SSP Anwar and his team, however, the case has yet to be registered.
A case of murder along with a clause of the Anti-Terrorism Act was registered against SSP Anwar and his team members after the three-member inquiry committee, headed by the Counter-Terrorism Department’s additional IG, found them guilty of killing the youths in the fake encounter.
Naqeebullah’s killing sparked countrywide protests last month, which still continue in parts of the country, particularly outside the Islamabad Press Club where hundreds of people belonging to various Pashtun communities are staging sit-ins.
Naqeebullah murder case: Witnesses identify three accomplices of SSP Rao Anwar
Taking suo motu notice of the incident, the Supreme Court ordered the government to place SSP Anwar’s name on the Exit Control List and also ordered his arrest. The court even ordered intelligence agencies to aid the police in the capture of the absconding officer, who is popularly known as an ‘encounter specialist’ and is accused of killing a number of people.