A Karachi anti-terrorism court (ATC) expressed annoyance on Thursday, when only two witnesses were presented at the hearing of Naqeebullah’s murder case.
ATC No3 was hearing the case at Karachi Central Jail. The accused, including former Malir SSP Rao Anwar, DSP Qamar Ahmed and others appeared before the court.
Naqeebullah Mehsud was killed along with Muhammad Sabir and Muhammad Ishaq from Bahawalpur and Nazar Jan Mahsud from South Waziristan on January 13, 2018, in Karachi, during a fake encounter staged by then SSP Malir District Rao Anwar.
An ATC indicted Anwar and 17 others in the murder case in March 2019. Prior to that, on January 24, 2019, the ATC had declared Naqeebullah and the three other persons innocent.
On Thursday’s hearing, the prosecution presented Ishaq’s brother, Muhammad Yousuf as a witness.
Ishaq in his testimony stated: “I am a farmer. I was working in field on a day in 2016 when a student of a madrassa told me that police had taken my brother Muhammad Ishaq along with them.”
Yousuf said he went to the Union Council chairperson of his area and asked him to inquire why the police had taken his brother. The chairperson made a phone call to the police station, but he was told that they do not have any person by the name of Ishaq in their custody.
“Police had taken six others along with my brother, who were later released, but my brother never came back. We learnt through newspaper and TV that an encounter had taken place. I do not remember the day when my brother was killed. I went to the police station to collect his body. I completed the paper work, collected the body and returned.” Yousuf concluded.
Cross questioning the witness statement, Rao Anwar’s counsel advocate Mushtaq asked the witness whether he teaches at a madrasah to which the witness replied that he is enrolled in a madrasah of a trust.
“You said that your brother has been missing since 2016, you are an educated person. Did you register any complaint?” the advocate inquired, to which the witness replied in negative. The witness further replied in the negative on being questioned whether he knew that his brother was a terrorist.
Completing the arguments the advocate alleged that the witness was not concerned that his brother was missing since 2016, apparently, he was misleading the court and recorded a statement memorised by the police and prosecution.
The court summoned the second witness, Salman Haider, next. The prosecutor produced the second witness before the court.
The plaintiff’s counsel submitted papers to the court as soon as he began recording the statement upon which the defendant’s counsel raised an objection. DSP Qamar’s counsel, advocate Malik Mazhar Hussain Khokhar, maintained: “These are not the originals but the photocopies. It is wrong to present a photocopy. Earlier they said that they lost the log book and cannot find it, and now they are submitting its copy.”
Rao’s counsel, advocate Amir Mansoob contended that producing a photocopy was in violation of law.
However, the plaintiff’s counsel, Salahuddin Panhwar, requested the court to issue its judgment on it.
The counsels of both the parties had a verbal spat on the matter following which the court sought a petition from the plaintiff.
The court admonished the investigation officer, Abid Qaimkhani, for not producing more witnesses.
The court, irked, questioned why more witnesses have not appeared to which the investigation officer replied that he is posted in West, and thus, Malir SSP should be served a notice for it.
The court issued non-bailable arrest warrant of witness Abdul Qadir and served notice to SSP Malir.
The court summoned more witnesses at the next hearing scheduled for June 24.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2021.