KARACHI - Naqeebullah Mehsud murder case took a new turn on Monday as one of the prosecution witnesses backed out from his earlier confessional statement that Rao Anwar was present at the time of staged encounter.

Jahangir Shahzada, a head constable, stated in an affidavit that he was forced to record a confessional statement regarding presence of SSP Rao during the staged encounter.

The main accused ex-SSP Malir Rao Anwar was brought to the anti-terrorism court (ATC) in high security and without handcuffs. Other suspects were also produced in the court. During the proceedings witness, Jahangir Shahzada, who was part of Rao Anwar squad, was presented before the trial court by the prosecution as an eyewitness to the staged encounter allegedly led by Anwar. He had previously affirmed the prosecution’s version of events.

The witness in his earlier statement had affirmed the presence of former senior superintendent police (SSP) Malir Rao Anwar at the site of the murder.

He, in his latest statement, said he was not present at the time of the encounter. Jahangir said when the encounter took place, he had been posted in Memon Goth and had nothing to do with the incident. He continued that on February 17 he was directed to report the SP office. He was arrested when he reached there. The witness stated that he had been threatened and beaten brutally by police personnel to record a statement regarding the presence of then SSP Malir, which was not based on facts. Jahangir Shahzada pleaded the court to provide him security as his life was in danger.

Counsel for the deceased’s family, Amir Mansoob Qureshi, has submitted a petition citing their reservations over Anwar’s detention in the Multan Lines in Malir Cantt instead of the central prison. The former SSP’s was detained at Malir Cantonment’s Multan Lines area, which has been declared a sub-jail due to reported threats to his life. On the other hand, the suspects’ counsel pointed out that the copy of the case was incomplete. The court ordered that complete documents should be submitted to the suspects’ lawyers. Arguments regarding provision of b-class jail facilities to Anwar and his bail plea will be heard in on the next date. The court may frame charges against the accused on the next date of hearing.

Aanwar, his 11 detained subordinates along with 14 absconders have been accused of abducting the Waziristan native shopkeeper and aspiring model Naqeebullah for ransom and killing him, along with three other detainees, in a staged encounter in Karachi’s Malir area on January 13. According to prosecution, policemen in plainclothes had picked up Naseemullah, better known as Naqeebullah Mehsud, with his two friends from a tea shop on Abul Hassan Ispahani Road on Jan 3, kept them in wrongful detention and subjected to torture. Three days later, the two friends were dumped on the superhighway on the night of Jan 6.



On Jan 17, the captive’s relatives came to know through the media that Rao Anwar and his associates had allegedly killed Mehsud and three others in a staged encounter in Shah Latif Town area on Jan 13 and dubbed them as militants of banned outfits. A case against Rao Anwar and his associates was registered under Sections 302 (punishment for premeditated murder), 365 (kidnapping with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person), 344 (wrongful confinement for 10 or more days), 109 (abetment) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 on a complaint of deceased’s father, Mohammad Khan, with the Sachal Police Station.