A joint investigation team (JIT) formed under the directives of the Supreme Court has held suspended SSP Rao Anwar Ahmed Khan and three others responsible for the killing of Naqeeb Ullah Mehsud in a fake encounter in Karachi on Jan 13. Consequently, Rao Anwar has been sent to prison on judicial remand until May 2. Other police officers connected to the case have also been arrested, and some have absconded.

After months of protests and outrage, the JIT verdict is a sign of accountability and justice. The JIT result is just one of the mechanisms for the Court to deliberate, the actual verdict and sentence of the Court is yet to come; however, after months of the political parties trying to downplay the murder and protect Rao Anwar , this JIT decision holding the suspended SSP responsible gives some small satisfaction to those of us who protested and sacrificed for this issue to become mainstream.

Credit must be given where it is due; with just the lax attitude of the state and parties towards the killing of Naqeeb Ullah, the issue would never have prompted the attention of the SC. It was due to the massive sweat and blood those protesters and activists injected in taking up the cause of this extra-judicial killing that Naqeeb Ullah’s parents may see some justice.

However, not all is won; the Court is yet to pass a decision on it. One thing that everyone should keep in mind is that Naqeeb Ullah’s case was just a stepping stone; the cause of the protesters is an end of ethnic profiling. The outrage will continue until the Court passes a just sentence in Naqeeb Ullah’s case, and the state passes laws against ethnic profiling and discrimination.