After five years, a Karachi anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Monday acquitted SSP Rao Anwar in Naqeebullah Meshud fake encounter case.
Naqeebullah Mehsud was a 27-year-old shopkeeper from the South Waziristan tribal district of Pakistan who was falsely accused of being a member of the Taliban and killed in a ‘fake’ police encounter in January 2018.
The case gained widespread attention and sparked protests, with many accusing the police of carrying out an extrajudicial killing.
The officer who led the operation, Rao Anwar, was arrested and charged with murder, but was later released on bail.
The court had reserved verdict on January 14 while the decision has been pronounced after five years.
The case challan had 90 witnesses while seven witnesses of the prosecution had receded from their statements.
The JIT report in the Naqeebullah Mehsud case was released in March 2018. It concluded that Mehsud was not a terrorist, as had been claimed by the police, but rather an innocent individual who was killed in a staged encounter.
The report also found that the police officers involved in the operation had fabricated evidence and witnesses to justify the killing.
The report also named senior police officer Rao Anwar as the main suspect in the case.
Based on the JIT report, Anwar and several other officers were charged with murder and other crimes.
Talking to the media after case verdict, SSP Rao Anwar said, “Alhumdulillah, I was triumphed.”
He accused former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Saqib Nisar of framing him in a fake case.