Monday September 25, 2023

Protesters decry Rao Anwar’s acquittal in Naqeebullah killing case

By Our Correspondent
January 29, 2023

A representative organisation of the youth and civil society members on Saturday held a protest against the release of the alleged killers of Naqeebullah Mehsud, and expressed their dismay over the failure of the policing system, particularly in the megacity of Karachi.

The demonstration was organised by the youth organisation called Alternate in front of the Karachi Press Club, and it was led by Alternate leaders Aqib Hussain and Shahzad Mughal. A large number of youths, and political, social and journalist organisations attended the protest.

Hussain said on the occasion that the release of Mehsud’s killers proves that Pakistan has completely become a police state. He said the law enforcement agencies, especially the police, instead of providing security to the citizens, kidnap them in an extrajudicial manner, extort bribes out of them and even kill them.

He alleged that five years ago, on the alleged orders of Rao Anwar, plain-clothesmen had kidnapped Mehsud and his two friends, tortured them at a police station and threatened to kill them in case of non-payment of extortion.

He lamented that Mehsud was killed during police torture, and his body was dumped near a farmhouse adjacent to the Usman Khaskheli village of Karachi.

He said the police then issued a statement that Mehsud belonged to the terrorist outfits Taliban and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. However, he added, in 2019 the court declared Mehsud an innocent citizen.

Mughal said Mehsud and his family had migrated to Karachi from Waziristan due to the operation of law enforcers in Waziristan and the fear of agencies. He said Mehsud did not belong to any political party, and like other youths, he used to express his feelings in different ways on social media.

He added that in order to save the cops involved in the murder, the police misguided the courts, while this act also made society think that police stations have become dens of crime and killing fields of innocent citizens.

He also said Mehsud’s murder had proved that law and justice in our society is a toy in the hands of the powerful mafias that ensure that the criminals associated with them are not punished by the courts.

He added that all these powerful quarters stand behind notorious anti-human rights police officers like Anwaar, and all of them are bent upon proving his innocence.

He further said that all the political parties that chant the slogan of democracy are unfortunately keeping mum on the court’s recent verdict in the Mehsud killing case. He pointed out that this shows the police officers involved in the extrajudicial killings of citizens have got the backing of powerful quarters.

Mughal said that former army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa had promised Mehsud’s father justice, but justice bowed down in front of Anwar. He said Mehsud’s killers would ultimately be taken to task in accordance with law and justice.

Alternate also paid rich tributes to the legal teams that fought the Mehsud killing case. They said they would hold organised protests against lawlessness and police excesses.

Others who spoke on the occasion included Alternate’s Iqbal Abro, Shaima, Sajid Afridi, Ainee, Faiza, Himay Ali and Barkat, the National Trade Union Federation’s Nasir Mansoor, the Home-Based Women Workers Federation’s Zahra Khan and Saira Feroze, the Lyari Awami Mehaz’s Abdul Khaliq Zarqan, civil society leader Rehman Baloch, the Federal Urdu University’s Asghar Dashti, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s Qazi Khizr, journalist Mahnaz Rahman, labour leader Karamat Ali, the Karachi Union of Journalists’ Faheem Siddiqui, the Anjuman Taraqqi Pasand Musannifeen’s Sajjad Zaheer, the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement’s Hidayatullah Mehsood, and other social and political leaders.