Last week, a 27-year-old shop owner and aspiring model from South Waziristan, Naqib, was killed in an ‘encounter’ with contingents of Malir police. Based on information from intelligence agencies regarding the presence of militant hideouts in Usman Khaskheli Goth, the police organized the targeted raid. Senior Superintendent of Police, Rao Anwar, headed the operation.
To serve and to protect?
Firstly, who is the police serving? And what are they protecting? The death of yet another innocent man at the hands of the police should prompt an inquiry about the fundamental purpose of our institutions.
SSP Rao Anwar’s uncorroborated claims led to Naqib’s murder
At the time of the operation, SSP Anwar claimed Naqib’s involvement in several high-profile terror cases. Anwar suggested that Naqib had links to terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ) and the militant Islamic State (IS).
However, a relative of Naqib disputed SSP Anwar’s claim that Naqib had links to the TTP in South Waziristan’s Makeen tehsil. He stated that Naqib was, in fact, a shop owner who was fond of modeling.
Naqib’s relative claimed he was kidnapped from his clothing shop in Sohrab Goth, earlier this month. He said that previously, Naqib worked at a petrol pump at Hub Chowki in Balochistan. The relative insisted that Naqib had no association with any militant group.
The SSP’s allegations were unconfirmable and his claims have not been independently verified yet.
Credibility of police
Naqib’s death has also lead to a heightened mistrust of police and SSP Rao Anwar.
Outrage on social media
Following Naqib’s murder, thousands have expressed their grief and anger about his death. Many have posted photographs of him in a coffin on social media under the hashtags #JusticeForNaqib and #NaqeebMehsud.
— Hina Khan (@I_Am_Humanist) January 18, 2018
RAO FAKE ENCOUNTER followed by misleading information
declared #Naqib a terrorist bt he ws doing business & fan of Army
Rao say he ws single bt he had 3 childrn
we was pickdup on 3/1 & killed on 12/1#JusticeforNaqib@PTI_KHI@BBhuttoZardari @a_siab @hrw @HRC @UN_HRC @shafidpk pic.twitter.com/uSMJquL4pX
— Go FCR GO (@kzburki) January 18, 2018
PTI is using Naqib’s death as an opportunity to connect to an ethnonationalist Pashtun voter base in Karachi. Both Imran Khan and the official PTI KP account tweeted about Naqib’s death.
Punjab police’s brutal “encounters” are well documented. Sindh’s highly politicised police is no better. Today SP (Rao Anwar) killed a boy named Naqeeb ullah Mehsud in Karachi. He had been picked by police on 7 Jan & today he was killed in an “encounter”. Utterly condemnable
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) January 18, 2018
We strongly condemn the FAKE Encounter of Naqeeb Mehsud at the hands of Sindh Police; we demand Justice for the Son of the Soil ! pic.twitter.com/wI76h6XV9X
— PTI KP (Official) (@PTIKPOfficial) January 18, 2018
Another day, another victim of police brutality
The province being mentioned in the headlines may be different on any given day, but the news is the same. Naqib was murdered in the absence of concrete evidence or a fair trial. We need police reform. We need accountability from the enforcers of the law so that the law can reign supreme.