Justice delayed is justice denied

Sanaullah Kakar

It has been three years since Naqeebullah Mehsud, and his companions were assassinated in a fake encounter in January 2018. The grassroots are no stranger to these fake encounters, enforced disappearances, and Corpse waded in the parcel (bori bannd lash). They witness these vices on day to day basis.

Let’s down to the nitty-gritty of the situation. SSP Roa Answer, infamous for his encounters and accordingly accorded with the title of encounter specialist, abducted Naqeebullah Mehsud along with his friends on 3 January 2018. Subsequently, both of his friends, Hazrat Ali and Muhammad Qasim, were freed. Naqeebullah remained in the illegal captivity of the police. During this short span, he was subjected to various physical and mental torments. Eventually, on 13 January 2018, he was shot twice in the back, and he succumbed to injuries.

Who was Naqeebullah Mehsud?

Naqeebullah Mehsud was running a garment shop in Karachi. He was a towering young man, who was passionate about modelling and appeared to be a public figure on social media. He had proverbial stature as a model, during his career he assumed the identity of “Veer”.

He belonged to the Pashtun tribe dwelling in the Makeen subdivision of war-torn South Waziristan.

In 2009, when the military ushered in operation ‘Rah-e-Nijat’ in parts of erst-while FATA, Along with Naqeebullahs family, thousands of other families became the victim of the violence that then ensued. Naqeebullahs family was forced to flee their home and started living as internally displaced people (IDPs). Naqeebullah Mehsud migrated to Karachi for greener pastures, where he met his fate unsparingly, at the hands of the infamous Rao Anwar.

The fake encounter in which Naqeebullah was murdered triggered public outrage, with cities teeming with people demanding to probe the incident and end the rampant extra-judicial killing.

Roa Anwar insinuated that Najeebullah Mehsud had a close affiliation with Tehrik-i-Taliban other proscribed outfits.

These grassroots demonstrations laid the foundation of the rise of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement, a civil and political movement aimed to demand constitutional rights for Pashtuns.

The PTM remained foremost in demanding the immediate inquiry and sought justice for the bereaved family. The Apex court issued the directive to instigate the inquiry committee to assess the encounter carried out by Rao Anwar. The committee comprised of the top-notch officer that declared the encounter mounted to kill Najeeb and his friends was fake.

To corroborate further, JIT conducted a thorough investigation, visited various places, where Najeeb was purportedly kidnapped and murdered, recording multiple statements of Rao Anwar his accomplice, and the victim’s families. Subsequently, Encounter specialist Rao Anwar and his team were held accountable for staging a fake encounter and charged with the murder case.

Both military and civilian leadership expressed that their sympathy lay with the victims’ families and ensured that victims would serve them with justice.

Mohammed Khan the father of Naqeebullah Mehsud had been pursuing his case, since his demise. The assassination of the son left a scar on his soul. He was an old man ailing from cancer pleading for justice for his son. On 2nd December 2019, his father passed away in a fight with cancer.

After three years of Najeebullah Mehsud’s death, those culprits with having the Blood on their hands of 444 victims of extra-judicial killing are still at large.

If the state has chosen to forget, what the family of Naqeeb has been through, he will never be served with justice in three decades let alone three years.

The piece is a forlorn effort to resuscitate the extra-judicial killing cases that are deliberately shelved to avert public attention.

Twitter handle @imsanakakar

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