Mehsud extra-judicial killing protest continues in Islamabad

Tribesmen protest in Islamabad to demand arrest of Naqeebullah Mehsud’s killers

Islamabad: The issue of extra-judicial killing has taken a new turn in Pakistan with ongoing protest by hundreds of tribesmen in Islamabad demanding immediate arrest of those involved in the killing and recovery of missing persons.

Tribal elders and youth from Mehsud tribe of South Waziristan have gathered outside National Press Club in Islamabad holding placards and banners that read ‘Justice for Naqeeb Mehsud’.

They are demanding the arrest and accountability of the fugitive police officer ex-SSP Rao Anwar who has been accused of the killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud on January 13, 2018 in a staged ‘police encounter’ in the southern city of Karachi.

Police claimed that the deceased was a militant affiliated with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) but it was later found to be a staged encounter led by Rao, in which the aspiring model Naqeebullah and three others were killed.

The killing of Naqeebullah, 27, a South Waziristan resident and father of three, sparked national outrage.

In Islamabad, the march by Mehsud tribesmen entered its seventh day on Wednesday and it is feared that once other tribal leaders and politicians join the protest it could turn into a serious headache for the federal capital, which has suffered several sit-ins in last two years.

“If the government does not accept our demands then it would turn into wider demonstration as more people would join it” warned a protest leader Malik Noor Khan.

The killing of Naqeebullah has prompted hundreds of activists to press government to address their grievances, seek justice and an end to their oppression.

The protesters demand capital punishment for Anwar and his team for the killing; setting up of a judicial commission monitored by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP); investigations into ‘extra-judicial’ killing of Pashtuns and recovery of all missing person and their handing over to the courts for fair trial. They also stressed against enforcing curfew in FATA, Waziristan and removal of landmines.

Talking to Gulf News, Mohsin Dawar, a young tribal activist, urged the government to address the sufferings of people in Waziristan and stop harassment of tribal people all over the country. “If government do not heed to our demands, we would launch our long march and invite thousands of people from tribal areas to join the rally.”

Malik Kamran, ex-MNA from North Waziristan also called on the government to act at the earliest.

In an emotional speech outside the National Press Club, social activist from Peshawar, Nazeed Khan, demanded stern action those responsible for extra-judicial killing in Karachi and elsewhere.

The activists also insist to clear landmines from the tribal areas, particularly the South Waziristan district, which has left at least 78 people injured in Mehsud area alone.

The Pakistan Army’s media wing has said that the army would send 10 demining teams to South Waziristan immediately where militants had laid mines.

In a related development, a 15-member team of protesters met Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi at his office on Tuesday.

The premier assured the tribal elders that “All available resources will be used to arrest the killers of Naqeebullah” and justice would be served. Abbasi vowed to build and name a college after Naqeebullah in Waziristan and also promised compensation to the mine victims.

A number of politicians, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfandyar Wali, have addressed the sit-in expressing solidarity.

Fact Box

Demands by Islamabad protesters:

Arrests of former SSP Malir Rao Anwar and other police officers involved in Naqeebullah’s murder

Recovery of missing persons

Removal of landmines from FATA

End to practice of imposing curfews in Fata after any untoward incident


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