Former Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Rao Anwar and 17 other police officers have been acquitted in the high-profile Naqeebullah Mehsud murder case.

Naqeebullah, a young aspiring fashion model from Waziristan, was killed in Karachi on January 13, 2018, during an encounter allegedly staged by Anwar. Rao and his colleagues were charged with the killing of Naqeeb and three others after falsely accusing them of being militants linked to ISIS and Taliban.

On Monday, the court said that the prosecution had failed to submit sufficient evidence and failed to prove that the victims were kidnapped and murdered in a fake encounter by Rao Anwar and his 14 subordinate officials. However, a detailed verdict in the case is awaited.

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Speaking to Geo TV after the acquittal, Anwar said that “fake allegations” against him had been proven wrong.

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He claimed that the person killed was a “wanted terrorist” whose name was Naseemullah and not Naqeebullah. “He was a wanted militant about which advertisements were also given in the media,” he said.

When asked whether he would like to rejoin the police force, the former police official said one year of his service is left and he “would like to serve Karachi”.

Following the verdict, lawyer Jibran Nasir who is representing the case of Naqeebullah said the victim’s family would appeal this judgement before the high court.