Pakistani authorities have suspended a senior police officer over the killing of a man in an allegedly staged shootout that sparked anger and protests nationwide.
Senior superintendent Rao Anwar and other officers last week killed at least four men during what they claimed was a raid on a suspected Taliban hideout in the port city of Karachi.
Relatives of one of the dead men, who was identified as Naqeebullah Mehsud, 27, from South Waziristan tribal district, rejected the claim of militant links and said he that was an aspiring model who arrived in Karachi in 2008 in search of job and had been running a shop in the city.
The killing led to a national outcry after Mehsud’s modelling pictures, which posted on social media, went viral, triggering protest rallies in several cities.
A government committee interrogated Anwar on Friday and recommended the senior police officer’s immediate removal “to ensure fair and transparent inquiry of the incident and investigation of the case”, according to the official notification seen by AFP.
The police chief of Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital, has also requested a travel ban on Anwar and his team so they cannot leave the country.
Pakistan’s chief justice has ordered the provincial government to submit a report into the killing within a week.
Anwar, along with some other police officers, had been accused of serial fake “encounters”, mostly involving Taliban suspects.
Paramilitary forces began a sweeping crackdown on suspected militants in Karachi in 2013 that has led to a substantial decrease in the overall levels of violence.
However, rights groups have accused the police and paramilitary troops of carrying out extrajudicial killings in staged gunfights, or “encounter killings”.
Karachi, a port city of some 20mn and Pakistan’s economic hub, is frequently hit by religious, political and ethnic violence.
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