When I looked into my son’s eyes it seemed to me that one day he would emerge a man of fame one day—and the Karachi police proved that today. These are the words of Naqeebullah Mehsud’s father Muhammad Khan as he headed to Waziristan for his burial on Friday. Twenty-seven-year old Naqeeb was killed in Karachi last week in what was called an ‘encounter’. He was shot dead by a police team led by Malir SSP Rao Anwar in Usman Khaskheli Goth. Protests erupted across the country and an inquiry was opened into his death. By Saturday, SSP Rao Anwar was removed from his post. He maintained that Naqeeb was affiliated with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and produced a long list of allegations. The family has denied it and so far no evidence has emerged supporting Rao Anwar’s claims. The Friday Times spoke to members of Naqeeb’s family in Dera Ismail Khan to gain a sense of who the young man was. Naqeeb was about 26 or 27 years old. His Watan Card states that his date of birth is January 1, 1990, according to Mujahid Budarkhel, a cousin who works in the UAE. He was born in Makeen. This information was corroborated by his uncle Merajuddin, who added, “Most of the tribal people don’t keep an exact date of birth record but I think he was 26 or 27 year old.” Naqeebullah was a Mehsud and his subcaste was Abdalai, then Lalekhel and then Budarkhel. “His father, Muhammad Khan, is a respected tribal elder who plays a vibrant role in local dispute resolutions,” Mujahid said. “Muhammad Khan spent some years in Bahrain as a daily wage labourer.” Naqeeb has three brothers. His elder brother Mureed works in the UAE and the younger ones are studying in Makeen. According to Mujahid, Naqeeb studied till class 8 in Makeen, which is set in a scenic valley and has a busy bazaar in the Mehsud-inhibited part of Waziristan. “You can see his Budarkhel village from Makeen market,” said Mujahid. Naqeeb couldn’t continue his schooling because militancy reared its head and people started fleeing for safety in 2007. “Never ever, never ever did he go to any deeni madrassa in his life.” According to information provided by his uncle, Naqeeb studied up to class 6 at a public school in Makeen known as Shoaib Public School. “He quit studies because the anti-Taliban operation was started at a time when he was hardly 13 or 14 years old.” (According to the timeline, if this was 2007, Naqeeb would have been 18 years old.)
“We left our Makeen village in 2007 when militancy was at its peak,” his cousin said. “Naqeeb, his parents and his family had to migrate to Razmak, a town in North Waziristan adjacent to South Waziristan, because their financial position was weak and they couldn’t afford to go down district. Naqeeb has a brother-in-law who is a Wazir of North Waziristan by tribe. He offered Naqeeb and his entire family to live in his spacious home in Razmak [while they were displaced]. The people of Razmak were not displaced. During his family’s stay in Razmak, Naqeeb started going to Karachi where he used to work in one factory or another. He had to live in the same factory or mill where he worked and he used to spend a day or two with his uncle-in-law in Karachi. Six years ago, the brother-in-law arranged a UAE visa for Naqeeb’s elder brother Mureed. Mureed is currently working as a heavy vehicle driver on a salary of 4,500 Dirhams. He was in Pakistan for a break when Naqeeb was killed. Mureed had promised Naqeeb that he would help him open a cloth shop in Karachi by sending him money. According to Mujahid, Naqeeb had just arrived in Karachi to start the business for which he had identified a shop in Sohrab Goth. He got married in Razmak while the family was there. He had three children, two daughters, aged nine and seven, and his son is two years old, according to his family. Naqeeb’s father’s small agricultural landholding in Makeen was their source of income before his elder brother departed to the UAE. When Mujahid scrolled through his messenger, looking for conversations with Naqeeb, he stumbled upon one from two years ago in which he asked him to send him a camera because he loved photography.
The case According to his cousin Mujahid Budarkhel’s knowledge, Naqeeb was picked up on January 3 from Chapal Garden area, Malik Sher Agha Hotel and an encounter was shown by police on January 12 in Shah Latif Town. “We had been looking for him but were told that a lot of Mehsud tribesmen were picked up and released so Naqeeb would be freed soon,” says Mujahid. They identified him from social media pictures. Regarding SSP Rao Anwar’s long list of allegations, his cousin and uncle said: He had a Watan Card given by the army, which means he had no ties to the Taliban. “Had he been involved in such heinous activities why would he have lived in Makeen at a time when there was a heavy security forces presence?” Mujahid asks. “He had no inclination toward Taliban nor did he has any kind of links to militants.” “My son lost his life for the only sin that he was a Mehsud by tribe,” said his father. “But believe me, my son was not a criminal. He couldn’t even think of lifting his hand on anyone. How could he kill his fellow men? I think the Taliban were people of power, money, vehicles and guns. But my son had just a few thousand rupees at his disposal. I don’t think he had become such a bravehearted man to go to Karachi and kill people.”