Arrest Rao Anwar within three days: Supreme Court tells IG Sindh

AD Khawaja says he is unaware of the whereabouts of former SSP Malir

Naeem Sahoutara January 27, 2018
AD Khawaja says he is unaware of the whereabouts of former SSP Malir. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: The Supreme Court has ordered Sindh’s Inspector General Police (IGP) Allah Dino Khawaja to arrest former SSP Malir Rao Anwar Ahmed over the alleged extrajudicial killing of Naeemullah alias Naqeebullah Mehsud in Karachi, and present him before the court in three days.

Heading a three-judge bench at the SC’s Karachi Registry, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar passed the order on Saturday after a joint investigation team (JIT) formed to probe into the incident declared that the so-called encounter in which Naqeebullah was killed along with three other people was ‘staged’.

Earlier, Counter-Terrorism Department Additional IG Sanaullah Abbasi presented before the court the JIT’s sealed report that said the technical analysis of Naqeebullah’s profile on Facebook suggested that he was a ‘liberal’, aspiring to venture into the profession of modeling.

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It said three of five mobile phone SIM cards issued in the name of Naqeebullah were in his personal use at the time he was picked by the police on January 3. These numbers were switched off on January 4 in Karachi’s Al-Asif Square area, corroborating the statements of eyewitnesses about his abduction.

The report said the caller data record of these numbers was compared with the terrorists’ database of the Counter-Terrorism Department but no match was found and only one call was ever made from those SIMs to a PTCL line in North Waziristan. “This also suggests that Naqeeb was not in contact with individuals with extremist background or record,” it said.

The call record of former SSP Rao Anwar and his team members – ASI Khair Muhammad, SI Muhammad Anar, ASI Gada Hussain, SI Amanullah Marwat, SI Shoaib, HC Faisal Mehmood, HC Mohsin Abbas and PC Raja Shamim – however, suggested they were present at the scene when the killing took place.

An eyewitness and a friend of the deceased, Hazrat Ali, told the JIT that he along with Naqeebullah and Qasim were having tea at Sher Agha teashop at Abul Hassan Ispahani Road on January 3 when eight to nine policemen in civvies picked them.

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Ali said they first took them to Sachal police station and then to another location, kept them in illegal detention and tortured them. He said after 72 hours, he and Qasim were released and asked to keep quite. He added that on January 17, he came to know through media that Anwar had killed Naqeebullah in a fake encounter.

The report said Anwar persistently avoided appearing before the JIT after his first brief appearance and later he and his team deliberately avoided joining enquiry.

He kept interacting with the media, but avoided meeting with the fact-finding team of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan visiting Central Police Office on the instructions of the National Assembly speaker.

“He showed extreme indiscipline and disobeyed the lawful command. He is constantly trying to hamper and obstruct the process of justice,” the report said.

The JIT said Anwar was offloaded by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) staff while he was trying to leave for Dubai from Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Emirates flight EK-615 on January 23 without having a valid departmental NOC.

“SSP Rao Anwar attempted to flee the country on forged documents in order to avoid the legal process,” it said, adding that contrary to Anwar’s persistent claim on the media and statement before the JIT, there was no evidence of involvement of Naqeebullah in any terrorist activity.

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“His social media profile shows Naqeeb as a liberal and fun-loving young man with a penchant for modeling. The police encounter on January 13 in the jurisdiction of Shah Latif police station that resulted in death of Naseemullah alias Naqeebullah Mehsud was prima facie fake/staged encounter,” it said.

The report mentioned “extreme fear prevailing amongst the witnesses about their security and resultantly they are afraid to cooperate during inquiries and investigation against police”.

It recommended that the FIR of the case be registered against Anwar and his team. However, the committee recommended that in view of the importance of the matter and in the interest of justice, the investigation may be carried out by another team, headed by an officer of the rank of Additional IG.

“The witnesses of the case may be provided protection under supervision of Sindh Witness Protection Act, 2013,” it also recommended.

In view of the report, the apex court bench ordered the arrest of Anwar, and IGP Khawaja gave the police three-day time to present him before the court.

The CJP also directed Civil Aviation Authority’s Director General Asim Suleman to contact all private airplane operators, who either own or have chartered planes, to produce affidavits to answer the question whether Anwar boarded their plane and crossed the territorial limits of Pakistan. The DG was directed to submit such affidavits within four days.

CJP Nisar also directed the secretary interior ministry to find out from all the land borders of Pakistan if Anwar had left Pakistan from any of the border areas. In this regard, the officers in-charge at the borders was directed to verify this position in writing within a period of four days.

Hearing on the matter was adjourned till February 1 to be taken up at the principal seat in Islamabad.

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