Suspended senior police officer Rao Anwar was granted bail on Tuesday in the high-profile murder case of Waziristan native Naqeebullah Mehsud after his counsel argued that he had neither arrested the victim nor taken part in any fake encounter.
Mehsud, 27, and three other men -- Muhammad Ishaque, Muhammad Sabir and Nazar Jan -- were killed in a staged police encounter in Shah Latif Town in District Malir on January 13 this year. Anwar, was Malir SSP when the gruesome extrajudicial murders took place, was granted bail for Rs1 million by an anti-terrorism court (ATC). The ruling on his bail plea had been reserved by the ATC on July 5.
He is facing another case pertaining to charges of possession of illegal arms and explosive material, and he cannot be released unless he obtains bail in that case too. As many as 11 other cops are being tried in the Mehsud murder case. The trial court will hear the bail pleas of the detained companions of Anwar on July 16. The hearing of the main case has been adjourned to July 27.
'Bail proves innocence'
Talking to journalists, Anwar said he was innocent and the grant of bail itself was a great proof of his innocence. He said that when time came he would expose people who trapped him and got him framed in false murder cases.
Anwar further said that out of 99 witnesses not a single witness had deposed against him. He added that since the very first day he had been pleading that he was innocent and had not killed Mehsud, but no one paid heed to his plea; however, the time had proved his stance.
He expressed his fear that the real culprits could save their skin as the incident was given the wrong direction and cases were registered against innocent people. The suspended police officer cited the instance of the Mir Murtuza Bhutto murder case, saying that he was framed in the same manner as in the past a man was framed in that murder case with a malafide intention. Mehsud was a shopkeeper. However, he had gained popularity through social media as an aspiring model from South Waziristan.
Advocate Mansoor Qureshi. who had pleaded the bail plea of Anwar, had told the court that his client was not present at the crime scene. Advocate Salahuddin Panhwar, who is representing the father of Mehsud, had strongly opposed the bail plea and said Anwar was involved in murdering the four citizens.
An eyewitness, Shehzad Jahangir, has already turned hostile. He told the court that he had recorded his confessional statement against Anwar under duress. The witness, recording his statement before the trial court, had stated he was not aware of the involvement of Anwar in the fake shootout. He had claimed he was tortured by police due to which he had to record his confessional statement against Anwar. He further claimed that his life was in danger.