Expressing their concern over a trial court’s decision to release former SSP Rao Anwar on bail, the Grand Jirga formed to seek justice for slain Naqeebullah Mehsud has announced that they would challenge the decision in the Sindh High Court and also request the case’s transfer to Islamabad.
After a pause of several weeks since the court decision, the Jirga elders and prominent rights activist Jibran Nasir addressed a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Friday expressing their anger over Anwar’s release. The former Malir SSP is accused of leading a police team that killed Waziristan-native Naqeebullah, a 27-year-old aspiring model, in a fake shootout in Malir on January 13. Three others were also killed in the encounter.
On July 21, an anti-terrorism court had issued release orders for Anwar, a day after the court granted him bail in a case pertaining to possession of illegal weapons and explosives – the same materials that the police team had placed on the victims’ bodies in the fake encounter to make them look like terrorists.
Mehmood Mehsud, a jirga leader and former councillor from Sohrab Goth, said that the jirga had reservations regarding the ATC decision which allowed the notorious encounter specialist to be released. “Anwar is not only involved in the killing of Naqeebullah. He is also responsible for the murders of 444 other people in fake shootouts in the city,” he said.
Mehsud said their lawyers have filed a petition in the Sindh High Court for cancelling Anwar’s bail and transferring the case to Islamabad. “The SHC will hear the petition on August 20. After that development, the jirga will chalk out its next strategy in a grand meeting on August 27,” he said, adding that peaceful protests will be launched if Naqeeb’s family doesn’t get justice.
According to Mehsud, the army chief and chief justice of Pakistan had also promised Naqeeb’s family that they will get justice. “Even the police department itself has declared Anwar a killer and criminal in its report, but despite all this he did not go to jail for a single day and now he has been released by granting bail,” he said.
Rights activist Nasir said that the committee will protest and show strong opposition if Anwar is facilitated anymore. “People from all ethnicities are among the victims of Anwar’s brutalities,” he said.
Commenting on the reports of the former SSP’s reinstatement, Nasir said that their appeal for his bail cancellation is in the high court and there was no way that he would be allowed to be reinstated.
Haji Qayyum, Zafar Mehsud and Haji Karam Ali also spoke at the press conference. The Grand Jirga was formed to seek justice for Naqeebullah and Karachi’s other residents who have been either killed in fake encounters with police or gone ‘missing’ after being picked up allegedly by law-enforcement agencies.