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January 30, 2018

City Council unanimous in demand for Rao Anwar’s arrest


January 30, 2018

The City Council unanimously passed a resolution on Monday against former SSP Malir Rao Anwar for his involvement in the extrajudicial murders of hundreds of Karachi residents in police encounters and demanded he be arrested and given exemplary punishment.

Presiding over the council’s session, Mayor Wasim Akhtar said that he himself had been a victim of the “champion of extrajudicial killings” Rao Anwar who, the mayor said, had registered 40 FIRs against him in one day. He added that it was the judiciary’s responsibility to check how so many FIRs were registered in just 24 hours.

Akhtar said that he was not playing politics on the murder of Naqeebullah Mehsud, who was killed by Rao in an encounter earlier this month, and that he wanted to help the people of Karachi who are fed up of such fake police encounters.

“The law is being misused and we all want this terrorism to be eliminated,” he said appealing to the CJP, and both provincial and federal governments to de-weaponise Karachi.

The resolution condemning Naqeeb’s encounter and demanding Anwar’s arrest was moved by Farhat Jehan and Seemi Ghori and stated that such extrajudicial killings were reported several times in the past but no judicial investigation was held nor any steps were taken to put an end to them.

The council demanded the chief justice of Pakistan to assign a team that cannot be influenced through any pressure to investigate all encounters that took place during the cop’s tenure as well as the activities of his corrupt team.

Stating that the Anwar might try to escape the country through Afghanistan, the council members suggested that the border should be sealed.

Opposition boycott

Members of the opposition boycotted the session because they were insisting that civic issues be discussed but the mayor said that he wanted to take up the agenda first. As a result, opposition members tore up their agenda papers, shouted “shame, shame” and staged a walkout.

The mayor said the opposition had the right to protest but the provincial Annual Development Programme has been delayed by the Sindh government and he was not responsible for the delay. However, in the absence of the opposition, the council passed 20 resolutions in just half an hour.

Strong statements against Rao Anwar

Aman Afridi, a council member of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, said Naqeeb, a tribesman from Waziristan, and several others have been killed by Anwar in fake encounters and demanded exemplary punishment for the policeman.

He added that according to his sources, 40 people are still in Anwar’s illegal confinement and demanded that they be released. Syeda Tehseen Abidi of the MQM drew the council’s attention to the 1992 operation and said that at that time Rao Anwar was declared a hero while the then Sindh IGP Afzal Shigri was suspended for refusing to follow the then interior minister’s orders to kill militants in encounters. She received huge applause from the council members who thumped their desks.

She said Mohajirs were murdered and no one took notice of such act of state terrorism back then. According to her, since 1992, more than 1,700 Mohajirs have been killed through fake encounters.

Her peer Sabeen Ghori questioned where the media was when MQM workers were being labelled terrorists and killed in extra-judicial murders. Junaid Mukati of Jamaat-e-Islami said that Rao Anwar’s fate be that he too be killed in a fake encounter. He demanded an end to extra-judicial killings in the city.

PPP’s Kamran Sahib Khan Jaskani said that judiciary and prosecution were weak, therefore, Rao Anwars are born and commit extra-judicial killings. He added that the people of Lyari were the worst hit by this illegal practice.

However, Mayor Akhtar asked the council members to refrain from laying blame on the judiciary. Meanwhile, the City Council also passed a few other resolutions unanimously – one condemning the rape and murder of seven-year-old Zainab in Kasur and another condemning the rape and murder of four-year-old Asma in Mardan. All the council members unanimously demanded that perpetrators of the heinous crimes be hanged publicly.

Witnesses testify

Two men who claim to have been taken into custody along with slain tribesman Naqeebullah Mehsud by former Malir SSP Rao Anwar and his team recorded their statements before a District Malir judicial magistrate on Monday.

The witnesses said that they had committed no crimes, yet the three of them were picked up and severely tortured by a police team led by Rao Anwar. The two added that they were released on January 6 but later came to know that Rao had killed Naqeeb in a fake encounter. They accused Rao and his team of kidnapping them and killing Naqeeb.

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