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Karachi

May 3, 2018

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‘Rao Anwar was central character of Naqeebullah Mehsud murder plot’

‘Rao Anwar was central character of Naqeebullah Mehsud murder plot’

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Wednesday accepted an interim charge sheet that said suspended police officer Rao Anwar was the central character in a plot through which he and other policemen killed four men, including Waziristan native Naqeebullah Mehsud, in a fake shootout in Malir earlier this year.

Anwar did not appear on the grounds that he was not well. A medical certificate was presented to the court on behalf of the prison authorities, who said a doctor also conducted a check-up.

The ATC however directed the authorities to ensure Anwar showed up at the next hearing on May 14. The interim charge said Anwar had failed to submit any proof of his innocence and the geo-fencing report had confirmed his presence when Mehsud, along with three other men, was murdered in the fake police encounter.

The interim charge sheet termed the killing of Mehsud a plot hatched by Anwar and other accused, saying that all the accused had been in contact. Mehsud, a 27-year-old native of South Waziristan, was killed by a police team headed by then Malir’s senior superintendent of police Anwar in Shah Latif Town on January 13 this year.

On Wednesday, as Investigating Officer (IO) SSP Dr Rizwan had failed to appear, the judge became angry and summoned him immediately. The IO later appeared before the court. Including DSP Qamar Ahmed, some 11 accused were present in the courtroom. The court directed the IO to ensure the arrest of the absconders.

As per the geo-fencing report, Anwar was present at the crime scene, the charge sheet stated, adding that all the suspects were in contact with each other before and after the incident. Anwar failed to provide evidence that he was not involved in the incident, it said, noting that he did not share all the facts during the investigation and resorted to delaying tactics. The investigation had revealed that Anwar was the central character in the extrajudicial killing, it said. The charge sheet stated that 12 suspects had been taken into custody, and 13 others were at large.

The court also ordered the authorities to ensure Anwar's appearance at the next hearing, warning of summoning his doctor otherwise. During the hearing, the court was informed by the government of a notification declaring the Multan Lines in Malir Cantonment as a sub-jail.

According to reliable sources, the sub-jail was in fact the residence of Rao Anwar. The notification explained that on April 21 the court had ordered Anwar's shifting to the central jail, but due to security issues, the home department directed the jails inspector general to move him to Malir Cantonment.

Later, speaking to media outside the ATC, Mehsud’s family members remarked that Anwar was a sly person, not sick. They also said they were hoping for justice from the courts. The lawyer of Mehsud’s father, Salahuddin, said the primary suspect in the high-profile case was brought to the court without handcuffs at the last hearing, and justice could not be dispensed if Anwar kept getting protocol. Salahuddin said Mehsud’s relatives had come to the court all the way from Peshawar.

Anwar had declared Naqeebullah a terrorist after news of the fake encounter was aired on television on January 18. A case was filed on January 19, while Anwar was suspended from duty the next day.

The Supreme Court had ordered Anwar to appear on January 27, but the suspended SSP remained on the run for at least two months. Cases have been filed against 24 accused. Of the count, 11 have been arrested and 13 others are absconding.

A joint investigation team (JIT) formed under the directives of the Supreme Court found the suspended Malir SSP responsible for the killing of Mehsud and three others in the alleged encounter. He was also present when Mehsud was arrested.

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