Saturday Jan 27, 2018
KARACHI: The Chief Justice of Pakistan on Saturday issued a three-day deadline to the Sindh Police to arrest former Malir SSP Rao Anwar in the Naqeebullah Mehsud murder case.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Gulzar and Justice Faisal Arab, heard the suo motu case of the extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud at its Karachi Registry today.
Naqeebullah, a 27-year-old native of Waziristan, was among four suspected terrorists killed in an ‘exchange of fire’ with a police team led by the then-Malir SSP Rao Anwar on January 13 in Shah Latif Town, Karachi.
Following claims of innocence from Naqeebullah's family, an inquiry committee was formed, after which Anwar and the raiding police party officials went into hiding. An FIR was registered against Anwar and his associates, owing to their no-show and alleged involvement in the case.
During the hearing today, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar inquired from Inspector General of Police Sindh AD Khawaja why Anwar had not appeared before the bench and what attempts had been made to arrest him.
To this, AD Khawaja replied that every attempt had been made to locate and arrest Anwar but he had absconded.
Expressing his annoyance, the CJP remarked that Anwar should have been produced before the bench under any circumstance.
"Tell us, has Rao Anwar fled the country? Is somebody hiding him in Karachi?" the CJP questioned.
AD Khawaja responded that it was possible Anwar had fled abroad, but nothing could be said for certain yet.
The CJP then gave AD Khawaja three days to arrest Anwar, and instructed the police chief to work on the case with freedom without taking any external pressure.
The Supreme Court had taken notice of Anwar’s reported attempt to leave the country earlier this week, after which his name was placed on the Exit Control List.
However, after AD Khawaja's reservations today that the absconding police official may indeed have fled the country, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar directed the Interior Ministry and Civil Aviation Authority to submit travel details of Anwar's suspected escape from Pakistan.
The CJP also summoned affidavits from all owners of private chartered jets.
Naqeebullah's father Mohammad Khan appeared before the apex court bench today and demanded that a judicial commission be formed to probe his son's extrajudicial murder.
Earlier today, notables from the Pakhtun Qaumi Jirga gathered outside the Supreme Court Karachi Registry and protested against Naqeebullah's murder. They demanded that a judicial inquiry be conducted in the case.
The bench under Chief Justice Saqib Nisar will also hear other important cases at the Karachi Registry today, including china-cutting on amenity plots, sea and industrial pollution, unfit drinking water, and admissions in private medical colleges.
Speaking to media after the hearing, IG Sindh AD Khawaja urged Rao Anwar to ‘face the court’ and adopt a ‘legal course’ rather than evading detention.
“I think that he [Rao Anwar] should surrender and face the court. The court will listen to his legal arguments,” he said.
Responding to a question about the Supreme Court's order to arrest Rao Anwar within the next three days, IG Khawaja remarked: “We will try our best to arrest him.”
An inquiry committee, headed by Counter-Terrorism Department Additional IG Sanaullah Abbasi, submitted its report on the case to the Supreme Court on Friday, which states that Naqeebullah was picked up from Sohrab Goth on January 3 along with two others.
The two people picked up with him were let go after giving bribes, the report states, adding that their statements have been recorded and made part of the investigation.
The report states that 26 casings of sub-machine guns in use by the police were recovered from the site of the ‘encounter’ and there was no evidence of firing from the victims — alleged terrorists.
It adds that all the officials involved in the incident have gone into hiding.
Meanwhile, IG Sindh AD Khawaja on Friday constituted a new investigation committee in the Naqeebullah case.
According to a notification, the new committee has been formed under Additional IG Aftab Pathan.
Other members of the committee include SSP Javed Riaz and SSP Adeel Chandio, whereas Abid Qaimkhani has been appointed as the investigation officer of the case.
The notification further said that the committee will carry out an impartial investigation of the case and lead it to its logical conclusion.