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Blog - Pakistan
Wednesday Jan 31 2018

Blog: The mysterious case of an absconding police officer

Suspended SSP Malir Rao Anwar has been on the run after he was ordered to present himself before a committee, formed by the Government of Sindh, to probe into the extrajudicial murder of 27-year-old Naqeebullah Mehsud. Photo: Geo News file

Absconding police officer Rao Anwar spoke to the media on Tuesday from ‘an undisclosed location’ to deny reports of fleeing Pakistan, as he remained at large after his arrest orders over the extrajudicial killing of 27-year-old Naqeebullah Mehsud in Karachi.

Working as a web journalist in a fast-paced newsroom has gotten me acquainted to receiving a huge influx of, sometimes ‘unusual’, information and processing it in a matter of minutes, but my brain took a minute to register Anwar’s move.

The man had conveniently ridiculed not only the police force of the entire country but the entire state machinery with a single message.

Not only did Anwar had precise information on a raid conducted by the Islamabad Police on Tuesday at what they claimed to be the former’s residence, he was also bold enough to disclose it along with his own whereabouts, somewhat.

“I have not fled the country, I am in Pakistan," Anwar told Geo News.

I am concerned for every citizen who relies on the Government of Pakistan to ensure their security and safety; this is a new low for not only the police department but all law enforcement agencies operating on the taxpayers’ expense.

How can a fugitive remain in touch with media outlets yet security agencies remain clueless about his whereabouts?

Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal was seemingly as clueless about the absconder as anyone. It was a pitiful sight to see the minister indulging in blame games and playing politics at a time when a suspended SSP has made a mockery of the state.

“It is the police department’s duty to arrest [Anwar],” Siyal said in response to Geo News anchorperson Shahzeb Khanzada who had informed the minister that Anwar had contacted a reporter during a live broadcast of the television show.

The media has been abuzz, of late, with recent incidents involving citizens becoming victims of atrocious crimes including rape and murder. Be it Naqeebullah’s extrajudicial killing in Sindh, seven-year-old Zainab’s rape and murder in Kasur, Punjab or the killing of a medical student over refusing a marriage proposal in Kohat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), each incident screams of bad timings of government representatives.

Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif was quick to turn the presser regarding the identification of the Kasur serial killer into a self-praise event. He went as far as lauding the authorities for merely doing their job. Staying a step ahead, unfortunately, in inefficiency and negligence to duty, KP CM Pervez Khattak was bold enough to claim that the family of the medical student shot dead in Kohat and the province’s public at large was satisfied with the performance of the police department. While Siyal did not take the path of self-glorification [clearly because of a lack of reason thereof], his case of bad timing was the worst among all. Lamenting the power to choose the province’s police chief is a debate for another day when a wanted man is at large and your helplessness to do something about it is under the glare of public scrutiny.

Rape, murder, extrajudicial killings, and evasion of justice aren’t new crimes; what’s new is the ability of our elected representatives to set new benchmarks of cruelty, selfishness, greed, and injustice each time a citizen falls prey to a criminal, the law, the administration, and judiciary of this country.

Is public-interest ever going to take precedence over political point-scoring?

Will the 200-million-strong population, at the mercy of this country’s legislature, judiciary and administration, ever feel safe?

Will our elected representatives, using all the powers vested in them by the people of Pakistan, be able to apprehend an outlaw?

I ponder over these questions as the curious case of the ‘missing’ police officer continues to unravel before us. 

Note: The views expressed in the article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Geo News or the Jang Group.