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Tuesday Feb 13 2018

SC grants Rao Anwar protective bail, orders to appear in court on Friday


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court ordered on Tuesday the formation of a new joint investigation team (JIT) in the Naqeebullah killing case and after granting protective bail to the primary accused, former Malir SSP Rao Anwar, ordered him to appear in court on Friday.

The three-member bench, headed by the chief justice, ordered the Islamabad Police not to arrest Anwar and provide him security till the JIT completes its probe. The protective bail has been granted until Friday. 

Mehsud, a 27-year-old native of Waziristan, was among three others who were accused of being terrorists and killed by then-Malir SSP in Karachi last month in what was later determined to be a fake encounter. Anwar and his encounter team have since gone into hiding, however, some have been arrested by the police. 

The orders of the new JIT and protective bail followed the presentation in court of a letter written by Anwar to the apex court's Human Rights Cell. 

Anwar's letter to the Supreme Court 

As the hearing commenced, Sindh Inspector General of Police AD Khawaja appeared before the bench. After being given two deadlines to nab Anwar, the Sindh police chief accepted his failure and informed the court that they need more time. 

The chief justice then showed Khawaja a letter, reportedly written by Anwar to the apex court, wherein the police officer claimed his innocence and said he was not even present at the site of the 'encounter'. Anwar said further in the letter that Naqeebullah too was an innocent. 

The chief justice also showed the Sindh IG Anwar's signature on the letter, which Khawaja said seemed authentic. 

Chief Justice Nisar remarked that Anwar has claimed further that he has always abided by the law and will present himself before an 'independent' JIT and accept its decision, whatever it may be.   

The chief justice then ordered the formation of a new JIT to probe the case.   

Chief Justice Nisar directed that a brigadier-rank official of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and an official of the Intelligence Bureau will be part of the team, that will be headed by an 'honest' officer of the court's choosing.  

At the last hearing of the case on February 1, the apex court had granted an additional ten days to IG AD Khawaja to arrest Anwar. 

Khawaja had also requested assistance from intelligence agencies for Rao Anwar’s arrest.

The chief justice approved the request and directed the Inter-Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau to provide their "complete support" to the Sindh Police.

Following claims of innocence from Naqeebullah’s family, an inquiry committee was formed which cleared the deceased 27-year-old of any wrongdoing. 

An FIR was registered against Anwar and others in his raiding party. Since then, Anwar has been in hiding. 

On Monday (yesterday), the Karachi police claimed to have arrested constables Ali, Shafiq Ahmad and Ghulam Nazil, for their involvement in the killing. The suspects have been sent on a seven-day physical remand, confirmed investigation officer Abid Qaimkhani.