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Wednesday Mar 14 2018

Naqeebullah murder: Rao Anwar ‘requests’ SC to unfreeze accounts


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court revealed on Wednesday that it received another letter from Rao Anwar, the high-profile absconding police officer in the Naqeebullah Mehsud murder case. 

The letter requests the apex court to unfreeze his bank accounts, which were seized earlier on the court's orders. 

Mehsud, a 27-year-old native of Waziristan, was among three others who were accused of terrorism and killed on January 13 on the orders of Malir SSP Anwar, in what was later determined to be a fake encounter.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, has taken suo motu notice of the case. At a hearing on February 13, the court had revealed Rao's first letter claiming innocence and seeking an impartial inquiry. 

During today's hearing, the bench noted that it was yet to be confirmed if the second letter was indeed from the suspended SSP. However, it was made part of the court record.

"Isn't Rao Anwar being protected by political powers," Justice Nisar inquired, to which Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sindh AD Khawaja said that he, as a responsible officer, could not confirm that.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial noted that it was evident that someone was providing protection to all of the accused in the case.

In response to the chief justice's query about the cooperation of intelligence agencies with the police, IGP Khawaja responded in the affirmative. 

"Both the Military Intelligence (MI) and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) are cooperating with the Sindh police," Khawaja claimed, adding that the case's charge-sheet had been submitted and the first First Information Report (FIR) had been cancelled.

The Sindh IGP further said that Anwar was not present in the province, citing his last location as Bhera — a city in Punjab's Sargodha District. 

Lawyer Faisal Siddiqui, representing Naqeebullah's family, pointed out that only 10 of the 24 accused had been arrested so far. IGP Khawaja, however, informed the court that 12 accused persons in the case have been arrested.

"Questions are being raised on the state's authority," Siddiqui said, to which Chief Justice Nisar responded by saying that the question on the state's authority is very important.

Khawaja stressed that the police are making efforts to arrest the absconding suspects.

The chief justice then ordered the Sindh police chief to give the court an in-camera briefing on the next hearing regarding the CCTV footage of Anwar's botched escape bid from the Islamabad airport earlier. 

Director General (DG) Airports Security Force (ASF) Major General Ali Abbas Haider has also been summoned at the next hearing, which will be held at the court's Karachi registry on March 16.

"It is likely that some [breakthrough] information could be obtained from the CCTV video," the chief justice remarked.


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