Monday Mar 19 2018

CJP says those facilitating Rao Anwar will be held accountable


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has warned that anyone found facilitating suspended Malir SSP Rao Anwar, wanted in the Naqeebullah Mehsud killing case, will be held accountable. 

The warning was delivered by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Saqib Nisar on Monday as a three-member bench resumed the suo motu case of Naqeebullah Mehsud's extra-judicial murder and the hunt for Anwar. 

Chief Justice Nisar remarked during the hearing that strict action would be taken against those found facilitating Anwar's bid to escape the country or giving him shelter.

If Anwar surrenders himself to the court, he will be protected, the chief justice observed. 

When Sindh Inspector General of Police AD Khawaja was asked who issued Anwar a boarding pass, when he made a botched attempt to fly abroad from Islamabad airport, Khawaja replied that the private airline had issued him a boarding pass. 

The chief justice then summoned the relevant officials of the airline. 

During the hearing, the chief justice also from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) governor, who was present in court, whether Anwar's bank accounts have been frozen.

Replying in the affirmative, the SBP governor said two of the suspended police officer's bank accounts have been seized. Responding to the chief justice's question if the officer's salary is being deposited in his accounts, the SBP chief replied in the affirmative, adding that the officer, however, cannot withdraw his salary. 

Sindh IG's briefing on airport CCTV footage

The hearing was then adjourned until later today when Khawaja was directed to give an in-camera briefing to the court regarding the CCTV footage of Anwar's failed attempt to flee the country in late January. 

Later in the day, Khawaja completed the first part of his briefing around 3pm. The second part of the briefing was concluded later in the evening.

Director General (DG) Airports Security Force (ASF) Major General Ali Abbas Haider, DG Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) Bashir Ahmed Memon gave the in-camera briefing to CJP Nisar, said sources. 

Chairman of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) Usman Mobin and the deputy attorney general were also part of the briefing on help provided to Anwar at the capital city’s airport.

Anwar, suspended from his post of Malir SSP, has been absconding in the murder case of Mehsud, a 27-year-old native of Waziristan, who, among three others, was killed in a fake police encounter in Karachi on January 13 on Anwar's orders.

At the last hearing of the case in Karachi on March 16, the Sindh police chief had informed the chief justice that he needs more time to trace Anwar.

After the chief justice asked how much time the Sindh Police require, Khawaja claimed that substantial progress will be made in the next two to three days. Chief Justice Nisar then directed Khawaja to submit a progress report in court at the next hearing on Monday (today).

Speaking to the media, Khawaja had said he has not found any evidence to suggest that Anwar has left the country.

At an earlier hearing last Wednesday in Islamabad, the Supreme Court revealed that Anwar reportedly sent another letter seeking to unfreeze his bank accounts. On February 13, the court had revealed Rao's first letter claiming innocence and seeking an impartial inquiry.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Nisar, had taken suo motu notice of the case after protests erupted against Karachi's 'notorious cop'. 

Several of Anwar's associates in the police have been arrested in Karachi but the former Malir SSP has been evading authorities since late January. 

The Supreme Court will hear the Naqeebullah murder case on March 21.