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    Wednesday, 21 March 2018

    Rao Anwar arrested after finally appearing before SC in Naqeebullah murder case

    Former SSP Malir Rao Anwar, who is being investigated for his suspected involvement in the extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud in a staged 'encounter' in Karachi, was arrested today when he finally appeared before the Supreme Court after going under the radar for over a month.
    Anwar's appearance before the court today was a surprise to many. He was last seen at Islamabad airport trying to flee the country on a Dubai-bound flight on January 23 before he was stopped by immigration officials.
    Since then, there had been no trace of the absconding officer, despite the fact that the Supreme Court had given a deadline for his arrest and called upon intelligence agencies and the Federal Investigation Agency to help the Sindh police nab him. The court had warned on Mondaythat action would be taken against those providing shelter to Anwar.
    Soon after Anwar appeared before the three-judge bench hearing the suo motu case against Mehsud's murder on Wednesday, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar ordered police to arrest him.
    "Take Rao Anwar into custody," the CJP said after the bench rejected Anwar's request for a protective bail.
    Justice Nisar directed the police to ensure that the former SSP isn't harmed in custody. After the hearing ended, Anwar was taken away in an armoured personnel carrier and later handed over to Sindh police officials. He is likely to be shifted to Karachi in the evening.
    The bench ordered the formation of a new five-member joint investigation team headed by Additional IG Aftab Pathan to probe Mehsud's killing. It also ordered authorities to unfreeze Anwar's bank accounts so his children won't face financial problems.
    Anwar's salary must also be paid, the CJP said. He said no institution including the judiciary will influence the investigation which he said must be transparent.

    Anwar has 'done no favours' by surrendering: CJP

    On Anwar's counsel's request, the court withdrew the contempt notice issued to the police officer last month, but ruled that his name will remain on the Exit Control List until the probe is completed.
    The court in its order said that Inspector General of Police Sindh A.D. Khowaja will be responsible for Anwar's protection till the conclusion of the case and Mehsud's relatives will not create any difficulties for the ex-SSP Malir.
    Anwar had arrived at the court under tight security and was taken directly to Courtroom number 1, where the hearing into Mehsud's murder case took place. It is not yet clear whether he had shown up to court voluntarily.
    Anwar was wearing a mask when he entered the court building, DawnNewsTV reported. IG Khowaja was also present in the court.
    "If you were so brave, where have you been hiding all these days?" the CJP asked Anwar at the outset of the hearing.
    The former SSP Malir replied that he was facing some threats which he had mentioned in a letter sent to the CJP. His counsel Shamim Rehman informed the bench that the Anwar had now surrendered.
    But Justice Nisar remarked that Anwar had "done no favours" by surrendering, and it was inappropriate of him to write letters to the CJP.

    'Staged encounter'

    Naqeebullah Mehsud — whose name was given as Naseemullah on his national identity card — was a shop owner fond of modelling, relatives of the deceased had told Dawn.
    Hailing from South Waziristan, he was among four suspects killed in an 'encounter' with a police team headed by Anwar in the Usman Khaskheli Goth on the outskirts of the metropolis in January 2018.
    Anwar had alleged that Naqeebullah was a Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant, but a later statement reportedly issued by a spokesperson for TTP's South Waziristan chapter had termed the claim "baseless", clarifying that the deceased had no links with the banned militant outfit.
    Naqeebullah's family had also disputed Anwar's claim, saying that the 27-year-old had no links with any militant organisation.
    In January, an inquiry team of senior police officers probing the alleged extrajudicial killing of Mehsud had found that the Waziristan native was killed in a fake encounter which was staged by then-SSP Malir Anwar on January 13.
    The high-level inquiry committee had also concluded in its initial report submitted to the Sindh police that the deceased man had no militant tendencies.
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