What Sindh police are doing, where is the accused? CJP grills IGP
ISLAMABAD: The encounter fame senior police officer Rao Anwar is still at large and on Thursday, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar grilled Sindh Inspector General of Police A.D. Khowaja over his failure to arrest the accused in connection with the extra-judicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court, presided by the chief justice, was conducting a suo motu hearing on the murder of 27-year-old Mehsud, who was gunned down, allegedly by Anwar and his team in a fake ‘encounter’.
After being presented with an investigation report by Khowaja — which found Naqeebullah to be innocent and said that the deceased had been “severely tortured” in custody — the chief justice remarked: “The state has been blamed for his murder. Those who were responsible for providing security are being accused of murder.” The chief justice asked Khowaja what his force was doing when Anwar attempted to flee the country before going into hiding. “What was the Sindh Police doing?” he questioned. “You did not stop Rao Anwar. Should you not have known [his whereabouts]? I had given you 36 hours.” “Why did you wait for the victim’s father to arrive? The parents were miles away from Karachi, how could they have reached there so soon? Why did the police not alert all the airports of the country. “Rao Anwar’s attempt to flee was thwarted by a brave daughter of FIA Immigration,” said the judge, referring to Anwar’s attempt to fly to Dubai from Islamabad. “God knows what would have happened had he managed to flee.”
The chief justice reminded the Sindh police chief that it had put its own neck on the line to keep him in the job when the provincial government tried to get rid of him. “Do you remember that we had ruled against your removal,” the CJP said, implying that he expected better from him. “We had faced such criticism for that judgement.”
Khowaja offered to tender his resignation, at which the chief justice said: “What good would that do?” Khowaja, in his defence, said: “We are using all our resources to arrest him but Anwar has switched off his phones and he knows all the tricks to catching a suspect. “His last known location was in Dhok Paracha. We have teams operating in Lucky Marwat, Islamabad and interior Sindh. We don’t have the ability to trace Whatsapp. We did write to ISI and IB about it.”
“What would writing a letter do?” Justice Nisar countered. Naqeebullah was not involved in terrorism. Earlier, Khowaja had submitted his report to the court. The case was adjourned until February 13. In contact on WhatsApp Sindh Inspector General of Police A.D. Khowaja said on Wednesday that suspended SP Rao Anwar, who is absconding in the extrajudicial killing case of 27-year-old aspiring model Naqeebullah Mehsud, has been contacting media representatives through WhatsApp, which is something police lacksthe ability to trace.
“He has been calling [reporters] on WhatsApp and we are trying to trace his location,” Khowaja said while talking to reporters at the Supreme Court. In response to a question, he said police lack the “competence” to trace WhatsApp calls, but added that police have contacted the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and intelligence agencies for help in this regard. 3 policemen identified In a separate development, three policemen allegedly involved in the Karachi ‘encounter’ that resulted in the extrajudicial killing of North Waziristan native Naqeebullah were picked out by eyewitnesses during an identification parade in court on Wednesday. Assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Allahyar, head constable Muhammad Iqbal and constable Arshad Ali were produced before a judicial magistrate in Malir, where two eyewitnesses identified them in an identification parade.
Both witnesses were arrested by the former Malir SSP Rao Anwar along with Naqeebullah and two of his friends. However, they were both released on January 6, while Naqeebullah and three others were killed in a staged encounter on January 13. Muhammad Iqbal told the court that he had performed “general duty” and “stayed at the checkpoint”, but the eyewitnesses told the court that he had been standing right next to the police van when they were arrested. The court was told that Arshad Ali was in the police mobile that took the witnesses from Sher Agha Hotel to the Sachal police checkpoint.