Police boss named prime accused in Pakistan killing

Sindh Police claims that former SSP Rao Anwar is the main culprit in the known fake encounter case

Islamabad: A suspended senior police officer has been named as prime accused in the killing of a Pashtun youth, allegedly during a staged police encounter, in Karachi.

Sindh Police have declared former Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Rao Anwar as the main accused in the Naqeebullah Mehsud murder case.

Mehsud was killed on January 13 this year.

A court sent Rao Anwar to prison on judicial remand until May 2.

The Sindh Police report has added a supplementary charge-sheet to the investigation based on statements by witnesses and evidence pointing to Rao Anwar as the ‘main player’ of the fake encounter.

The senior police official was leading the team that was involved in abducting Mehsud, Mohammad Ishaq, Mohammad Sabir and Nazar Jan under the guise of them being terrorists.

The officers later killed them in the fake encounter, according to local media reports.

The report also indicated that during interrogation, Anwar could not produce any evidence to establish his innocence and rather deliberately delayed the matter and withheld the facts.

The charge-sheet has been submitted by District Central SSP Dr Rizwan Ahmad Khan on the basis of Joint Investigation Team (JIT)’s report, constituted by Supreme Court of Pakistan in March to probe the matter.

The JIT is headed by Aftab Ahmad Pathan, Additional Inspector-General (IG) Sindh.

It includes Additional IG Special Branch Waliullah Dal, DIG of Karachi South Azad Ahmad Khan, DIG of Karachi East Zulfikar Larik, and SSP Dr Rizwan Ahmad.

The 27-year-old Mehsud’s death sparked off outrage on social media as well as demonstrations by leaders of Mehsud’s tribe and Pashtun youth leaders in Karachi, Islamabad and FATA.

Anwar claimed that the slain Pashtun model was an active member of banned terrorist outfits Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Al Qaida, and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). However, the probe committee report by police officers found that the youth was innocent and his death was an extrajudicial killing.

Anwar soon went underground and even made a botched attempt to fly out of Pakistan after the top court began a suo motu hearing of Naqeebullah’s murder.

The court issued several warnings to the absconding police official to appear and even allowed him an opportunity of his defence. However, Rao did not appear in court but remained in communication with the judiciary and offered to surrender.

Later on, authorities froze his bank account and withdrew a pre-arrest bail request. In a surprise move last month, Rao surrendered to the Supreme Court on March 21 seeking protective bail. However, the Supreme Court rejected his request and he was arrested.

The extrajudicial killing of Mehsud sparked national outrage and also raised doubts over police encounters. A report by the National Commission for Human Rights claimed that at least 444 people were killed in 192 encounters conducted by former SSP Rao Anwar in Karachi.


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