KARACHI: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday gave a three-day deadline to IG Sindh to arrest former Malir senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rao Anwar.
The deadline was offered during a hearing of a suo motu case regarding the extra-judicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsood.
Naqeebullah, a 27-year-old hailing from South Waziristan, was among four men killed in an ‘encounter’ with a police team headed by Anwar in the Usman Khaskheli Goth on the outskirts of the metropolis.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sindh A.D. Khowaja and Additional Inspector General (AIG) Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Sanaullah Abbasi were present in court during the hearing which was conducted by a three-member bench headed by the CJP at the Supreme Court (SC) Karachi registry.
Khowaja told the court that after the first information report was lodged against Anwar, the police had traced his location to Islamabad. However, the IG was unable to tell the chief justice the current whereabouts of the former SSP.
Khowaja claimed that the police had “tried their best” to arrest Anwar but had so far been unable to do so.
On being asked when the police would be able to arrest and produce Anwar in court, Khowaja remained silent.
Naqeebullah’s father, who had also appeared in court, expressed his lack of trust in Sindh police and asked the court to form a judicial commission to investigate his son’s extra-judicial killing.
However, the CJP assured him that the court trusted the Sindh police and urged him to allow the joint investigation team and the police to continue with their investigation.
“A judicial commission cannot conduct a criminal investigation,” Justice Nisar told Naqeebullah’s father.
Justice Nisar asked Khowaja if he was under any political pressure to which the IGP replied in the negative. The CJP told him to work “freely” and vowed that the court will not let “honest officers fail”.
CJP asked him to inform if someone was providing the absconding police officer shelter from police in Karachi.
There were many people who can offer him a hiding place here, he remarked.
IG Khowaja expressed apprehension that Anwar might have fled the country. When asked to give a time frame for his arrest, he asked for three days’ time.
The chief justice directed the provincial police chief to ensure his arrest within three days. He also summoned from the relevant authorities travel history of the beleaguered police officer.
The chief justice further directed the IG to independently proceed with the matter without any pressure.
Meanwhile Sindh Inspector General of Police (IGP) AD Khawaja urged under-fire cop Rao Anwar to face the charges against him and turn up at court, evading detention and going in hiding instead.
Talking briefly to press outside the Supreme Court on Saturday, the IGP said the police have been conducting raids to arrest the suspended cop.
Calling upon the beleaguered police officer to face the charges, Khawaja said Anwar could present his argument before the judges. “It will be in his best interest to hand himself over to police,” he added.
In response to a question with regard to court’s orders for Anwar’s arrest within three days, he said police will make all-out efforts to trace the whereabouts of Rao Anwar.
Responding to another question about speculations of Anwar fled abroad, the police chief said Supreme Court of Pakistan has directed Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to take a certificate from all private airlines whether he travelled abroad or not, adding, similar directives have been passed to the interior ministry.