KARACHI / RAWALPINDI: The Sindh government on Monday suspended Malir SP Rao Anwar and Investigation SP Altaf Sarwar Malik while the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) has geared up its efforts to arrest and produce the former before the Supreme Court in the murder case of Naseemullah better known as Naqeeb Ullah Mehsud.

“With the approval of the Sindh chief minister, the services of former Malir SP Rao Anwar and former SP Investigation-II, East Zone, Altaf Sarwar Malik are placed under suspension with immediate effect,” a notification issued by the Sindh chief secretary said.

It added that the headquarters of the said police officers would remain Central Police Office, Karachi, during suspension and they could draw salary and allowances as per rules.

Both officers were removed by Sindh IGP A.D. Khowaja on the recommendation of an inquiry team, comprising three top police officers, in order to ensure fair and transparent probe into the killing of Naqeebullah in an alleged encounter on Jan 13 on the outskirts of Karachi.

Subsequently, the IG wrote a letter to the chief secretary, urging him to suspend SP Anwar.

Meanwhile, SSP Investigation Zulfiqar Mahar, who was leading the four-member team constituted by the Sindh IG, reached Islamabad on Monday to arrest Rao.

The capital city police will assist Mr Mahar.

Authorities at Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIA) provided CCTV footages of Rao Anwar to the police so that those who facilitated him on Jan 23 in his failed attempt to flee from the country could be identified and brought to justice.

Services of the officer suspended

The CCTV images showed that the former SP arrived at the airport at around 11.35pm and walked towards the Rawal Lounge. Since he was holding a business class air ticket for Dubai, he was allowed to use the lounge.

The police is also trying to find the man who obtained the boarding pass for Rao, who kept waiting outside the Rawal Lounge in a black car, until the man with his boarding card arrived. Mr Rao was carrying a small trolley bag with him.

The CCTV images showed that FIA immigration officials refused to give him clearance as they had doubts about his NOC.

The suspended police officer then left the airport for an undisclosed location and since then law-enforcement agencies have been trying to trace and arrest him.

The man, Salim Jaffar, who had announced a reward on social media for killing Rao Anwar, has been arrested by a police party led by SSP Mahar in Rawalpindi.

The Sindh IG had taken strict notice of the announcement and had made it clear that no one would be allowed to take the law into his own hands.

KMC Council demands Rao’s arrest

The Council of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation on Monday demanded of the government and other institutions concerned to arrest former senior superintendent of police of Malir, Rao Anwar, and members of his team and investigate all “extrajudicial killings” and decide their fate in the light of a transparent investigation.

“All extrajudicial killings and police encounters be investigated in a transparent manner and exemplary punishment be awarded to those who committed those crimes,” says a resolution, adopted unanimously by the City Council at its meeting held at the Old KMC building.

The Council demanded of the federal and the Sindh government and the Supreme Court to form a committee comprising honest officers to probe into all so-called police encounters, irrespective of any pressure from influential quarters, prepare a report and make that report’s findings public”.

A similar resolution, also adopted by the council unanimously, said: “We demand the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan, the Chief of the Army Staff and the Chief Justice of Pakistan for the arrest of the SSP Malir Rao Anwar and his whole team and order for the launch of a transparent inquiry into all fake extrajudicial killings.”

The resolutions said that the meeting of the City Council felt that complaints vis-à-vis extrajudicial killings had been reported before the murder of Naqeeb Ullah in Karachi also.

“In previous years, hundreds of people were extra-judicially killed in such so-called encounters, but no probe committee, whatsoever, was set up regarding the killings in those so-called encounters; neither any effective strategy was adopted to stop these so-called encounters or extrajudicial murders.

“This horrible business has been continuing for a long time with impunity and no one dares to raise one’s voice against the abuse of law,” said the members in the resolution.

The Council also demanded the public execution of those who had raped and killed little girls, including Zainab of Kasur district.

The members said that the condemnable and horrific rape and murder of the Kasur’s girl exposed once again “how vulnerable our children are in our society”.

The Council meeting, presided over by Karachi Mayor Karachi Wasim Akhtar, also adopted 32 other resolutions pertaining to various matters regarding Karachi Zoo, Safari Park, Landhi and Korangi zoos and aquarium, citizens’ complaints system and women sports complex.

“Enough is enough,” said Mayor Akhtar. “Now we want to rid this city and other parts of the country of weapons and acts of terrorism.

“For God’s sake make this megacity free of weapons and check borders of Karachi and investigate from where these weapons are brought to the city,” the mayor said.

Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2018