ISLAMABAD: Fugitive police officer from Karachi Rao Anwar, the main suspect behind the killing of 27-year-old Naqeebullah Mehsud from South Waziristan, has sent a letter to the Supreme Court with a request to issue directives for unfreezing his bank accounts.

“We have no idea whether the letter is original or fake but the officer has requested for unfreezing of his bank accounts,” Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said on Wednesday.

He ordered Sindh Inspector General A.D. Khowaja to give the court an in-camera briefing on the movement of Rao Anwar captured by CCTV cameras installed at the Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, and the Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Islamabad, on Jan 20 covering the movement of passengers from the entrance to the airport till departure of the aircraft. The court also summoned the director general of the Airport Security Force to appear before it on March 16.

The chief justice made the disclosure about the letter while hearing a suo motu case on the tragic murder of Naqeebullah, who was aspiring to become a model but was killed during a police raid in Karachi on Jan 13. His murder sparked an outcry on social media when his family members rejected claims that Naqeebullah was a member of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan.

The court regretted that no progress was being made (in the arrest of Rao Anwar) though reports were coming.

On a query, the IG told the court that the Inter-Services Intelligence and the Military Intelligence were cooperating in locating the whereabouts of Rao Anwar. He said that a fresh FIR had been lodged by cancelling the earlier one and a challan had been filed before the administrative judge of the Anti-Tterrorism Court who had referred it to the ATC–II Karachi for trial.

Senior lawyer Faisal Siddiqi, representing the father of Naqeebullah, said that questions were being raised and it was unbelievable that the state agencies had failed to locate the whereabouts of 12 absconding police officials out of 24 police officials involved in the extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah, with the rank of constable, head constable, assistant sub-inspector and sub-inspector.

“It is a question for the court to consider that ordinary police officers cannot be arrested despite directives from the top court of the country,” he said.

IG Khowaja said that it was presumed that the suspects had gone deep in hiding, conceding that no success was made in their arrest though raids had been conducted in their native towns.

At this, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, a member of the bench, observed that prima facie it was evident that shelter to the suspects was being provided either by anti-state elements or by a private army or may be miscreants.

When the chief justice wondered if those providing shelter to the suspects were political elements if not anti-state elements, the IG said that he could not offer any concrete reply. The last location where Rao Anwar’s presence was detected was Bhera, he added.

In their last report submitted to the court, the Sindh police stated that the investigation team had made sincere efforts to locate and arrest Rao Anwar and even had requested intelligence agencies — the ISI, the MI and the Intelligence Bureau — to extend cooperation in tracing out his location through his activity on mobile phone and WhatsApp.

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2018