SC gives two more days to IGP Khowaja for Rao’s arrest

Updated 19 Mar 2018

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FATHER of Naqeebullah Mehsud, Mohammad Khan Mehsud, talks to reporters outside the Supreme Court Karachi Registry building on Friday.—PPI
FATHER of Naqeebullah Mehsud, Mohammad Khan Mehsud, talks to reporters outside the Supreme Court Karachi Registry building on Friday.—PPI

KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Sindh police chief to arrest former superintendent of police Rao Anwar within two days after he said he required a few more days to make progress in the case.

While hearing the suo motu case at its Karachi registry of Naqeebullah Mehsud’s alleged extrajudicial murder, a three-member SC bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar directed the Inspector General of Police, A.D. Khowaja, to also submit a report at the next hearing which will be held in Islamabad on March 19.

Former SP Rao, whose immediate removal had been recommended by a three-member committee constituted by the IGP “to ensure fair and transparent inquiry of the incident and investigation of the case”, expressed his fears of biased investigation and went into hiding. There has been no major clue to his whereabouts since then despite repeated orders issued by the court for his arrest.

Final charge sheet filed against former SP and 24 other police officers

On Friday, at the outset of the hearing, IGP Khowaja informed the apex court that the police had obtained CCTV footage of the Benazir Bhutto International Airport Islamabad and Jinnah International Airport Karachi. The police chief sought more time to go through the footage and assured the bench of progress in the case within the next few days.

When asked by CJP Nisar, the police chief said that hopefully there would be some progress in two to three days. The bench then directed him to arrest the former officer and submit a report before the court on Monday.

Speaking to media, IGP Khowaja said the former SP should have surrendered himself before the court. He said there was no evidence that he had fled the country.

Mohammad Khan, Naqeeb’s father, who also attended the SC proceedings, rubbished media reports about a compromise and said that money could not make up for even a hair of his son. “We will keep on appearing before the court until Rao Anwar is arrested and justice is served,” he added.

Eighty prosecution witnesses

Meanwhile, the investigating officer submitted a final charge sheet in the murder case before the administrative judge of antiterrorism courts against the former SP and 24 other police officials on Friday.

SSP Abid Ali Qaimkhani chargesheeted 10 detained police officials and showed the then Malir SP Rao Anwar along with 14 other officials as absconders in the final charge sheet, while placing around 80 prosecution witnesses in the case.

After admitting the final charge sheet, the administrative judge sent it to ATC-II for trial.

The 25 police officials had been booked for allegedly abducting Naqeeb for ransom and killing him along with three other detainees over non-payment of ransom in a ‘staged encounter’ on Jan 13 in a Shah Latif Town locality.

Also the former SP along with his team had allegedly implicated Naqeeb and three other deceased Mohammad Sabir, Nazar Jan and Mohammad Ishaq in explosives and illicit weapons cases while dubbing them militants.

According to the final charge sheet, DSP Qamar Shaikh, sub-inspector Mohammad Yasin, ASIs Supurd Hussain and Allahyar, head constables Khizar Hayat and Mohammad Iqbal, and constables Arshad Ali, Shafiq Ahmed, Abdul Ali and Ghulam Nazak were in police custody. However, the names former SP Anwar, the then Shah Latif Town SHO Amanullah Marwat, former SHO of the SITE Superhighway police station Annar Khan, the then SHO of Soharb Goth Shoaib Shaikh, and 11 other police officials have been recorded in the column of absconding suspects and they were chargesheeted under Section 512 (record of evidence in absence of accused) of the criminal procedure code.

Published in Dawn, March 17th, 2018