The Supreme Court said on Monday that absconding police officer Rao Anwar "still" has a chance to surrender himself and become part of the investigation into the alleged extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud.
Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, who was heading a three-member bench hearing a suo motu case on Mehsud’s murder in the apex court's Islamabad registry, said the court will also determine who has been facilitating Anwar in remaining off the radar.
"The facilitators of Rao Anwar will have to answer before the Supreme Court," the CJP warned, adding that Anwar will be "safe" if he appears before the court but will not get protection anywhere else.
Meanwhile, State Bank of Pakistan Governor Tariq Bajwa informed the bench that Anwar possessed two banks accounts, both of which have been frozen. "Anwar receives his salary in the same accounts but will be unable to withdraw it," Bajwa informed the bench.
Meanwhile, Sindh Inspector General (IG) A.D. Khowaja briefed the apex court about Anwar's failed attempt to flee the country in January during an in-camera briefing that culminated shortly after 3pm. The CCTV footage showing Anwar at Islamabad airport was also shown.
The director general of the Airport Security Force (ASF) briefed the court about the boarding pass issued to Anwar by Emirates airline.
The bench today asked the Civil Aviation Authority to explain on whose instructions Anwar was issued a boarding pass for the Dubai-bound flight.
At the last hearing of the case on Friday, the court had given the Sindh police chief two more days to arrest Anwar. However, that deadline appears to have passed without progress as well.
Former SP Anwar, whose immediate removal had been recommended by a three-member committee constituted by IG Khowaja “to ensure fair and transparent inquiry of the incident and investigation of the case”, had 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.
IG Khowaja had told the media last week that there was no evidence that Anwar had fled the country.
The court has so far received two letters from Anwar — first requesting a free and fair joint investigation team and the second asking court to unfreeze his accounts. The veracity of the letters has yet to be ascertained.
Besides Anwar, 24 other police officials have been booked for allegedly abducting 27-year-old Mehsud for ransom and killing him along with three other detainees over non-payment of ransom in a ‘staged encounter’ on January 13 in Karachi's Shah Latif Town.
When questioned initially, Anwar had claimed that Mehsud was a Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant. However, the three-member probe team in its report concluded that the South Waziristan native's murder was extrajudicial and that the victim had no links to the terrorist organisation.