An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Karachi on Tuesday accepted former Malir SSP Rao Anwar's bail application in the Naqeebullah Mehsud murder case.
Anwar, whose involvement in the staged encounter that led to the murder of Naqeebullah Mehsud — a Waziristan native residing in Karachi — was confirmed by two separate investigative reports, was asked by the court today to submit Rs1 million worth surety bonds in order to make bail.
The tainted police officer had gone into hiding soon after demands for his arrest in the Naqeebullah murder case had gained traction, especially on the back of protests by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM). He had then resurfaced in a dramatic manner at the Supreme Court, from where he was arrested.
Soon after his arrest, his house in Malir Cantonment was declared a sub-jail. He had later moved an application for provision of 'B' class facilities in Karachi's Central Jail. The court had accepted Anwar's application for better facilities, including an exemption from being handcuffed.
The investigating officer (IO) in the case — SSP Dr Rizwan — skipped the hearing of the case again today. The court noted that the arguments on geo-fencing could have been heard today had the IO been present.
It was informed by the complainant's lawyers that two applications against the IO have already been moved with the inspector general (IG) Sindh but no action has been taken against him so far.
The court also announced that a decision on bail applications tabled by Anwar's alleged accomplices will be taken on July 16.
Following the decision, Anwar said that it has been proven today that he was falsely accused in the case. He said that he would soon name those who conspired to trap him as they had tried to trap "someone" in the Murtaza Bhutto case.
He also repeated the arguments presented by his lawyers earlier that he was not present at the site where Naqeebullah and three others were killed.
The lawyer for Naqeebullah's father, on the other hand, expressed dissatisfaction with the decision. He demanded that action be taken against prosecution and the IO for their role in weakening the case and said that the ATC's decision today will be challenged in the Sindh High Court.
A later statement from Naqeebullah's father's legal counsels read:
"We, as counsels for Mr Muhammad Khan, complainant in the Rao Anwar/Naqeebullah case, are extremely disappointed at the grant of bail to Rao Anwar in the fake encounter case, considering the evidence against him, Rao being a danger to society and his attempts to damage the evidence.
"We intend to take the following actions: (a) File for cancellation of his bail at the High Court. (b) Ask for the transfer of the case from the court of the ATC judge currently trying the case to some other ATC judge. (c) Instituting proceeding against the police and prosecution for not assisting the ATC court in the case and impliedly facilitating Rao Anwar's grant of bail.
"In the end, it is obvious that the government is in complete complicity with this dangerous accused, Rao Anwar, and facilitating him in every way to damage the case against him."