Former inspector general of police Sindh, Allah Dino Khawaja, has sent a Rs50 million defamation notice to retired senior superintendent of police Rao Anwar for using "defamatory words" against him in an appearance on Geo News show Jirga on June 18, it emerged on Thursday.
“I have sent a legal notice to Rao Anwar for his defamatory interview,” Khawaja confirmed to Dawn.com.
In the interview, Rao Anwar had described the former IG as a "hypocrite" and accused him of issuing orders to "kill criminals and dump their bodies" among other things.
Barrister Amna Usman — the counsel of Khawaja — referred to Rao Anwar’s interview in the legal notice dated June 28, 2022.
In the notice, the ex-IG Sindh accused Rao Anwar of being a "notorious officer", alleging that he excelled in his career through "political patronage and extraneous influences".
Citing Anwar's interview, the ex-IG termed the claims of the former SSP as "false and baseless".
Killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud
Khawaja also denied the allegation that the father of late Naqeebullah Mehsud — a Waziristan native killed in a staged encounter in Karachi in January 2018 — was summoned to Karachi by him.
The ex-IG claimed that the security for the complainant's father and witnesses was provided due to "serious life threats" to them from Rao Anwar and his team.
He also denied having any conversation with Rao Anwar regarding the killings of the suspects in "encounters and dumping of bodies".
The former IG Sindh was "completely unhappy with you (Rao Anwar) due to your disobedience and misconduct on many accounts due to your extra-departmental influences, high-handedness, involvement in land grabbing and collusion with Reti Bajri Mafia,” the notice referring to the ex-SSP reads.
Khawaja said Rao Anwar was suspended in 2017 because he had raided the house of the leader of opposition in Sindh, which he said was "not even in his jurisdiction".
The former IG explained in his notice that Rao Anwar was reinstated by chief secretary, Sindh "without seeking the recommendation of then IGP Sindh, and posted him as SSP Malir as per his wishes".
Referring to the killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud in the alleged encounter and subsequent formation of the inquiry committee by the IG Sindh in February 2018, the notice said that Rao Anwar twice tried to flee the country but he was barred due to timely inclusion of his name on on the Exit Control List.
'Order to stop TLP protest'
Khawaja also denied the allegation that he ordered the use of force against a Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) procession in Karachi a few years ago.
"Our client, as an IGP Sindh, had issued directives to DIG East for maintaining law and order as TLP was planning to block the road i.e. main Sharea Faisal,” the notice says, adding that since the thoroughfare "is a main artery of Karachi and the only passage to the airport, hence, he (the IG) asked the DIG to ensure the smooth flow of traffic."
Khawaja said in the interview that Rao Anwar had resorted to the use of force, which was "extraordinary brutal".
The ex-IG claimed he had conveyed his displeasure and ordered an inquiry as part of his legal obligation.
Rao Anwar holds 'personal grudge'
The former IG also said the interview given by Rao Anwar reflected his "personal grudge", adding he had suspended the ex-SSP twice, placed his name on the ECL and registered a case against and even had him arrested.
“You are known as a notorious police official who thrived on political patronage and extraneous influences,” Khawaja wrote in his notice addressing Rao Anwar.
The legal notice said it was "obvious and apparent that the interview was given without any verification, proof or evidence and [just to] to defame the reputation of our client".
In the notice, Khawaja asked Rao Anwar to tender an apology within 14 days of receiving the legal notice and to pay a sum of Rs50m as damages, failing which legal proceedings will begin against him in a court of law.
Rao Anwar had retired from police service in Jan 2019 while being suspended and facing trial for killing four men, including South Waziristan youngster Naqeebullah Mehsud, in a fake encounter in 2018.