Release of Rao Anwa Jirga threatens to hold sit-ins across Pakistan

Release of Rao Anwar: Jirga threatens to hold sit-ins across Pakistan

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: The Karachi Jirga of Mehsud tribes on Friday warned of sit-in if bails for Rao Anwar, a police officer accused of killing Naqeeb Mehsud and 443 others in fake encounters, were not cancelled.

“We will didn’t get justice from the court where we are moving on Monday for bail cancellation of the notorious killer, we will hold a sit-in which will continue till he is sent behind the bars,” the Jirga leaders told a crowded news conference at the Karachi Press Club.

Speaking on the occasion the Jirga’s lawyer and human rights activist Jibran Nasir said that since justice has not happened despite the suo moto notice by chief justice, verbal assurance of the Army Chief and written agreement by the government of Pakistan there will no end to the sit-in but once the mission of jailing the killer police officer is being accomplished.

“We will not accept any assurance from the Army Chief, who visited Mehsud house in Makeen Waziristan and Chief Justice who had assured us justice,” Nasir clarified.

Nasir said that it was the responsibility of police to probe 444 deaths in encounters. Leader of Jirga, Mahmood Mehsud and others also spokes on the occasion. Mehsud said that the Jirga has already filed three applications in the Sindh High Court. Last month Counsel of the family of Naqeeb Mehsud, an aspiring model killed in fake encounter in January this year, has moved to Sindh High Court against the bail for accused police officer, Rao Anwar.

On July 21, Rao Anwar was set free and jail police were removed of his residence after ATC judge signed his release orders in June.

Advocate Faisal Siddiqui in petition has prayed to the Sindh High Court to cancel the bail application and re-arrest of Rao Anwar.

Rao, who was granted bail in Naqeeb Murder Case on July 10, was given bail in second case on Friday, paving way for his release of sub-jail.  Rao may not travel abroad as his name has already been struck off the exit control list (ECL). The family of Naqeeb Mehsud has already filed a petition in Sindh High Court, expressing lack of trust over the ATC judge Khalida Yasmeen who on July 10 granted bail the suspended police officer being accused of killing aspiring model, Nasimullah Mehsud alias Naqeebullah Mehsud in fake encounter earlier in January.

Anwar and his subordinates were under trial over the extrajudicial killing of a 27-year-old shopkeeper and aspiring model, Naqeebullah Mehsud, and three others in a fake encounter.

Last month Anti-terrorism Court had deferred to hand down judgment to declare house of Rao Anwar, a suspended police officer arrested in Naqeeb Mehsud Case, as sub-jail. Naqeebullah Mehsud, a 27-year-old aspiring model from Waziristan, was among four who were murdered by former SSP Malir Rao Anwar in staged encounter in January this year. Meanwhile, the prosecution lawyer told court that witnesses in the Naqeebullah Mehsud killing case had been receiving threats. Advocate Salahuddin Panhwar made the revelation on the outset of proceedings as the court was deliberating over a bail application for the suspended SSP Malir and his 11 detained subordinates.

Panhwar had asked the ATC judge how justice could be served in such an environment when witnesses are being threatened. Despite the prosecution lawyer’s earlier objections,Anwar was produced in court amid protocol and without handcuffs.

The prosecution lawyer, while speaking to reporters after the hearing said that the court should ensure security for witnesses.

A verdict on two applications moved by Anwar – one challenging the court’s decision to declare Malir Cantonment’s Multan Lines area as a sub-jail, and the other seeking provision of better facilities during detention – was to be announced on Wednesday.

The court also deferred the verdict on declaring Anwar as a B-class prisoner in the court.  The hearing was then adjourned till June 9.

Earlier, Father of Naqeeb Mehsud had filed petition in Sindh High Court (SHC), challenging the declaration of residence of Rao Anwar as sub-jail for the suspended police officer.

Muhammad Khan Son of Mama Asal, father of Naqeeb Mehsud has made Sindh Governor, Police Chief, IG prison, superintendent central prison and the accused AnwarAhmed Khan alias Rao Anwar Son of Nisar Ahmed Khan as respondent in the petition.

Son of the Petitioner, along with three other persons were murdered in a fake police encounter on 13-01-2018, allegedly by RaoAnwar and his subordinate police officers, reads the petition, submitting that FIR No.40/2018 (PS Sachal Malir District) was registered by the Petitioner against the Respondent No.5 and his subordinate police officers regarding the aforementioned murder.

According to the applicant the accused Rao Anwar defied even the Orders of the Supreme Court in Human Rights Case No.1949-K of 2018 and absconded. Rao and his subordinate police officers have been accused of having engaged in 444 encounter killings over the last seven years.

Moreover, there is clear evidence that Rao is a thoroughly corrupt police officer, who has acquired assets beyond his known means and has engaged in money laundering. In this regard, a complaint by the Petitioner has been sent to the National Accountability Bureau.

Trial Court was not informed nor was any document produced before the Court to show that the Rao was not being sent to the Central Jail but was being remanded to his own house, which had allegedly been declared as a sub-jail.

“Till today no document like the Impugned Notification has been produced before the Trial Court to show that his own house has been declared as a sub-jail where he is comfortably residing. The Order dated: 21-04-2018 of the Trial Court is explicit in its direction that the Respondent No.5 is to be remanded to the jail and as a consequence, he could not be kept in any custody or detention premises other than in a jail,” according to the petitioner.

Such favoritism in favor of Rao is clearly malafide. The same logic of serious threats to life would also apply to the other 11 accused persons in the abovementioned same special case but they are detained in the Central Jail. “ How can they be safe in the Central Jail being his subordinate police officers in the same abovementioned Special case if he is not safe?,” he said asked.

“It’s most respectfully and most humbly prayed that this Honorable Court may graciously pass judgment and orders against Rao, declaring the Impugned Notification No.SO (PRS-I) HD/II-174/2015, dated: 21-04-2018 [A nn ex ‘A ’ ], issued by the Respondent No.1, and any subsequent orders/letters issued on the basis of the Impugned Notification, is unconstitutional, without jurisdiction, malafide and of no legal effect,” the petitioner has prayed.

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