ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court issued a contempt of court notice to suspended Malir SSP Rao Anwar over his failure to show up in court today in the Naqeebullah Mehsud killing case.
The court also directed the State Bank of Pakistan to seize Anwar’s bank accounts.
The orders were given by a two-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, that is hearing the suo motu case of Naqeebullah Mehsud’s extrajudicial killing in Karachi last month, wherein Anwar is the primary accused.
As the hearing went under way, the Sindh IG informed the bench that Anwar has not appeared today. The chief justice remarked that it seems Anwar has lost a big opportunity by deciding not to appear in court today.
After issuing a contempt notice to Anwar, the court revoked his protective bail and ordered the ISI, MI and IB to assist in nabbing Anwar and submit a report in this regard in 15 days.
The court also directed the IGs of all provinces to provide protection to the witnesses in the case after Khawaja informed the bench of threats to witnesses.
Moreover, Chief Justice Nisar revealed today that the Sindh Inspector General of Police AD Khawaja informed the court that Anwar, via WhatsApp, had assured Khawaja that he would appear in court today.
Earlier, as the court awaited Anwar’s appearance, the chief justice observed that they tried to give the suspended police officer a clean way out and granted him protective bail.
Speaking to the media outside the court after the hearing, Naqeebullah’s family and counsel said they are satisfied with today’s proceedings but lashed out at the government’s failure to nab Anwar.
Naqeebullah’s family, including his father, were present in court today. Talking to the media before the hearing, Naqeebullah’s father said, “my son was innocent,” adding that they expect the Supreme Court to do justice.
In a tweet on Thursday, noted lawyer and human rights activist Jibran Nasir said Mehsud’s family has engaged senior Supreme Court lawyer Faisal Siddiqui to appear in today’s hearing.
Moreover, Nasir said the family has rejected all claims of compromise.
Mehsud, a 27-year-old native of Waziristan, was among three others who were accused of being terrorists and killed by then-Malir SSP in Karachi on January 13 in what was later determined to be a fake encounter. Anwar and most members of his encounter team have since gone into hiding.
Anwar’s letter to the Supreme Court
The orders of the new JIT and protective bail followed the presentation in court of a letter written by Anwar to the apex court’s Human Rights Cell.
As the hearing commenced, Sindh Inspector General of Police AD Khawaja appeared before the bench. After being given two deadlines to nab Anwar, the Sindh police chief accepted his failure and informed the court that they need more time.
The chief justice then showed Khawaja a letter, reportedly written by Anwar to the apex court, wherein the police officer claimed his innocence and said he was not even present at the site of the ‘encounter’. Anwar said further in the letter that Naqeebullah too was an innocent.
The chief justice also showed the Sindh IG Anwar’s signature on the letter, which Khawaja said seemed authentic.
Chief Justice Nisar remarked that Anwar has claimed further that he has always abided by the law and will present himself before an ‘independent’ JIT and accept its decision, whatever it may be.
The chief justice then ordered the formation of a new JIT to probe the case.
Chief Justice Nisar directed that a brigadier-rank official of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and an official of the Intelligence Bureau will be part of the team, that will be headed by an ‘honest’ officer of the court’s choosing.
Following claims of innocence from Naqeebullah’s family, an inquiry committee was formed which cleared the deceased 27-year-old of any wrongdoing.
An FIR was registered against Anwar and others in his raiding party. Since then, Anwar has been in hiding and the Sindh Police, despite the Supreme Court-directed assistance of intelligence agencies, has been unable to trace the police officer.