SC grants protective bail to Rao Anwar under conditions

SC grants protective bail to Rao Anwar and orders him to appear before the court on Friday

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News Analysis |

The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan on Tuesday granted protective bail to the accused in the Naqeebullah murder case, former SSP Rao Anwar. The court ordered Anwar to appear before the court on Friday. The bail was granted during the hearing of a suo moto case by a three-member bench of the SC headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Mian Saqib Nisar.

Inspector General Police (IGP) of Sindh A.D. Khawaja was present during the hearing of the case. He told the apex court that a committee has been formed to probe into the case and reports were obtained from Intelligence Bureau (IB), Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The IGP told the court that all efforts were made to trace Anwar but they yielded no results.

They claim that the police have given a face to the crime of extrajudicial killing in the form of Rao Anwar and that the capture of one criminal police officer will not change the police culture of extrajudicial killings.

The CJP was vexed at Khawaja and told him that the results were zero even though the 10-day deadline given by the SC had already passed by many days. “Each and every time, we provide you time but it seems that we ourselves have to arrest him,” the CJP said. He later produced a letter signed by Anwar. The IGP confirmed that it was indeed a letter from Anwar.

In the letter, Anwar stated that he was innocent and that he was not present at the time of the encounter. He also requested the CJP to form a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) for a free and fair inquiry of the case. Anwar requested that members from IB, ISI and Military Intelligence (MI) should be part of the investigation team.

Read more: Supreme Court sets ten-day deadline to capture SSP Rao Anwar

The CJP, in an attempt to lure out Anwar, granted him a protective bail against police custody till Friday but they made it clear that the bail was subject to Anwar’s appearance in the hearing on Friday. He also said that while Naqeebullah was a child of the nation, Rao Anwar deserves a fair trial since everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

Rao Anwar is not the problem but merely a part of the bigger problem according to civil society activists. They demand that the police department should be overhauled and the whole police system should be made transparent and fair for the public.

Naseemullah Mehsud, who was commonly known Naqeebullah, was a 27-year-old from South Waziristan. He was murdered in a police encounter on 13th January in Shah Latif Town, Karachi. The police raid which killed Naqeebullah was headed by former SSP Malir Rao Anwar who claimed that the suspects were militants of TTP, but family members of Naqeeb rejected the claim and demanded an investigation against the police.

Former SSP Rao Anwar tried to flee the country after the Naqeebullah encounter case became public and his name was later added to the Exit Control List (ECL). The SC had ordered the arrest of Rao Anwar and gave multiple deadlines for it but the police failed to capture him. Giving Anwar a bail so that he would appear before the court for the trial was used as a last resort by the SC after all other methods failed.

Read more: Rao Anwar has the right to a transparent investigation: Bilawal

Criminal investigation experts believe that Rao Anwar being a former senior police officer must be an expert in camouflage and knows about all the techniques of law enforcement agencies to trace criminals. This reason was also stated by the IG Sindh in front of the SC as a difficulty in the capture of Rao Anwar.

In the letter, Anwar stated that he was innocent and that he was not present at the time of the encounter. He also requested the CJP to form a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) for a free and fair inquiry of the case.

The SC’s decision to allow Anwar a safe passage was an attempt to pacify the agitated former SSP. Media experts believe that Anwar fears for his life because of his political associations and he might believe that if he’s caught, he’ll be killed under captivity. Further questions are also raised by the media that even though all the major intelligence and law enforcement agencies of Pakistan are looking for Anwar, no trace of him has been found. Some speculate that he might be under the protection of a major political party.

Rao Anwar is not the problem but merely a part of the bigger problem according to civil society activists. They claim that the police have given a face to the crime of extrajudicial killing in the form of Rao Anwar and that the capture of one criminal police officer will not change the police culture of extrajudicial killings. They demand that the police department should be overhauled and the whole police system should be made transparent and fair for the public.

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