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Supreme Court fails to lure Rao Anwar

Rao Anwar

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Former SSP Rao Anwar failed to appear before the Supreme Court (SC) even after the SC granted him a protective bail on the condition of his appearance in the Friday hearing. The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJ) Mian Saqib Nisar waited for almost an hour for Anwar to appear but when he failed to do so, the vexed CJ issued a contempt of court notice to Anwar and ordered all law enforcement agencies to locate him. The court also ordered the State Bank to freeze Rao Anwar’s bank accounts.

A three member SC bench was hearing a suo moto case of Naqeebullah Mehsud’s extrajudicial killing. In the last hearing of the case on Tuesday, the SC had granted a protective bail to Anwar to appear before the court on Friday. The bail was granted after the SC received a letter from Anwar in which he claimed that he was innocent since he was not present at the site of the encounter.

Some media analysts believe that Anwar might have protection from the political high-ups who have used Anwar in the past for their own interest. They fear that if Anwar is arrested, he will expose their secrets and put them into trouble.

He also requested to form a new Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe into the issue. The CJP had ordered to form a new JIT comprising of a senior office from Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and an official of the Intelligence Bureau, the head of the JIT will be selected by the court. Anwar failed to appear in the court even after his demands were meant and assurances for his security were given by the court.

The CJP reprimanded the IG Sindh AD Khawaja for failing to apprehend Anwar. The IG told the court that he gave me assurances on his Whatsapp number and Anwar had assured him that he would appear before the court on Friday. “Anwar has lost a great opportunity by not appearing in court today; the court’s sympathy for him has ended,” remarked the CJP. The SC revoked Anwar’s protective bail and ordered all law enforcement and intelligence agencies to apprehend him.

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

The decision to grant a protective bail to Anwar was made after the Sindh police had exhausted all its resources but still failed to capture him. The CJP had remarked that the SC would have to capture Rao itself. The consequences of the contempt issue are unclear since all the intelligence agencies have no clue about the whereabouts of Anwar. Hearings cannot proceed in his absence and any punishment given to him would be meaningless since the courts don’t know where he is.

Naqeebullah’s family talked to the media after the hearing and said that they were satisfied with it but not satisfied with the Sindh police who had failed to nab Anwar.

Former SSP Malir Rao Anwar is wanted for the extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah in an alleged fake encounter on 13th January. Naseemullah Mehsud, who was commonly known Naqeebullah, was a 27 year old from South Waziristan. Anwar who claimed that the suspects were militants of TTP, but family members of Naqeebullah rejected the claim and demanded an investigation against the police.

Former SSP Rao Anwar had tried to flee the country after the Naqeebullah encounter case became public; his name was later added to the Exit Control List (ECL). The SC had earlier ordered the arrest of Rao Anwar and gave multiple deadlines for it but the police failed to capture him. 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.

Read more: SC grants protective bail to Rao Anwar under conditions

Human rights activists have considered it a big failure of the Sindh police and have put a question mark on their abilities to enforce the law. Naqeebullah’s family talked to the media after the hearing and said that they were satisfied with it but not satisfied with the Sindh police who had failed to nab Anwar. Jibran Nasir, a human rights activist and lawyer, has demanded that Rao Anwar should be arrested and made an example of.

Some media analysts believe that Anwar might have protection from the political high-ups who have used Anwar in the past for their own interest. They fear that if Anwar is arrested, he will expose their secrets and put them into trouble. It is also reported that Anwar might fear for his life from the same high ups since they might have him killed before he can reach the court and record his testimony.

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