Pakistan court remands former top policeman

Probe panel formed on Supreme Court’s order finds Anwar and three others responsible for killing of Mehsud in a staged encounter

Karachi: The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Karachi has remanded former Senior Superintendent of Police Malir Rao Anwar in custody until May 2, in connection with the murder of Naqeebullah Mehsud.

The hearing into Mehsud’s murder case, allegedly in a staged police encounter, was held on Saturday.

The former senior police official, along with 11 of his detained subordinates and 14 absconders, is accused of abducting Naseemullah, aka Naqeebullah Mehsud, for ransom and later killing him, along with three other detainees, in the staged encounter in Malir on January 13.

The accused cops had initially reported the murder as an ‘encounter’ against militants, Dawnonline reported.

Anwar, along with the other suspects, has also been booked for planting false evidence — pistols and hand grenades — on Mehsud and three others after killing them in the shootout, and later registering a false case against the deceased under the Sindh Arms Act for illegal possession of arms and explosives.

On Saturday, Anwar was escorted by the police to the ATC in an armoured personnel carrier. He refused to answer reporters’ questions.

The investigating officer in the case requested the court to send Anwar on judicial remand, and sought a week’s time to submit a final challan for the case.

He informed the court a new joint investigation team (JIT) had been formed to investigate Anwar over the killing and a report would be submitted as per the JIT’s recommendation.

The counsel representing Anwar, Amir Mansoob, opposed the plea for remand, contending that until the cases registered against Mehsud and the other deceased are declared false and withdrawn, a case could not be registered against the former SSP.

Meanwhile, it emerged on Friday that the JIT formed on the Supreme Court’s directives had held Anwar and three others responsible for the killing of Mehsud in a fake encounter.

“The JIT found Rao Anwar guilty of killing an innocent person, Naqeebullah Mehsud, in a fake encounter,” a JIT member who wished not to be named told Dawn.

It may be recalled that 11 police officials had already been arrested in the case before Anwar was taken into custody following his ‘surrender’ before the SC in Islamabad on March 21. Around 15 accused police officers have been declared as absconders in the case.

Mehsud’s father lodged a case on Jan 23 against Rao Anwar and others on the basis of the findings of a three-member inquiry committee, which had said that, prima facie, the encounter was coordinated, fake and staged. Police investigators claimed that Anwar played a central role in the case.

The Supreme Court later took notice of the killing after the incident sparked outrage on social media and protests by political and religious parties and rights organisations.

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