Rao Anwar allowed to leave city to spend Eid with family

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) has allowed former Malir senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rao Anwar to go anywhere in the city to meet his relatives to spend Eidul Azha with them.

Anwar, along with over a dozen police subordinates, has been standing trial over charges of involvement in the murders of South Waziristan navtive Naqeebullah Mehsud, 27, and three other citizens in a fake police encounter in Shah Latif Town in January this year.

According to media reports, permission was granted to the suspended police officer on is request during a hearing on Saturday. Anwar filed a petition seeking permission to meet his family members outside Karachi. He took the plea that family members were coming from Dubai to celebrate Eidul Azha, but due to security concerns he could not celebrate the Eid festival in Karachi.

The prosecution lawyer, Salahuddin Panhwar, raised an objection to the petition, saying that a petition for the transfer of the trial from the court was pending and the court could not therefore issue an order on the petition. But the court accepted the plea of Anwar after hearing the arguments of both parties. The court said that the accused could go outside the city to meet his family members but he could not go outside the country. — Online

News Desk adds: Expressing their concern over the trial court’s decision to release former SSP Rao Anwar on bail, the Grand Jirga formed to seek justice for slain Naqeebullah Mehsud has announced that they would challenge the decision in the Sindh High Court and also request the case’s transfer to Islamabad.

After a pause of several weeks since the court decision, the Jirga elders and prominent rights activist Jibran Nasir addressed a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Friday expressing their anger over Anwar’s release. The former Malir SSP is accused of leading a police team that killed Naqeebullah, a 27-year-old aspiring model, in a fake shootout in Malir on January 13. Three others were also killed in the encounter.

On July 21, an anti-terrorism court had issued release orders for Anwar, a day after the court granted him bail in a case pertaining to possession of illegal weapons and explosives – the same materials that the police team had placed on the victims’ bodies in the fake encounter to make them look like terrorists.

Mehmood Mehsud, a jirga leader and former councillor from Sohrab Goth, said that the jirga had reservations regarding the ATC decision which allowed the notorious encounter specialist to be released. “Anwar is not only involved in the killing of Naqeebullah. He is also responsible for the murders of 444 other people in fake shootouts in the city,” he said.

Mehsud said their lawyers have filed a petition in the Sindh High Court for cancelling Anwar’s bail and transferring the case to Islamabad. “The SHC will hear the petition on August 20. After that development, the jirga will chalk out its next strategy in a grand meeting on August 27,” he said, adding that peaceful protests will be launched if Naqeeb’s family doesn’t get justice.

According to Mehsud, the army chief and chief justice of Pakistan had also promised Naqeeb’s family that they will get justice. “Even the police department itself has declared Anwar a killer and criminal in its report, but despite all this he did not go to jail for a single day and now he has been released by granting bail,” he said.