–Court orders ISI, MI and IB to help police in arresting former SSP Malir after AD Khowaja offers to resign
–CJP assures Naqeebullah’s cousin he is ready to even visit FATA to provide protection to the family
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday grilled Sindh Inspector General of Police AD Khowaja over his failure to arrest former SSP Malir Rao Anwar in connection with the extra-judicial killing of North Waziristan native Naqeebullah Mehsud.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court, presided by the chief justice, was conducting a suo motu hearing on the murder of 27-year-old Mehsud, who was gunned down allegedly by Anwar and his team in a fake encounter.
After being presented with an investigation report by Khowaja, which found Naqeebullah to be innocent and said that the deceased had been “severely tortured” in custody, the chief justice remarked: “The state has been blamed for his murder. Those who were responsible for providing security are being accused of murder.”
The chief justice questioned Khowaja what his force was doing when Anwar attempted to flee the country before going into hiding.
“What was the Sindh Police doing?” he questioned. “You did not stop Rao Anwar. Should you not have known his whereabouts? I had given you 36 hours.”
“Why did you wait for the victim’s father to arrive? The parents were miles away from Karachi, how could they have reached there so soon? Why did the police not alert all the airports of the country.
“Rao Anwar’s attempt to flee was thwarted by a brave daughter of FIA Immigration,” said the judge, referring to Anwar’s attempt to fly to Dubai from Islamabad. “God knows what would have happened had he managed to flee.”
The court reminded the Sindh police chief that it had put its own neck on the line to keep him in the job.
Khowaja offered to tender his resignation, at which the chief justice said: “What good would that do?”
Khowaja, in his defence, said: “We are using all our resources to arrest him but Anwar has switched off his phones and he knows all the tricks to catching a suspect.
“His last known location was in Dhok Paracha. We have teams operating in Lucky Marwat, Islamabad and interior Sindh. We don’t have the ability to trace Whatsapp. We did write to ISI and IB about it.”
“What would writing a letter do?” Justice Nisar countered.
The Supreme Court directed ISI, MI and IB to provide support to police in arresting Rao Anwar.
“It would be better for Rao Anwar to present himself before the court otherwise proceedings of contempt would be initiated against him,” remarked the bench.
In response to being asked as to when he would produce the suspect before the court, AD Khowaja said that he would try to bring Rao Anwar before the court the next day.
Naqeebullah’s cousin Noor Rehman questioned the judge as to how witnesses could feel safe when Rao Anwar was still at large.
“You are counted as a Pakistani–whenever you say I will come to FATA,” responded the CJP. “If our limits go to FATA we will provide protection till there.”
Noor Rahman wondered how Rao Anwar could evade the police and the state considering that he was not as powerful as the aforementioned.
“The apex court had given a deadline of three days to police to arrest Rao Anwar,” complained Noor Rahman.
The chief justice urged Noor Rehman not to return from the court disappointed and stressed that the reality was that Rao Anwar had yet not been arrested.
The chief justice remarked that when the courts issue judgements in every case then it is referred to as ‘judicial activism’.
Justice Saqib Nisar urged IG Sindh to take every measure to arrest Rao Anwar and warned that the suspect may flee to another country whenever an opportunity came his way.
“If Rao Anwar is able to escape from the country he will not return for several years,” remarked the chief justice. “If he does not return for several years, how will we do justice then?”
The chief justice asked IG Sindh whether Rao Anwar was at a place where the police could not locate him to which Khowaja responded that if the suspect’s location was disclosed then he could be arrested from anywhere.
“Once the SIM is taken out of the phone you cannot put a trace on it,” said Khowaja.
The chief justice stated that Rao Anwar was in contact with media via WhatsApp to which IG Sindh responded that the suspect had turned off his phones from January 19.