–CJP says he’s not sure about veracity of letter but has made it part of case record
–SC orders in-camera briefing regarding Rao Anwar
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Wednesday revealed that he has received a new letter from absconding police officer Rao Anwar which requests the apex court to unfreeze his bank accounts.
The Supreme Court (SC) was hearing the case regarding the extrajudicial killing of 27-year-old Waziristan native Naqeebullah Mehsud in Karachi who was falsely accused of terrorism and killed during a fake encounter conducted by Rao Anwar and his team.
A three-member bench of the apex court noted that it was yet to be confirmed if the letter was indeed from the suspended SSP Malir. The letter was, however, made part of the record.
“I do not know whether the letter is real or fake,” the CJP said about the letter, which is now the second message received directly by Justice Nisar allegedly written by the absconding police official. “The letter has been kept in a file.”
In his first letter, sent last month, the officer had claimed that he was innocent and that he was not present at the site of the encounter when Mehsud was killed. The officer had also requested for a free and fair joint investigation team to look into the controversy.
The court in response had asked Anwar to appear before the bench; however, on his failure to do so, the SC had issued a show-cause notice to the police officer for committing contempt of court by not surrendering before it despite being given a fair chance. The law enforcement agencies were also ordered by the court to locate his whereabouts and arrest him.
“Isn’t Rao Anwar being protected by political powers,” Justice Nisar inquired during the court proceedings on Wednesday, to which Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sindh AD Khowaja said that he, as a responsible officer, could not confirm that.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial noted that it was evident that someone was providing protection to all of the accused named in the case.
Meanwhile, Deputy Attorney General Sohail Mehmood informed the court that all suspected individuals have switched off their mobile phones. The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has said that it is providing technical assistance to Sindh police while the Military Intelligence (MI) claims that it has limited technical means to trace the suspects but it is still aiding the civilian law enforcement agencies, added Mehmood.
In response to the chief justice’s query about the cooperation of intelligence agencies with the police, IGP Khowaja responded in affirmative.
“Both the MI and ISI are cooperating with the Sindh police,” Khowaja informed the apex court, adding that the case’s challan had been submitted and the First Information Report (FIR) had been cancelled.
Faisal Siddiqui, representing Naqeeb’s father, asserted that the authority of the state was being questioned as only 10 of the 24 accused have been arrested while IG Khowaja claimed 12 arrests have been made so far.
“Questions are being raised on the state’s authority,” Siddiqui said, to which Justice Nisar responded by saying that the question on the state’s authority is very important.
Khowaja, on the other hand, stressed that the police was making efforts to arrest the absconding suspects.
Justice Nisar then ordered the Sindh police chief to give the court an in-camera briefing on the CCTV footage of Anwar on the next hearing. Director General (DG) Airports Security Force (ASF) Major General Ali Abbas Haider was also summoned at the next hearing.
The case was then adjourned until March 16.