‘Killer cop’ Rao Anwar arrested after court surrender

  • SC rejects former Malir SSP’s plea to include ISI, IB in JIT, says it knows why Anwar wants to include agencies in probe committee
  • Orders Sindh IG to ensure Anwar’s security, directs govt to unfreeze suspended cop’s bank accounts


ISLAMABAD: Suspended Malir SSP Rao Anwar, who had been absconding in the Naqeebullah Mehsud’s extra-judicial murder case for a month, on Wednesday appeared before the Supreme Court (SC) after the court, at the last hearing, gave the suspended cop another chance to surrender himself and warned those facilitating Anwar of repercussions.

Anwar was wanted in the murder case of Naqeebullah Mehsud, a 27-year-old native of Waziristan, who was among three others killed in an extra-judicial encounter on January 13, reportedly carried out on Anwar’s orders.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar adjourned the proceedings of the suo motu case for a brief period after which Anwar appeared in court wearing a surgical mask as he got out of a white Toyota Corolla.

Soon after he appeared before the bench, the court ordered police to take the suspended Karachi police official into custody.

Appearing before the bench, Anwar’s counsel sought protective bail from the court but the chief justice dismissed the plea and gave orders for his arrest.

Chief Justice Nisar expressed dismay at Anwar’s continuous absence despite repeated summons by the apex court.



“You used to act brave. Where have you been all this time,” the CJP remarked. “You went into hiding. Do you not trust the courts?” Justice Nisar added.

“I am innocent,” the former Malir SSP told the bench.

It is pertinent to mention here that the SC had in January issued a three-day deadline for Anwar’s arrest while another was given by an anti-terrorism court last month. Last week, the CJP had given until March 19 to the Sindh police to arrest Rao Anwar.

Later, a police team shifted the suspended Malir SSP to the Benazir Bhutto International airport from where he would be transported to the port city of Karachi.

Sindh Additional Inspector General of Police Aftab Pathan would also accompany the nabbed accused during the flight. In order to transport Rao Anwar safely to Karachi, the Rawal Lounge of the airport was sealed for the public.

Earlier in the evening, Sindh Inspector General of Police (IGP) AD Khawaja had left for Karachi on a different flight.


During Wednesday’s hearing, the chief justice also ordered the formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) headed by Sindh Additional IG Aftab Pathan. Other members will include Zulfiqar Larak, Dr Rizwan, Azad Ahmed Khan and Wali Ullah.

Objecting to the JIT’s composition, Anwar’s counsel expressed a lack of faith in the Sindh Police and pleaded to include officials of the ISI and Intelligence Bureau. Chief Justice Nisar dismissed the plea and remarked that he knows why the police officer wants to include the agencies’ officials in the committee.

It also ordered authorities to unfreeze Anwar’s bank accounts so “his children” won’t face financial problems.



Anwar’s salary must also be paid, the CJP said.

Following the directions, Anwar was arrested by the Islamabad Police. He will be handed over to the Sindh Police for taking him back to Karachi.

The court also ordered Sindh IG Allah Dino Khowaja to ensure Anwar’s security during police custody. “It is your duty to protect him,” the court told Khowaja.

The court also undertook a sworn statement from Mehsud’s family that they will not take the law into their own hands and harm Anwar, and further ordered his name to remain on the Exit Control List (ECL).


Outside the court, Naqeeebullah’s family addressed the media, his father thanked the people who stood by him and showed gratitude to the judiciary of Pakistan.

Faisal Siddiqui, the counsel of Naqeebullah’s father, said that the top court’s order regarding the formation of JIT to probe the case did not mention any time frame.

“The court’s order did not include any mention of timeframe for the JIT,” he remarked, adding that maybe the written order will have that information.

The Mehsud clan, during the address, said that Anwar must not be scared of them in any way.

“We are peace-loving people and only want justice. Anwar has killed over 450 innocent people of Karachi, he has targeted Pashtuns but we will only peacefully deal with the situation. We believe in the courts,” they said.


According to a report published in a local English daily, the former Malir SSP oversaw the ‘police encounters’ of so-called jet-black terrorists handed to him and was also the leader of a vicious network which extorted “protection money” and ran a number of rackets. Cops and local thugs were also part of the network and anyone who crossed them or refused to pay was picked up, detained and tortured, sometimes even killed in fake encounters.

The report also mentions that the elements of the deep state have protected the Sindh’s so-called encounter specialist, who had not faced a single inquiry despite having slain at least 444 people between 2011 and 2018, and will continue to protect him.

Regarding Naqeebullah’s murder, the 27-year-old was picked up along with his friends from a restaurant by police officials after Rao Anwar came to know that Naqeebullah was in possession of a hefty amount of money with which he wanted to buy a shop.



The report further says that they let Mehsud’s friends go but they continued to torture him even after extracting Rs9 million, demanding he pays them Rs20m more. By then, he was in such bad shape that they decided it wouldn’t be wise to set him free.

The report also quotes a DSP as saying that there are farmhouses in Gadap, Memon Goth and Gulshan-e-Maymar where Rao and his team detained people, up to 40 at one location.

As per the report, Rao Anwar has a complete control over Malir as his informants keep tabs on people’s movements, and some of his close associates are still well placed in the police.

Furthermore, Anwar has facilitated land-grabbing at the behest of the Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) top bosses and is involved in many other criminal activities.

Rao lived a lifestyle that exceeded his salary of around Rs95,000. In conclusion, the suspended cop did not only derive his power from being the blue-eyed boy of the establishment, but also from his close connections with Sindh’s politicians.


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