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Naqeeb murder case: Rao Anwar sent to jail on judicial remand

KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) here on Saturday sent former SSP Malir Rao Anwar to jail on judicial remand till May 2 in a case pertaining to the extrajudicial murder of aspirant fashion model Naqeebullah Mehsud.

Anwar, who surrendered before the Supreme Court last month, was produced before the ATC after expiry of his one-month physical remand.

Police requested the judge to send the sacked police officer and another suspect Shakeel Feroze to jail on judicial remand as their custody was no longer needed for investigation.

Reports say the five-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT), formed on directives of the apex court to inquire into the death of Naqeeb in a fake encounter, has completed the probe.

In his statement to the JIT, the suspended police officer is said to have blamed his two subordinates for the murder in a staged encounter, which caused a wave of anger and protests.

Earlier, Anwar expressed his lack of trust over the JIT constituted to investigate the killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud, 27, in a fake police encounter led by him in Karachi.

Rao Anwar through a petition filed in the Supreme Court sought inclusion of the officials of intelligence agencies in the investigation team.

Rao surrendered himself before the Supreme Court on March 21. The court had ordered formation of a JIT of five members led by Additional Inspector General of Sindh Police Aftab Pathan, also comprises of AIG Walliullah Dal, DIG of Karachi South Azad Ahmed Khan, DIG Karachi East Zulfikar Larik and SSP Dr. Rizwan.

Rao in his petition submitted to the court through advocate Shamim ur Rehman Malik said that according to the section 19 of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, the JIT must be comprised of officers from the police, Intelligence agencies, armed forces and civil armed forces, but the team constituted by the court  was comprised of the police officers of the Sindh police department. Such a team by law could only be accepted as an investigation team rather than the JIT, the petitioner said.

He claimed that the investigation team has deprived him of his right of defense and that has led to his lack of trust in the impartiality of the team. Hence, the petition said, reconstitution of the JIT team in accordance with the spirit of Section 19 of the ATA, 1997, was the only remedy.

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