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Rao Anwar seeks addition of intelligence personnel in JIT

ISLAMABAD: Sindh police officer Rao Anwar has expressed his lack of trust over the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) constituted to investigate the extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud, 27, allegedly in a fake police encounter by him in Karachi. 

Rao Anwar through a petition filed in the Supreme Court on Thursday, 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 claimd 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.

The petition further said it was beyond doubt that AIG Aftab Pathan, who had earlier questioned and accused Rao of killing Naqeebullah Mehsud in the alleged police encounter, would deviate from his earlier stance.

“The fair and impartial investigation into allegations leveled by him in a criminal case is the fundamental constitutional right of the petitioner especially in the current case,” the petition argued.

“When the investigating team is not willing to investigate the version of the petitioner about his non-involvement in the alleged offence and where the documentary evidence produced by the petitioner is not being verified and the documents so produced are not being made part of the record of the case, the possibility of a fair investigation is next to impossible,” the petition further said.

The petition also stated that the entire concept of the investigation was actually the process of collection of evidence produced by either party including the stance/defense taken by the accused.

Keeping in view the previous conduct of the Sindh police in the investigation into FIRs filed about the incident of death of four people in a police encounter, extracting statements from different people and twisting facts to implicate the petitioner, entrusting investigation solely to officers from the Sindh police under the supervision of the same officers who had earlier supervised the investigation, would not be in consonance with the constitutional principles of free, fair and impartial investigation into a criminal charge leveled against him, the petitioner added.

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