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‘Only praised Rao Anwar’s valor during anti-MQM operation’: Zardari clears the air on ‘brave kid’ comment

KARACHI: A day after describing absconding cop Rao Anwar as a “brave kid”, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari said that his comment was taken out of context as he only praised the former Malir SSP for his valor during the anti-MQM operation, ARY News reported.

“I only praised his valor for actively taking part in the anti-MQM operation and being the sole survivor as rest of 53 cops were killed,” said Zardari while exclusively speaking to ARY News.

The former president said that he was not defending “extrajudicial killings” and can’t even think of backing a police officer or anyone who is involved in such killings.

“Extra-judicial killing is condemnable, whether anyone does it in Punjab, Balochistan or any other province or any where in the world for that matter,” said Zardari adding that none, as a human being, can defend such a heinous crime.

In an interview with a private television channel on Friday, the PPP co-chairman had said that Rao Anwar is a “brave kid” as he was the only one among his fellow policemen who had carried out an operation against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) during the second tenure of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

There were 54 SHOs who were (involved) in the operations [carried out under the supervision] of General Naseerullah Babar (then interior minister). Fifty-three of them were killed and he is the boy who survived,” Zardari had said.

The suspended Senior Superintendent of Police, who has gone into hiding, is wanted over the extra-judicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud, a 27-year-old aspiring model.

Mehsud was one of four men killed in an encounter with a police team headed by Anwar in Karachi last month. Anwar had claimed that Mehsud was a terrorist involved in several murders who had ties to Islamic State.

Just yesterday, Supreme Court ordered the State Bank to freeze the bank accounts of on-the-run police officer who was declared in contempt of court for failing to appear at the hearing.

The apex court bench hearing the case had asked Rao Anwar to surrender himself before the court by Friday and directed Sindh and Islamabad police to extend security and facilitate his appearance before the court.

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