Ex-SSP Malir Rao Anwar may face arrest over Naqeeb Mehsud’s ‘enounter’

KARACHI – The Sindh Police have reportedly decided to arrest former SSP Malir Rao Anwar and his entire police party allegedly involved in ‘extrajudicial murder’ of a young man from a tribal agency.

The decision was taken during a high-level meeting of police officials in Karachi on Sunday, headed by Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Additional DIG Sanaullah Abbasi, who is also heading a committee formed to probe into the alleged custodial killing of Naseemullah alias Naqeebullah Mehsud, the Express News reported.

“The meeting was attended by members of the probe committee and officers of the special branch among high-level police officials,” the newspaper said in its report on Sunday. The meeting also decided to replace all station house officers (SHOs) in District Malir.

The three-member inquiry committee – headed by Abbasi and comprising DIG Sultan Khawaja and DIG Azad Khan – also recommended that names of Anwar and other policemen involved in the ‘encounter’ be placed on the ECL.

27-year-old Naqeebullah, hailing from South Waziristan, was reportedly picked up by police personnel from a tea shop at Karachi’s Sohrab Goth area on January 3. Later, the police killed him along with three others after declaring him an operative of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

SSP Rao Anwar removed from post following Naqeebullah’s killing

Rao Anwar was leading the ‘encounter’ with a police team. At that time, Anwar had alleged that the slain suspects were involved in several high-profile terror cases and had ties with terrorist outfits Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and the militant Islamic State (IS). However, Naqeebullah had not been specifically named.

However, a relative of Naqeebullah, whose national identity card bears the name Naseemullah, claimed that the deceased was, in fact, a shop owner fond of modelling. The killing triggered widespread uproar across the country.

Rao Anwar, also called an ‘encounter specialist’, had been working as SSP Malir for the last few years and was said to have killed around 250 alleged terrorists in dozens of encounters. He is believed to be close to the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leadership and had always preferred to remain in Karachi’s Malir district.

During his stay in Malir, courts had served him many contempt notices for not appearing before them and a few inquiries were also initiated against him, but interestingly nothing was proven against him.

In September 2016, Anwar was suspended on the Sindh chief minister’s order after he raided the house of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan, opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly, and arrested him for his alleged links with terrorists.

An inquiry was initiated against him. But after a few months, he was reinstated.

However, the Sindh Police on Saturday suspended Anwar for his alleged involvement in the ‘extrajudicial killing’ of Naqeeb on the recommendation of the inquiry panel that had also asked the government to place the policeman’s name on the exit control list (ECL).

Meanwhile, Additional DIG Sanaullah Abbasi has contacted the cousin of Naqeeb and sent police commandos to bring relatives of the victim to Karachi in full security.

Moreover, two elite force vehicles have been provided to Naqeeb’s family on DIG K-P’s directives.