Former senior superintendent of police (SSP) Malir Rao Anwar, who was recently removed from his post over his alleged involvement in the extrajudicial killing of aspiring model Naqeebullah Mehsud, demanded on Thursday that a joint investigation team (JIT) comprising members of intelligence agencies be formed to investigate the charges against him.
Talking to Dawn, Anwar said that he had demanded a JIT because the investigation against him was “one-sided”. The police officer has gone into hiding and refused to answer to any authority investigating him for extrajudicial killings of terrorist suspects.
The former SSP today claimed that he was only following orders “to show no leniency to terrorists”.
He further complained that officers “who had nothing to do” with the Naqeebullah operation were being included in the investigation.
“Police are carrying out raids at their houses and misbehaving with their families,” he claimed, also accusing the police department of “undermining” the Karachi operation as well as disregarding the law.
“Police officials are addressing jirgas even though the Supreme Court and the Sindh High Court have imposed a ban on them,” he complained.
In a separate statement issued to the media earlier the same day, Anwar also claimed that the decision to eliminate terrorists extra-judicially had been taken in an official meeting.
In his statement, Anwar also insisted that he was innocent and that the officers who had filed a case against him had done so because of personal animosity.
“The impression that I led an encounter in a personal capacity is wrong,” he said. “I am a professional officer who follows principles.”
Anwar also raised questions over the credibility of the officers investigating the case against him and alleged that their “hands are not clean either” and warned that he has “solid evidence”.
“How many successful operations have been carried out by [Additional Inspector General of the Counter-Terrorism Department] Sanaullah Abbasi?” he asked.
In the spotlight
Anwar has been under scrutiny over his involvement in a police “encounter” that led to the extrajudicial killing of aspiring model Naqeebullah Mehsud and three others last week.
Though the former SSP at the time had insisted that the 27-year-old, who hailed from South Waziristan, was a militant with ties with terrorist outfits Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the militant Islamic State, Naqeebullah’s family claimed that the deceased was, in fact, a shop owner fond of modelling.
A statement reportedly issued by a spokesperson of TTP’s South Waziristan chapter had termed Anwar’s claim as “baseless”, clarifying that the deceased had no links with the banned militant outfit.
Following protests from the deceased’s family and friends, the Sindh police chief had ordered an inquiry into the matter and asked a committee to submit a report.
Anwar was removed from his post after the committee concluded that in order to ensure a fair and transparent inquiry into the incident, the former SSP and SP Investigation-II East Altaf Sarwar Malik should be suspended.
On Tuesday, the inquiry team had concluded that the death of Naqeebullah was an extrajudicial killing. Sanaullah Abbasi had subsequently met the victim’s grieving friends, family and tribesmen gathered on the outskirts of Karachi.
Abbasi had assured Naqeebullah’s kin that he had never been involved in terrorism-related activities as alleged earlier, but had been innocent and was in fact killed in a ‘fake encounter’.
“This was a fake encounter in which an innocent man was killed,” Abbasi had said. “Whoever was involved will be brought to justice.”
The same day, a first information report (FIR) was also registered against the former SSP Malir and other police personnel accused of involvement in the ‘encounter’. The murder case was registered at Sachal police station after the victim’s father nominated Anwar and his team in the FIR.