Rao Anwar facing murder trial allowed better facilities in sub-jail

KARACHI: An antiterrorism court allowed on Saturday an application seeking provision of better facilities to suspended SSP Rao Anwar in the temporary detention facility in Multan Lines, Malir Cantonment, which was declared sub-jail reportedly due to security issues.

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Rao Anwar is the prime suspect in a case pertaining to the extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud and three others in an alleged staged encounter.

The ATC-II judge announced its order on the plea after hearing arguments from the defence, prosecution and complainant’s sides.

The court directed the prison authorities to provide ‘B’ class facilities, which include exemption from being handcuffed, to the undertrial suspended senior police officer, in accordance with Rule 248 of the Prison Rules. On Saturday, all suspects, except Rao Anwar, appeared before the court in handcuffs.

The suspended SSP and his 11 detained subordinates along with around 15 absconding officers are accused of abducting an aspiring model Naseem Ullah, better known as Naqeebullah Mehsud, for ransom and killing him with three other detainees by dubbing them ‘militants’ in a staged encounter in Malir on Jan 13.

The undertrial senior police officer moved an application under Rules 245 and 248 read with Rule 250 of the Prison Rules, seeking provision of ‘B’ class facilities to him during detention outside the prison.

The defence counsel, Amir Mansoob, argued that his client was shown accused and arrested in the case without any evidence. He was remanded in judicial custody and presently confined in the Central Jail Karachi (sub-jail) where he was being treated as ‘C’ class inmate like a hardened criminal, he added.

Being a superintendent in Sindh police and having crystal clear reputation, the applicant always remained honest and received rewards, medals, awarded by his superiors and other government functionaries for his outstanding performance during his tenure in service, the counsel said.

He further argued that besides the status in society and being well-educated, the applicant was a taxpayer and never involved in any case. Therefore, he pleaded to the court to order the prison authorities that Rao Anwar may be classified as “undertrial prisoner of better class” and be treated with all facilities available under the Prison Rules.

Bail plea

The court also fixed June 14 for argument on another application moved by Rao Anwar seeking grant of bail in the case, arguing he had nothing to do with the case, which required further investigation. Until then, he sought his release on bail.

Order on sub-jail

The court also deferred announcement of its order on an application of the complainant challenging the decision to declare a house in Multan Lines, where Rao Anwar was currently being kept reportedly due to security threats, sub-jail.

The judge observed that the complainant had already petitioned the Sindh High Court (SHC) over the matter. Therefore, it deferred its order to wait for the SHC’s decision in this regard.

Security for witnesses

The complainant’s counsel, Salahuddin Panhwar, pointed out that the court had on the last date directed the IG Police, Sindh to ensure provision of adequate security to the complainant and the witnesses, as there were apprehensions that they might retract their statements given against the suspended SSP and his subordinates, due to security threats.

He further said that the court had also sought a compliance report from the provincial police chief, but no such report had been filed to the court in this regard.

The court directed the IGP to submit a compliance report by June 14.

It also allowed an application of the investigating officer, SSP Central Dr Rizwan Ahmed, for exemption from his personal appearance in the court due to his engagement in security duties during Ramazan.

NBWs for absconders reissued

Meanwhile, the court reissued non-bailable arrest warrants for absconding former policemen, including former SHO Amanullah Marwat, former SHO Shoaib Shaikh, former ASI Anar Khan, former ASI Gada Hussain, former HC Abbas, former HC Sadaqat Hussain Shah, former HC Faisal, former PC Raja Shamim Mukhtar and former PC Rana Riaz.

The court told the IO to arrest them and produce them on the next date.

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