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Controversial cop booked on terrorism charges in Pakistan

Pakistani police officer Rao Anwar, who reportedly escaped an attack, talks to reporters in Karachi, Pakistan. (AP)
KARACHI: A Karachi police official known for his encounters with Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorists was booked on kidnapping, murder and terrorism charges here on Tuesday.

Senior Superintendent of Police Anwar Ahmed Khan, popularly known as Rao Anwar, on Saturday, Jan. 13, claimed to have killed four terrorists who he said were associated with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Daesh.

Four days later, on Jan. 17, friends of one of the dead men, Nasimullah Mehsud, also known as Naqeebullah Mehsud, claimed on social media that the 24-year-old was an aspiring model not a terrorist.

A day later the news made mainstream media after demonstrations in Karachi and Islamabad, pushing the authorities in Sindh to investigate.

A police committee interviewed police officials, including Rao Anwar, and concluded that the encounter was staged.

The committee recommended that Rao Anwar and his lieutenants should be suspended and their names be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL), which means they cannot leave the country.

Rao Anwar on Tuesday tried to leave the country but was stopped at Islamabad International Airport.

Meanwhile, the head of the inquiry committee, Dr. Sanaullah Abbasi, visited the Mehsud jirga (traditional assembly of leaders) at Karachi’s Sohrab Goth neighborhood where he announced that the inquiry committee has found Mehsud innocent. He said that justice will be done.

A day earlier, Mehsud's father arrived in Karachi from his home town in South Waziristan where his son was laid to rest and thanked Pakistanis for their support. “Today all of Pakistan has raised its voice for Naqeeb,” he told Arab News on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a First Information Report (FIR, which sets the process of criminal justice in motion) was registered at Sachal Police Station against Rao Anwar and nine other members of his team under the Pakistan Penal Code and Anti Terrorism Act.

“The sections cover kidnapping, threats, murder and terrorism,” SHO Sachal Shakir told Arab News.

According to the FIR, a copy of which is available to Arab News, Mehsud was picked up by Rao Anwar and nine members of his team at 3 p.m. on Jan. 3.

“Naqeebullah was picked up along with two of his friends, namely Hazrat Ali s/o Shakir Ali and Mohammed Qasim S/o Daud, but both were freed at 10 p.m. on Jan. 6,” according to the FIR.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court will hear the case regarding Mehsud on Wednesday. The court has ordered the suspended police officer to appear in the court.

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