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)
Updated 23 January 2018

Controversial cop booked on terrorism charges in Pakistan

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.

Greta Thunberg to US Congress: ‘Don’t listen to me, listen to the scientists’

Updated 14 min 52 sec ago

Greta Thunberg to US Congress: ‘Don’t listen to me, listen to the scientists’

WASHINGTON: Teenage activist Greta Thunberg, who has inspired a global movement for climate change, delivered a pointed message before a US congressional hearing on Wednesday: “I don’t want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists.”
The 16-year old founder of the “Fridays For Future” weekly school walkouts to demand government climate-change action submitted a 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at the hearing in lieu of testimony. It urged rapid, unprecedented changes to the way people live in order to keep temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) by 2030.
“People in general don’t seem to be aware of how severe the crisis” is, Thunberg said, urging lawmakers to “unite behind the science” and take action, pleading that people treat climate change “like the existential crisis it is.”
Thunberg was one of four students invited to a joint hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment and the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, to provide the next generation’s views on climate change.
She has been in Washington since last week to join US and indigenous activists to build up support for a global climate strike on Friday and pressure lawmakers to take action on climate change.
At the hearing on Wednesday was also 21-year-old conservative climate-change advocate Benji Backer. He told lawmakers that young conservatives also favor climate change action, but through an approach focused on technology and allowing the continued use of fossil fuels.
“As a proud American, as a life-long conservative and as a young person, I urge you to accept climate change for the reality it is and respond accordingly. We need your leadership,” he said.
While he praised Thunberg and other climate activists for putting the issue at the forefront of politics, he said there was time to take more measured action.
In addition to meetings on Capitol Hill, Thunberg met former President Barack Obama on Tuesday. Obama described the teenager on Twitter as “already one of the planet’s greatest advocates.”
Later on Wednesday, she will join seven young Americans who have sued the US government for failing to take action on climate change on the steps of the Supreme Court. They will urge political leaders and lawmakers to support their legal fight and take action to phase out the use of fossil fuels.
At the panel, Republican representatives praised the students for raising awareness about climate change but disagreed over what action the US should take.
Representative Garret Graves from Louisiana, said his state was affected by rising sea levels and that he supported the US emission reduction target enshrined in the Paris Climate Agreement, but he criticized the pact for allowing emerging economies like China to continue to emit greenhouse gases.
“I think that signing on to an agreement...that allows for China to have a 50% increase in greenhouse gas emissions annually by 2030 is inappropriate,” he said.
Thunberg responded that in her home country, Sweden, people similarly criticize the United States for not taking enough action.
Another activist on the panel, 17-year-old Jamie Margolin from Seattle, called out lawmakers for taking too long to enact climate change policies.
“The fact that you are staring at a panel of young people testifying before you today pleading for a livable earth should not fill you with pride; it should fill you with shame,” she said.