Top Pakistani court orders arrest of escaped police officer

AP News
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Posted: Jan 27, 2018 9:50 AM
Top Pakistani court orders arrest of escaped police officer

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan's Supreme Court gave police three days to arrest an absconding officer who is involved in killing an aspiring model in a 'fake shootout', a lawyer said Saturday.

Attorney Nazeer Mehsud says suspended police officer Rao Anwar did not appear at a hearing Saturday. Chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar ordered his arrest and asked the Sindh police chief to summon him before him.

Anwar is accused killing of an aspiring social media model, Naqeebullah Mehsud, in a controversial shootout earlier this month. Anwar had maintained that Mehsud was a militant belonging to the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan group, without providing evidence to support the claim. He went into hiding when an investigation found Mehsud to be innocent and said the shootout was staged.

Sanaullah Abbasi, a senior police officer, earlier told The Associated Press that Naqeebullah Mehsud was not linked to militants as claimed by Anwar.

Anwar gained prominence in recent years for several shootouts with alleged terrorists in which neither him nor any of his team members were hurt. Mehsud, from Waziristan and a father of three, was the latest victim of Anwar's last shootout.

Mehsud's death triggered violent protests in his eastern Karachi and a protest sit-in by Mehsud tribe's is still ongoing.

"My son Naqeeb was innocent, he was righteous. Rao Anwar is a tyrant who killed my son," said Muhammad Ahmed Mehsud, Mehsud's father, adding that he was overwhelmed by the support he received for his son.

Ahmed Iqbal Butt of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that Rao Anwar was involved in at least 192 raids in which 444 people were killed, and that the killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud is just the latest of such incidents.

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Anwar is said to be on the Taliban's hit list because of his high profile and has allegedly previously escaped attempts on his life.

Anwar's team picked up Mehsud along with two others, but they were later freed after their families allegedly paid large sums for their release.

"Police abducts us from our homes and label us as Taliban and kill us if we do not pay," said Awaz Gul, a migrant from Waziristan who has been living and working in Karachi for over two decades.

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Associated Press reporter Zarar Khan in Islamabad contributed to this report.