The former SSP of Malir, Rao Anwar, also known as the ‘encounter specialist’ for staging fake encounters, was arrested earlier today when he appeared before the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Anwar was earlier absconding in the Naqeebullah Muhsud murder case and a search for him had been going on for the past month. However, he appeared before the court on Wednesday and after the hearing, he was arrested on the orders of the court.

A three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, rejected his protective bail and also ordered the constitution of a five-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the case.

Sindh AIG Aftab Pathan will preside over the team. Other members include Zulfiqar Larak, Dr Rizwan, Azad Ahmed Khan and Waliullah. Rao’s counsel had requested that agency officials should also be included in the JIT but the court declined the request and asked the team to work independently.

The bench requested Mehsud’s family not to harm the officer and ordered IG Allah Dino Khawaja to ensure Anwar’s safety till the time he is kept in police custody.

Anwar arrived at the court earlier today wearing a surgical mask. Before his arrival, security at the court premises had been increased and the police had cordoned off the entrance.

“You used to act brave. Where had you been all this time,” the CJP remarked. “You went into hiding. Do you not trust the courts?” Justice Nisar added.

“I am innocent,” the former Malir SSP told the bench. The court then ordered the constitution of a new JIT.

“You aren’t doing anybody a favour by appearing before court,” the CJP remarked. “Your letter to the Supreme Court was not befitting,” he said. The court then ordered Anwar’s bank accounts, passport and CNIC to be unblocked.

On Monday, the CJP had reiterated that those facilitating Anwar and others accused in the Naqeebullah case would not be spared. During that hearing, Justice Nisar said if Anwar appeared before the court, he would be provided security and be kept safe.

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