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Rao Anwar Wants to Fly Abroad but Supreme Court Asks him why

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed former SSP Rao Anwar – the main accused in the Murder of Naqeebullah Mehsud – to resubmit his review petition, seeking omission of his name from the Exit-Control List (ECL) as well as the earlier court order to keep his name on the no-fly list, reported Dawn.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial, who was heading the three-member bench, asked his counsel why a former police officer wants to go abroad. “Does he run a business abroad?” the judge asked. “He wants to meet his family,” Malik Naeem Iqbal, the counsel for Anwar, responded to the bench.

Anwar had petitioned the court to have his name removed from the ECL on account of performing Umrah and attending the wedding of his daughter abroad but the apex court had rejected the plea. He then filed a review petition against the verdict.

Earlier this year, he retired from police service while being suspended and facing trial for killing four men, including Mehsud, in a fake encounter last year.

The counsel for Anwar contended that a court of law had granted bail to his client but later his name was placed on the ECL. He also referred to the case of former dictator retired Gen Pervez Musharraf who had been allowed to go abroad.

Justice Bandial said that there was a process to get names struck off from the ECL but the lawyer wanted the name to be removed just because Anwar was on bail.

Justice Faisal Arab remarked that the counsel claimed there was no other first information report or inquiry against the accused but newspapers reported otherwise.

Faisal Siddiqui, the counsel for Mehsud’s father, said that the National Accountability Bureau had already launched an inquiry against Anwar pertaining to assets beyond known sources of income.

When asked about further inquiries, the counsel for Anwar admitted that multiple things were in progress pertaining to the killings of 444 people.

“Many cases of this nature are pending. The court is not hearing this case [at this point],” Justice Bandial said and adjourned the hearing of the case for an indefinite period.

In his review petition, Anwar has pleaded that the court did not notice an important aspect of the matter that the petitioner’s involvement in the crime was far-fetched and was based upon assumptions, surmises and conjectures. “There is no likelihood of trial concluding in near future inasmuch as even charge has not been framed so far and there are about seventy witnesses.”

It also points out that the petitioner has been granted bail by the trial court against solvent surety and his passport has also been deposited with trial court.

It says the court completely ignored the compulsion of the petitioner to travel abroad inasmuch as his entire family is settled abroad and he is required to fulfil his fatherly obligations towards his sons and daughters.

“Given his active participation in eradicating the menace of terrorism, he has serious security threats and it is impossible for him to travel freely in Pakistan along with family or to hold any family function. The impugned order, with due respect, has deprived the petitioner of his right to life, right to move abroad freely and right to have equal protection of law,” the petition argues.

It says that in the impugned order, the court completely overlooked the principle of law that registration of FIR or pendency of a case was not sufficient reason to curtail or abridge fundamental right of freedom of movement of an accused person.


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