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Bilawal demands ban on police encounters

Bilawal demands ban on police encounters

Posted on 22 January 2018 by Usama Hashmi - Total hits: 177

KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto said on Sunday that he was against police encounters anywhere in the country, adding the trend was not a solution to anything.

“I demand [a complete] ban on such encounters in the country because terrorism can’t be curbed with such policies,” Bilawal said while addressing a news conference in connection with the launch of the party’s membership drive.

At the same time, Bilawal said that former Malir SSP Rao Anwar also has the right to a transparent investigation.

The PPP chairman also ruled out the possibility of delay in the Senate election scheduled for March. “The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz will be given another jolt in the upcoming election on half-of-the-seats of the upper house.”

Bilawal urged people, especially youth and women, to fill the membership form and join the ideological force working for a peaceful, progressive and prosperous Pakistan.

Elaborating the membership drive, Bilawal said that the membership campaign will be conducted door-to-door, through camps and also by utilisating modern communication technology like the internet and cellular modes.

A website: www.pppmember.com and SMS, will also offer membership options to reach out to the masses, whose massive majority was against extremism and politics of hatred, he added.

The PPP chairman said that the membership drive has been designed to reduce the gap between him and party workers, adding that following the successful completion of the drive he would be able to communicate directly with the workers and the members through the modern communication means.

Bilawal said the PPP launched the BISP in the center and now the Sindh government has started anti-poverty programme at Union Council levels where lending of interest-free loans to the rural poor, especially the women has pulled 600,000 families out of poverty.

He said the 18th Amendment, devolution of powers and NFC Award were also enacted in a bid to discourage extremism and promote democratic and democracy values.

He said, “Under the philosophy of service-oriented politics, we have provided state-of-the-art health facilities including free heart treatment at four Satellite Hospitals of NICVD in Hyderabad, Tando Mohammad Larkan and Sehwan Sharif.”

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Inquiry officials claim Anwar not cooperating

Inquiry officials claim Anwar not cooperating

Posted on 22 January 2018 by Usama Hashmi - Total hits: 96

KARACHI: The inquiry committee officials on Sunday accused SSP Rao Anwar of not cooperating with them, while the officer claimed that a conspiracy was being hatched against him.

Inquiry committee officials said Anwar has been called multiple times to produce evidence against Naseemullah and to prove his own innocence, but the SSP was not cooperating with the committee and has still failed to prove that Naseemullah was a terrorist.

SSP Anwar and his team are currently facing a departmental inquiry for conducting an alleged fake encounter in the Shah Latif Town area of Karachi on January 13, in which four men they claimed were militants were killed. One of the dead was Naseemullah.
According to witnesses and relatives, Naseemullah was abducted on January 3 from the Sohrab Goth area of the port city.

Sindh Inspector-General of Police Allah Dino Khawaja constituted a three-member inquiry committee headed by CTD Additional IG Sanaullah Abbasi after the family of the victim claimed that Naseemullah was killed in an extrajudicial killing.

On the other hand, Anwar alleged that a conspiracy was being hatched against him. “The inquiry committee formed against me is not transparent and all the members of the committee are against me,” claimed the SSP.

Anwar said that he made multiple attempts to reach out to the committee members but they were refusing to meet him. He said that the SHO and his police party conducted an encounter, but oddly the inquiry being conducted is against him. He added that he always owned any encounters in front of the media to protect his officers.

Meanwhile, a meeting has also been scheduled at the Central Police Office for Monday (today) where besides police officials, representatives of human rights will also hear the version of SSP Anwar.

On the other hand, it was reported that the former District Malir police chief is likely to be arrested, along with his team, over the ‘extrajudicial killing’ of Naseemullah, alias Naqeebullah Mehsud, who hailed from South Waziristan.

Besides SSP Anwar, Malir Investigations SP Malik Altaf Sarwar, Shah Latif SHO Amanullah Marwat and his team members, including ASI Gada Hussain, Head Constable Sadaqat Hussain Shah, Mohsin Abbas and constables Raja Shamim Mukhtar and Rana Riaz Ahmed, have already been suspended on the recommendations of the committee. The committee has also recommended putting SSP Anwar and SP Sarwar’s names on the ECL to ensure a fair and transparent inquiry.

During its investigations, the committee also visited the crime scene. Their visits have suggested that SSP Anwar’s claims were incorrect.

The committee also questioned the imprisoned militants who denied having any links with the deceased. The inquiry committee believes that Naseemullah who was wanted by the police was another guy.

Now, the inquiry team is waiting for the arrival of Naseemullah’s heirs from DI Khan to register a murder case against SSP Anwar and his team.

Police commandoes have also been provided to the family to address their security concerns, said a senior police officer privy to the matter. He added that the police can itself register a case if the family refuses to do it.

“Anwar and his team members are likely to be arrested tonight or the tomorrow,” warned an official.

Meanwhile, SHOs of at least 13 police stations of Malir have been removed from their posts by the Sindh Additional IG. They include Sohrab Goth SHO Shoaib Sheikh alias Shoaib Shooter, Malir City SHO Rana Haseeb, Malir Cantt SHO Rana Dilshad, Memon Goth SHO Gulzar Tunio and Steel Town SHO Ghulam Mujtaba.

Other officers on the radar

Interestingly, officers from the rank of constable to SP have also been posted in District Malir on SSP Anwar’s recommendations. The police higher-ups are also are also investigating whether they had any role in helping Anwar in conduct fake encounters, land grabbing and other illegal activities.

Two more SPs– Malir SP Dr Najeeb Ahmed, Gadap SP Iftikhar Lodhi- and about two dozen DSPs, SHOs and head muharars are also on the police’s radar and are likely to be suspended, transferred or arrested.

In-charge of Abbas Town police post Ali Akbar Mallah, who is believed to be the main officer behind the abduction of Naseemullah from a hotel, SI Khair Muhammad (SSP Anwar’s alleged ‘collector’), SI Din Muhammad Mallah and ASI Waqar, who allegedly deals with the illegal ‘reti-bajri’ (construction material) business are also on the radar of the police higher-ups.

The top cops are also looking for SSP Anwar’s ‘encounter specialists’ team. Those being looked for are al-Asif Square police post in-charge Ahsan Marwat, former Shah Latif SHO Amanullah Marwat, Gadap City SHO Khan Zaman, Tariq alias Shankar posted to SSP Malir office, former Site Super Highway SHO Anar Khan, Head Muharir SITE Super Highway Faisal alias Bali. It is believed that these police officers played a role in conducting in every second ‘fake encounter’ with the SSP.

Apart from the criminal activities, the police high ups are also investigating SSP Anwar’s involvement in money laundering and obtaining properties worth millions within the country or outside the country. It is expected that the SSP’s case may be moved to the National Accountability Bureau.

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CJP takes notice of extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah in Karachi

CJP takes notice of extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah in Karachi

Posted on 19 January 2018 by Usama Hashmi - Total hits: 136

The Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday took notice of the alleged extrajudicial killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud during an encounter in Karachi and sought a report from IGP Sindh within seven days.

Earlier today, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Rao Anwar appeared before a three-member committee in Karachi investigating the killing of four alleged terrorists killed during an ‘encounter’ by a police team in the port city, said Express News.

A high-level committee, headed by Additional IG CTD Sanaullah Abbasi and comprising DIG East Sultan Khawaja and DIG South Azad Khan, was formed on PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s orders to investigate Naqeebullah’s, a 27-year-old hailing from South Waziristan, killing who was reportedly shot dead in the same encounter.

On January 13, SSP Anwar had claimed to have gunned down four members of the defunct Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in an encounter near Shah Latif Town in Karachi. According to him, Naqeebullah had links with the banned TTP and was living in Karachi’s Sohrab Goth area using a fake name.

However, the family members of Naseemullah alias Naqeebullah claim that he was an aspiring model and was killed in a fake police encounter.

Meanwhile, Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal directed DIG Police South Zone, Karachi, to conduct an inquiry into the matter and submit findings within 15 days after the news of Naqeebullah’s killing spread on the social media and protests were staged in varying parts of the country accusing SSP Anwar of staging fake encounters for personal benefits.

SSP Anwar, also called the ‘encounter specialist’ by some, is known for conducting ‘encounters’ of controversial nature. In the past too, he has claimed to have killed several belonging to banned militant outfits and political party workers with alleged linked with Indian spy agency RAW.

Who was Naqeebullah Mehsud?

Talking to The Express Tribune earlier, Rehman Mehsud, a cousin of Naqeebullah described him as a handsome young lad with attractive features.

A father of three, Naqeebullah, used to religiously post his photos on social media, receiving likes and comments from friends and others, added Rehman.

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SSP Rao Anwar survives ‘suicide attack’ in Karachi

SSP Rao Anwar survives ‘suicide attack’ in Karachi

Posted on 17 January 2018 by Usama Hashmi - Total hits: 185

KARACHI: A key police officer, commonly known as ‘encounter specialist’, survived a suicide attack late on Tuesday night in Karachi.

“A suicide bomber hit his motorcycle with my armoured vehicle when my convoy reached Malir Cantt area via a link road. He blew himself up after he fell down on the road,” SSP Rao Anwar told reporters after the incident.

“His accomplices then opened fire on my convoy. My jawans retaliated from inside the APC [armoured personnel carrier] and killed the two attackers,” he added.
A few militants also reportedly managed to escape under the cover of fire while the police and Rangers were busy in conducting search operation in the area.

After the attack, extra contingent of police and Rangers reached the site, cordoned off the area and collected evidence. Experts from the bomb disposal squad also reached the site, where media was not allowed to enter.

Police said at least three militants ambushed the convoy. They said militants of different extremist outfits might be behind the attack. Later, Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal phoned Anwar and inquired after his health. He also sought a report on the incident from DIG East.

The SSP, who is posted in District Malir for around six years, has killed in various encounters over 150 militants of various banned outfits including Dai’sh, Taliban, al-Qaeda, Jamaatul Ahrar and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. The police officer has faced similar attempts on his life in the past as well.

In 2012, five people were killed and several others were injured when Anwar’s ACP came under attack in a bomb blast while he was making his way to the Malir court.

In 2015, his convoy came under attack outside his house in Malir Cantt. All policemen, travelling in the convoy, had remained unhurt but all the attackers were killed in retaliatory fire.

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Will PML-N and PTI take pages from TLP’s book to gain votes for the 2018 general election?

Will PML-N and PTI take pages from TLP’s book to gain votes for the 2018 general election?

Posted on 16 January 2018 by Usama Hashmi - Total hits: 137

Recently, the results of the by-election in PP-20 Chakwal were declared, giving the embattled Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) a comfortable victory. This particular by-election was important for the following three parties: PML-N, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP).

For PML-N, ever since Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification through Supreme Court’s (SC) landmark decision, a question which has constantly been discussed in the media is their political future. According to some, PML-N is in dire state after the disqualification and is facing harsh subsequent events which include Faizabad sit-in and former prime minister’s continuous confrontation with higher judiciary and establishment.

At the same time, some believe that despite problems, Nawaz is still popular and PML-N’s vote bank is still intact. Going into election 2018 (assuming these are held on time or held at all), it became imperative to gauge its electoral prowess and this by-election provided a useful means to do that.

Likewise, popularity of the main opposition party, PTI, which spearheaded the campaign against Nawaz, also needed to be assessed. On electronic and social media, the party definitely has a massive footprint and furthermore there is absolutely no doubt that today, PTI has more street power than any other political party, matching Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the latter’s heydays. Whether these obvious advantages translate into electoral majority in Pakistan, particularly Punjab, this by-election was an important way to gauge.

In addition, everyone was also interested in gauging the prospects of new right-wing party TLP, particularly after the recently concluded Faizabad sit-in. It has been claimed that the party would make a dent into PML-N’s vote bank in 2018 general election, thus benefiting PTI.

So how did the three parties fare in the by-election?

For PML-N, given the fact that it has been facing problems for some time now, this was a do or die situation. Moreover, this was the seat they have been winning for decades, barring the 2002 election. Local dynamics were apparently in their favour, which actually made it even more important for them to win. They had to win this seat and by a very comfortable margin to prove that they were not only intact as a party but also had a fighting chance in the upcoming general election. A loss in a “safe” seat would have spelled disaster for them and would have probably led to mass scale defections from their own MPs. Moreover, a defeat would have severely discouraged their supporters and also changed the decision-making calculus of the rational voter – one who votes after taking into account the winning prospects of a party – to a substantial margin.

Given that scenario, PML-N has done well as it not only retained its seat but actually increased its vote tally and that too in a by-election. In 2013 elections, it got a little over 62,000 votes, but in this election, it has managed to secure more than 75,000 votes. Given that politics is often local, this does not mean that PML-N is going to have a landslide victory in the upcoming election. However, it does show that it’s still well-entrenched in its own constituencies and if the local factors don’t change, the party is not going to witness a total annihilation. It has a fighting chance, unless something drastic happens before the elections. The disqualification of Nawaz apparently has not dented PML-N’s vote bank, at least in their rural and semi-urban strongholds like PP-20 Chakwal. It proves that where local factors favour them, they have a good chance.

For PTI, stakes were high though not as high as for PML-N. This was an election; they were expected to lose, though a win would have proven extremely beneficial for them. It was also an opportunity for them to know the extent of political capital they have gained due to their “victory” at the SC.

Although PTI has lost the election by a large margin, at the same time, compared to 2013, they have also increased their vote tally, which is a good sign for the party. The defeat by a large margin may also be partially due to local factors but the increase in number of votes shows that the party is catching up. It has now completely displaced PPP as the second major force in the Punjab province and shows that the future holds promising for them.

However, they need to work better at the local level and moreover expand their message beyond corruption of their rival politicians. This is because the impact of SC’s decision is perhaps there, but not to the extent that the party was hoping. Of course, for majority of the urban middle class supporters of PTI, corruption of Nawaz is the biggest and perhaps the only issue in Pakistan, but the reality is different outside their bubble. When masses vote, their considerations are often not always aligned with “educated” urbanites and that is why PTI has to talk about other issues also, instead of continuously repeating the same things regarding corruption of Nawaz.

The most frightening development in the last few months has been the rise of TLP. First time it contested the election in NA 120, it actually got more votes than PPP and Jamat-i-Islami (JI) combined. Although the party had no chance of winning this seat, all political pundits were interested in knowing how many votes it would gain in this election and whether it would actually dent PML-N’s vote bank.

The party has gotten more than 16,000 votes which for a nascent and frankly a fringe right-wing religious party is quite high. This is a dangerous development showing that religious extremism is selling and unfortunately, slowly becoming mainstream in the country.

This result, however, does not prove that TLP has dented PML-N’s vote bank, at least in this constituency. Nevertheless, this may not prove to be the case in other constituencies as PML-N has traditionally been the major recipient of the Barelvi votes in the past. That is why I fear that both PTI and PML-N might be tempted to use similar tactics in order to gain votes or at least prevent loss in their existing vote bank in the upcoming general election. In fact, PTI’s Jahangir Khan Tareen has already started to court certain Barelvi hardline scholars as evident from his following tweet:

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