KARACHI: Family of Naqeebullah Mehsud, an aspiring model who was killed in a staged police encounter in January 2018, applauded the United States on Wednesday for adding former police officer Rao Anwar to its list of individuals responsible for committing human rights abuses in different parts of the world.
“During his tenure as the Senior Superintendent of Police in District Malir, Pakistan, Rao Anwar Khan (Anwar) was reportedly responsible for staging numerous fake police encounters in which individuals were killed by police, and was involved in over 190 police encounters that resulted in the deaths of over 400 people, including the murder of Naqeebullah Mehsood,” a handout circulated by the US Department of Treasury said.
Anwar, it further noted, led a network of police and criminal thugs that was allegedly involved in extortion, land grabbing, illegal drug trade, and murder.
“Anwar is designated for being responsible for or complicit in, or having directly or indirectly engaged in, serious human rights abuses,” the statement added.
The US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), on the occasion of International Human Rights Day, took action against 18 individuals based in Burma, Pakistan, Libya, Slovakia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Sudan for their roles in serious human rights abuses.
“The United States will not tolerate torture, kidnapping, sexual violence, murder, or brutality against innocent civilians,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “America is the world leader in combating human rights abuse and we will hold perpetrators and enablers accountable wherever they operate.”
“Treasury’s action focuses on those who have killed, or ordered the killing of innocents who stood up for human rights including journalists, opposition members, and lawyers,” said Deputy Secretary Justin G. Muzinich.
Mehsud’s family said they were happy with the US decision and hoped they would also get justice in Pakistan.
Malik Hashim Mehsud, a member of the family, said the American move to sanction Anwar was commendable.
“The US sanctions against Rao Anwar or anyone violating human rights should be appreciated,” Mehsud told Arab News, adding that the case of Naqeebullah’s extra-judicial murder was pending in the Supreme Court of Pakistan and it was his family’s hope that justice would ultimately prevail.
“The sanctions imposed on Rao Anwar by the US treasury department should embarrass our criminal justice system and law enforcement agencies who have failed to provide justice so far and not launched an investigation into the killings of 444 individuals who were murdered by him,” a prominent activist and lawyer, Jibran Nasir, told Arab news.
Senior Superintendent of Police Rao Anwar claimed on January 13, 2018, that he had killed four terrorists who were associated with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and Daesh.
Four days later, on January 17, friends of Nasimullah Mehsud, popularly known as Naqeebullah Mehsud, claimed on social media that one of Anwar’s victims was known to them, adding that the 24-year-old man was an aspiring model, not a terrorist.
Later, the Supreme Court of Pakistan decided to take a look into the matter, prompting Anwar to abscond.
He surrendered to the court in March 2018 and remained under house arrest until he was granted bail in July 2019. Soon after that, Mehsud’s father, Muhammad Khan Mehsud, who passed away earlier this month, requested the country’s judiciary to cancel the bail.