US imposes financial curbs on Karachi ex-cop

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Aden - Yasmin Abdel Azim - Islamabad: The United States of America has imposed financial sanctions on Karachi police’s notorious ex-officer Rao Anwar for his role in “serious human rights abuses” during his tenure as Senior Superintendent Police in the provincial capital of Sindh.

A statement issued by the US Department of the Treasury on International Human Rights Day has said that it was taking action against 18 individuals who had been involved in serious human rights abuses and Rao Anwar is one of them.

The US Treasury is going to freeze any assets belonging to the individuals sanctioned, and will also prohibit Americans from doing business with them.

About Rao Anwar the statement says that during his tenure as the Senior Superintendent of Police in District Malir, he was reportedly responsible for staging numerous fake police encounters in which individuals were killed by police.

He was involved in over 190 police encounters that resulted in the deaths of over 400 people, including the murder of Naqeebullah Mehsud, a South Waziristan national living in Karachi, said the statement outlining the reasons for Anwar’s blacklisting.

Mehsud was killed on Jan 13, 2018 during a fake encounter allegedly staged by Anwar. Hailing from Waziristan, the 18-year-old was accused of being a member of the Pakistani Taliban by Anwar however the police officer could not produce any evidence to support these allegations.

An inquiry commission constituted on the court’s order later found that Mehsud was killed in a staged encounter alongside four others.

Anwar was suspended from service before retiring on Jan 1, 2019 while still he is facing trial for his actions.

“Anwar helped to lead a network of police and criminal thugs that were allegedly responsible for extortion, land grabbing, narcotics, and murder. Anwar is designated for being responsible for or complicit in, or having directly or indirectly engaged in, serious human rights abuse,” the US. Treasury statement further says.

In addition to Rao Anwar, 17 individuals from five other nations have been blacklisted, including people from Myanmar, Libya, Slovakia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan. In Myanmar, the country’s army chief and three other senior commanders were sanctioned over serious human rights abuses under their command, especially against ethnic minority groups.

It may be mentioned here that Mohammad Khan, father of Naqeebullah Mehsud earlier this month (December 3) also died of cancer. He was pursuing the murder case of his son since his killing in January 2018.

In a tweet, Pakistan Army spokesperson, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had expressed his “heartfelt grief on the demise of Mohammad Khan father of Naqeebullah Mehsud.”

The Army chief added that “efforts to ensure provision of justice as promised to him [Khan] shall be pursued.”

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