As the initial investigation report has found out that Naqeeb Mehsood was killed in a fake encounter, escape seems difficult for Rao Anwar as the officer incharge of the relevant police station. However, as a last resort, Rao has boycotted the inquiry by IGP Sindh and the National Commission for Human Rights. Rao alleges that the committee holds a bias against him - delaying the fact-finding report and halting the progress of the inquiry committee.
Rao’s argument and the reason for boycotting of the meetings of the committee are unreasonable. He should have objected to the constitution of the committee the day it was first constituted. Days after the panel was formed and the initial report of police declaring tragic incident of 13th January a fake encounter, Rao lamenting that two members of the committee have personal biases against him is not a valid excuse.
Therefore, the Sindh government must move quickly to ensure that this does not become a protracted impasse. The police department is not enjoying a good reputation at all when one talks about the professionalism of Sindh Police. Furthermore, the Sindh government is already embroiled in a very public tussle with other senior police officials – it cannot afford a repeat of that.
Nonetheless, the prime responsibility rests with Rao Anwar; who must attend the inquiry or risk being condemned in absentia. So far he has presented valuable information, mostly to the press, and named two police officials that he thought responsible for the murder of Naqeeb. His presence before the investigation team is crucial to finding people responsible for the killing. It will also help the Sindh police to fix the overall practice of “fake encounters”.
Even if Rao Anwar’s concerns are justified –the transfer of 11 SHOs who are believed to be part of his circle of influence is admittedly highly unusual – he cannot redress the changes in the police by not cooperating with the authorities. Refusal to cooperate will only make things difficult for him.
Rao Anwar must discharge his duties responsibly. Responsibility and professionalism demand that he own up his actions and cooperate with the government, even in inquiries against him. Failing in showing professionalism and sense of responsibility can put him permanent disgrace and raise the possibility a criminal charge against him.