ISLAMABAD  -   Former Senior Superintendent of Police Rao Anwar, the prime accused in Naqeebullah Mehsud’s extrajudicial killing, on Thursday moved an application to the Supreme Court requesting directions for removal of his name from the Exit Control List (ECL).

He argued that mere registration of FIR or pending criminal trial is not the justification of placing his name on the ECL as, “freedom of movement is a fundamental right and cannot be curtailed or abridged on account of pendency of trial.”

He next argued that the names of accused persons in many high profile criminal cases like assassination of former Prime Minister Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, May 12 incident and money laundering case against model Ayyan Ali have not been placed in ECL.

“Even otherwise, the registration of FIR has no nexus with and is extraneous to the objects of the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Ordinance, 1981,” contended Anwar in his application.

Anwar made Interior Ministry and Government of Sindh respondents in his petition further contending, “Every citizen has a fundamental right to be treated in accordance with law and to have equal protection of law.”

It would be just and appropriate that movement of an accused person facing trial should be regulated by the trial courts instead of putting an absolute clog on fundamental right of freedom of movement of such person as liberty of a person is sacrosanct as cannot be curtailed without any rhyme or reason, ex-SSP further contended.

He stated that he intends to perform Umrah as well as required to visit abroad on account of his domestic family issues including engagement of daughters.

It is further submitted that Anwar is regularly attending trial, conclusion whereof, is not possible in near future as charge has not been framed yet.

He has also undertaken that he will keep on attending trial regularly and his movement abroad will never cause any hindrance or delay in expeditious proceeding of trial or its timely conclusion.

On murder of Mehsud, Anwar reiterated that he was informed by the SHO Police Station Shah Latif Town on January 13 that police personnel surrounded an isolated poultry farm on information of intelligence agencies regarding presence of terrorists.

It is pertinent to mention here that Naqeebullah Mehsud was murdered in the said alleged police encounter.

“The petitioner (Anwar) upon receiving information, rushed towards place of incident. Before he could reach the place of incident, all the terrorist present there were already killed in cross fire and police party of the area was carrying out clearance operation,” stated Anwar.

He further stated that on account of professional rivalries, a vilification campaign was launched against him and his subordinates alleging that Mehsud was killed in alleged fake encounter by him and the then police administration supported the same.

He claimed that he was already facing serious life threats and investigation was being conducted to cause humiliation and arrest of the petitioner at the cost of his life and reputation.

“Apprehending foul play in the hands of investigation officer, the petitioner went in hiding and avoid undue arrest, humiliation and to avoid any untoward incident,” the application stated.

However, taking notice of media reports Supreme Court took suo motu notice of the incident and on January 23, directed the government to place the name on ECL.

The top court on March 21 had constituted JIT for investigation and declined the request of Anwar for granting protective bail with further directions to the Inspector General to protect the life of ex-SSP during the period of his custody.  The top court had however ruled that the name of Anwar shall remain on ECL till further orders.

JIT conducted investigation and fully implicated the petitioner. Consequently, the report of JIT was submitted before trial court as supplementary challan. Upon acceptance of supplementary challan by the trial court, Anwar filed applications for bail after arrest in FIRs.

The Trial Court in July 2018 had granted bail against surety in sum of Rs. 1 million each and PR bond in the like amount.

While granting the bail after arrest, the Trial Court had also ordered for deposit of passport and directed not to leave the city.   Anwar requested the top court to pass an order directing the Ministry of Interior to remove his name from ECL with direction to Trial Court to regulate his movement abroad as and when required.