KARACHI - The Supreme Court gave Sindh police three days to arrest an absconding officer who is involved in killing an aspiring model in a 'fake shootout' in Karachi, a lawyer said Saturday.

Attorney Nazeer Mehsud says suspended SSP Rao Anwar did not appear at a hearing Saturday. Chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar ordered his arrest and asked the Sindh police chief to summon him before him.

Rao Anwar is accused killing of an aspiring social media model, Naqeebullah Mehsud, in a controversial shootout earlier this month. Anwar had maintained that Mehsud was a militant belonging to the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, without providing evidence to support the claim. He went into hiding when an investigation found Mehsud to be innocent and said the shootout was staged.

Sanaullah Abbasi, a senior police officer, earlier told newsmen that Naqeebullah Mehsud was not linked to militants as claimed by Anwar.

Anwar gained prominence in recent years for several shootouts with alleged terrorists in which neither him nor any of his team members were hurt. Mehsud, from Waziristan and a father of three, was the latest victim of Anwar's last shootout.

Mehsud's death triggered violent protests in Karachi and a protest sit-in by Mehsud tribe's is still ongoing.

"My son Naqeeb was innocent, he was righteous. Rao Anwar is a tyrant who killed my son," said Muhammad Ahmed Mehsud, Mehsud's father, adding that he was overwhelmed by the support he received for his son.

Sindh IGP AD Khowaja and AIG Counter Terrorism Department Sanaullah Abbasi were present in court during the hearing which was conducted by a three-member bench headed by the CJP at the Supreme Court’s Karachi Registry.

Khowaja told the court that after the first information report was lodged against Anwar, the police had traced his location to Islamabad. However, the IG was unable to tell the chief justice the current whereabouts of the former SSP.

Khowaja claimed that the police had "tried their best" to arrest Anwar but had so far been unable to do so. On being asked when the police would be able to arrest and produce Anwar in court, Khowaja remained silent.

Naqeebullah's father, who had also appeared in court, expressed his lack of trust in Sindh police and asked the court to form a judicial commission to investigate his son's extrajudicial killing.

However, the CJP assured him that the court trusted the Sindh police and urged him to allow the joint investigation team and the police to continue with their investigation. "A judicial commission cannot conduct a criminal investigation," Justice Nisar told Naqeebullah's father.

Justice Nisar asked Khowaja if he was under any political pressure to which the IGP replied in the negative. The CJP told him to work "freely" and vowed that the court will not let "honest officers fail".

CJP asked him to inform if someone was providing the absconding police officer shelter from police in Karachi. There were many people who can offer him a hiding place here, he remarked.

Khowaja expressed apprehension that Anwar might have fled the country. When asked to give a timeframe for his arrest, he asked for three days’ time.

The chief justice directed the provincial police chief to ensure his arrest within three days. He also summoned from the relevant authorities travel history of the beleaguered police officer.

Meanwhile, talking to newsmen outside the court, IGP Khowaja urged Rao Anwar to face the charges against him and turn up in court. The IGP said the police have been conducting raids to arrest the suspended cop.

Khowaja said Anwar could present his case before the judges. “It will be in his best interest to hand himself over to the police,” he added.

In response to a question with regard to court’s orders for Anwar’s arrest within three days, he said police will make all-out efforts to trace the whereabouts of Rao Anwar .

Responding to another question about speculations of Anwar fleeing abroad, the police chief said the Supreme Court has directed Civil Aviation Authority to take a certificate from all private airlines whether he travelled abroad or not, adding similar directives have been passed to the interior ministry.

Ahmed Iqbal Butt of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that Rao Anwar was involved in at least 192 raids in which 444 people were killed, and that the killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud is just the latest of such incidents.

Anwar is said to be on the Taliban's hit list because of his high profile and has allegedly previously escaped attempts on his life.

Anwar's team picked up Mehsud along with two others, but they were later freed after their families allegedly paid large sums for their release.

"Police abduct us from our homes and label us as Taliban and kill us if we do not pay," said Awaz Gul, a migrant from Waziristan who has been living and working in Karachi for over two decades.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Saturday halted operations of four companies for selling substandard packaged milk.

Hearing a suo motu case pertaining to sale of substandard packaged milk at the Karachi Registry, the apex court banned the four companies from selling and marketing their milk products with immediate effect, after laboratory results failed to convince the bench of the quality of the milk supplied.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, heading a three-member bench that heard the case, expressed annoyance at the laboratory results that showed the aforementioned companies to be selling substandard milk in the city.

In his remarks to the counsel of one of the companies, the CJP observed that it was not milk they were selling, but tea whitener.

During a previous hearing of the case earlier this month, the CJP had directed the relevant authorities to conduct laboratory tests of all brands of packaged milk products available in the city’s markets. He had also chided the concerned authorities for their failure to submit complete details to the court regarding use of injections in cows.

The Chief Justice, in the Lahore Registry, is already hearing the matter of sale of unsafe milk in Punjab as part of suo motu notices on public welfare issues.

SC ORDERS FOR

VERIFICATION OF PILOTS DEGREES

The CJP has ordered DG Civil Aviation Authority to verify the degrees of pilots.

During the hearing of Naqeebullah killing case, Justice Saqib Nisar summoned DG CAA over the issue of fake degrees of pilots.

The CJP inquired from DG CAA “Tell us, if the pilots have real degrees or fake? How can we get the degrees verified?” The CJP ordered that pilots degrees be also got verified.

On Friday the court had summoned details from DG CAA in respect of such pilots against whom investigations were made for possessing fake degrees.

The PIA pilots who were sacked for holding fake degrees are flying the planes of other airlines.

According to administration sources of PIA 17 such pilots were identified who were possessing fake degrees. Two among them have been reinstated on court’s orders and 12 pilots were sacked from service. Three among them were cadet pilots who were sacked at the initial stage of their service. Five pilots have obtained stay order from high court and they are still doing their job in PIA.

The interior ministry and CAA have been directed to submit the report by Thursday (February 1).