Anwar in 2017
Rao Anwar Ahmed Khan (Urdu: راؤ انوار احمد خان) is a Pakistani retired police officer, who served as Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) in the Malir District of Karachi. He is known as the "encounter specialist" of the Sindh Police and has been accused of conducting extrajudicial encounter killings. He carried out at least 444 killings in alleged encounters between 2011 and 2018. After the killing of Naqeebullah Mehsud, Anwar was suspended from his post on January 20, 2018.
Anwar was initially recruited as assistant sub-inspector of police (ASI) in 1982 after working as a clerk for a year. From 1992 to 1999, Anwar played a main role in the operations against the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) in Karachi, in which many MQM members were either arrested or killed. When MQM came into power in 2002 during the Pervez Musharraf government, Anwar disappeared from Karachi.
When the Pakistan Peoples Party came into power in 2008, Anwar returned to Karachi. He was promoted from inspector to deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Kiamari and then to superintendent of police (SP) Gadap within a short space of time in 2008. He was considered close to the former President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari. Anwar became senior superintendent of police (SSP) Malir in 2011.
In 2012, he was demoted to the sub-inspector rank by a Supreme Court order but the President Asif Ali Zardari reinstated him as SSP Malir using his executive powers. In 2013, Anwar was temporarily suspended by the Supreme Court following the deadly Abbas Town bombing. In 2015, he was briefly suspended for "misusing authority" because of his controversial press conference, in which he alleged that MQM sent its workers to India to get them trained by the Indian intelligence agency RAW for spreading terror in Pakistan. The MQM activist Tahir Lamba, who had been arrested by Anwar before the press conference and accused of being a RAW agent, was released by the court later due to lack of evidence.
In September 2016, Anwar was suspended for raiding the house of the MQM leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan and detaining him without the permission of the Sindh Assembly speaker. Anwar challenged the suspension order in court and was reinstated a few weeks later.
On 13 January 2018, Anwar led a police operation that led to Naqeebullah Mehsud and three others being shot dead in Shah Latif town. Anwar said they were members of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. On 19 January, Anwar appeared before a departmental inquiry committee to give a statement. He claimed one member of the committee was biased and forced police personnel to record false statements about him. On 20 January, the committee declared that Mehsud was innocent and had been wrongfully killed and Anwar was dismissed from the police.
On 22 January, Anwar refused to appear before the committee for a second time, calling the inquiry ‘one-sided’. He claimed he was neither responsible for the investigation nor the capture of Mehsud. Anwar tried to flee Pakistan via Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Islamabad on 23 January. His name was added to the Exit Control List and a First Information Report was lodged against him. Anwar demanded the formation of a ‘Joint Investigative Team’ from intelligence agencies and called the case against him ‘baseless’.
On 27 January, the Supreme Court issued a three-day deadline to the Sindh Police Department for Anwar's arrest, saying cell-phone positioning evidence confirmed Anwar's presence at the site of the encounter killing. On 31 January, Anwar refuted reports he had left the country after police so far failed to arrest him. On 3 March, his accounts at the State Bank of Pakistan were frozen on the orders of the Supreme Court, which made the judgement in a 16 February hearing for contempt of court.
On 17 February, Asif Ali Zardari, former President of Pakistan, voiced support for Anwar calling him a ‘brave child’ for surviving the fight against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. Zardari later said he ‘misspoke’. On 21 March 2018, he was arrested after appearing before the Supreme Court.
Anwar took retirement on 1 January 2019 while facing trial under suspension. Apart from his controversial police encounters, Anwar has also been notorious for being involved in land grabbing and gravel and sand mining in the Malir and Gadap areas of Karachi.
Anwar has two wives and seven children. His family lives in Dubai in the UAE, but they visit Islamabad sometimes, especially during vacations. He had made 74 trips to Dubai since his appointment as SSP Malir until his removal from the job, that is about one trip per a month on average.
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