ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday turned down a petition filed by Rao Anwar, the prime accused in the Naqeebullah Mehsud murder case, seeking removal of his name from the Exit Control List (ECL), ARY News reported.

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Anwar, who retired from police service on Jan 1, is facing trial for allegedly killing four men, including South Waziristan youngster Naqeebullah Mehsud, in a fake encounter last year.

A bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar rejected the former cop’s plea. “We cannot strike his name off the ECL,” asserted the top judge. He expressed displeasure over provision of facilities to the accused and asked how did he get acquitted?

When Justice Nisar was told that the former SSP-Malir was out on bail, he then questioned, “If he was released on bail why was he given passport?”

Anwar’s lawyer told the judges that his client’s passport was already in authorities’ possession. “His family lives abroad and he wants to meet them as well as perform Umrah.”

The chief justice rejected his request, saying his family be asked to return to the country to live with him. “He has killed a young boy. Rao Anwar will stay in Pakistan until trial is over.”

The former SSP in the petition said that he wished to perform Umrah and meet his family but cannot fly out of the country owing to his name placed on the no-fly list. He assured that he will continue attending the trial regularly.

“My movement abroad will not cause any hindrance, delay, or impediment in the proceedings of the court,” he argued. “Mere registration of an FIR or a pending criminal trial is not a valid reason to put the accused person in the ECL.”

The former SSP Malir along with DSP Qamar Ahmed Shaikh, and several other officials was booked for killing four men, including Mehsud, in a fake encounter in Shah Latif Town on Jan 13, 2018.

The Supreme Court had taken suo motu notice of the incident after protest by the civil society and outrage over social media. Anwar was arrested in March 2018 when he appeared before the Supreme Court after over a month of hiding. He spent more than three months in prison before an anti-terrorism court released him on bail.

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