SSP Rao Anwar is accused of killing around 300 people in more than 150 encounters. I was able to collect media reports of 69 encounters from 1995 to 2018, and the total death toll in these encounters is 265. The accused included activists and militants of the MQM, TTP, AQIS, JI and JUIF.
There are no statistics to confirm how many people have found themselves on the wrong side of Malir SSP Rao Anwar’s gun. But, with 150 encounters in the 25 years of his career, the dreaded cop is way ahead of most other policemen in the country.
Anwar remembers his first encounter taking place in 1995 in which he killed Farooq Dada and Fahim Commando. He has said that it gave him immense joy.
Protests against Rao Anwar’s encounters
On Nov 17, 2014 it was reported that JUI-F’s local leader, Mufti Shah Faisal, was killed in an alleged encounter with the District Malir Police in Swat Colony, Quaidabad. Six other suspected militants were killed, the police claimed. Protesters gathered at Numaish Chowrangi pledged that they would not bury him until the Sindh government and the police department took action against Anwar. The SSP had taken credit for killing Faisal in the encounter, claiming that he was affiliated with the Taliban.
On May 24, 2016, it was reported that the Sindh High Court sought a reply from SSP Rao Anwar regarding the killing of a man in an alleged fake police encounter. The division bench gave him till June 3 to submit his reply. The father of the victim, Gul Faraz Khan, had taken the provincial home secretary, Sindh IG, SSP Anwar and others to court.
On October 7, 2017, it was reported that an investigation into the killing of five terrorists in an encounter with the Malir police on September 28 revealed that three of the terrorists were associated with the Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) student organisation, the Islami Jamiat-e-Talba (IJT).
Appendix of reported encounters:
Below is a list of encounters that were reported in the media on SSP Rao Anwar’s turf. Often he informed the media himself. This is not a complete list as many more have taken place. But this list is complete enough to show very clear patterns.
2 Aug 1995: Farooq Dada and 3 accomplices killed.
10 Oct 1995: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says that the October 10 killing of Faheem Commando, Zeeshan Haider Abidi, Yousuf Rehman and Mufeez Farooqi, all MQM activists, was not the result of an ambush or a shootout but was part of what appears to be the law enforcement agencies on-going practice of eliminating those they consider are hardened criminals or terrorists. The HRCPs Secretary-General, Zohra Yusuf, and Vice-Chairperson Saleem Asmi said the investigations carried out by the HRCP revealed that Faheem Commando, Zeeshan Haider Abidi, and Yousuf Rehman were arrested by the CID, Jamshed Quarters, on Aug 6 and were sent to jail after interrogation and they were brought out of the jail and taken to the airport police station around 3pm on Oct 9. The three men and Mufeez were taken in a van by an Airport police party headed by SHO Anwar Ahmed Rao to a house in Nazimabad in the small hours of Oct 10 when, the authorities claimed, the police party came under heavy gunfire from the said house, resulting in the instant death of the four detainees.
16 May 2010: One policeman and four robbers were killed in an encounter in Ahsanabad.
5 Oct 2010: Two people were killed in an alleged shootout with police near the Indus Plaza graveyard. Gadap Town SSP Rao Anwar claimed that the men were robbers. However, witnesses say that the two were killed by unidentified gunmen.
26 Apr 2011: Two absconders wanted by the police in criminal cases were killed in a morning encounter reported in Gulshan-i-Maymar police limits.
19 Dec 2012: Two men were killed in a fake police encounter held at Sohrab Goth Karachi. In this case the names of the victims were recorded as: Abdul Sattar, son of Abdul Baqi, resident of Jhang Abad, Machar colony, Sohrab Goth, Karachi, Agha Muhammad, son of Muhammad Sultan, resident of Jhang Abad, Machar colony, Sohrab Goth. The names of the alleged perpetrators: Gadap SSP Rao Anwar, Sohrab Goth SHO Inspector Fasih Uddin (Malir district), Sub Inspector Ameer Bux Solangi, incharge of Shrab Goth police check post, Malir.
22 Jun 2014: 3 terrorists killed, 20 arrested.
3 Jul 2014: 4 suspected militants killed.
15 Jul 2014: The Karachi operation witnesses a big breakthrough when a commander for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and four of his accomplices were killed in an encounter. The encounter between the militants and the Malir district police took place in Gulshan-e-Bunair, a militant stronghold, after the law enforcers received a tip-off. During the raid, the police claimed they faced massive resistance and had to call for back-up.
11 Aug 2014: 2 terrorists blow up themselves in Machar colony, Sohrab Goth.
25 Aug 2014: 6 petty criminals and extortionists killed in Gana Mandi, Sohrab Goth.
17 Sep 2014: 7 TTP killed members killed in an encounter.
5 Oct 2014: At least seven TTP militants were killed in a police operation in Lasi Goth area of Karachi, officials said. “Three of the militants were involved in the attack on late CID officer Chaudhry Aslam,” SSP Malir Rao Anwar said.
26 Oct 2014: In an encounter that began at around 2pm and lasted for about three hours, an extra contingent of police headed by Malir SSP Rao Anwar claims to have killed nine militants of the TTP.
31 Oct 2014: A police team, led by Malir SSP Rao Anwar, faced resistance from the militants who fired at the police from their hideouts. The police retaliated with full force and managed to kill three alleged militants. The rest of their accomplices escaped.
14 Nov 2014: 5 TTP men killed in Quaidabad.
15 Nov 2014: Five suspected militants were killed in a controversial encounter with the District Malir police. The encounter took place when the District Malir police, led by SSP Rao Anwar, carried out a raid at the hideout of the militants in Swat Colony within the limits of the Quaidabad police. Police said that they faced resistance from the militants but they retaliated and called for backup.
22 Dec 2014: At least 13 Taliban and al Qaeda militants were killed in a shootout as law enforcers stepped up counter-terror operations following the December 16 massacre at the Army Public School and College in Peshawar, a police official claimed. This came days after paramilitary Rangers killed 13 suspected members of the TTP in four separate encounters in the Manghopir, Mauripur, Ghaggar Phatak and Baldia Town neighbourhoods. Acting on intelligence information about the presence of militants in Sohrab Goth, a police party raided a compound in Deluxe Town where they faced stiff resistance, according to SSP District Malir Rao Anwar, who was heading the raiding party. The militants holed up in the compound hurled hand grenades and fired automatic weapons prompting the police to call reinforcements.
7 Jan 2015: 7 Al qaeda suspect killed.
13 Jan 2015: The District Malir police claimed to have killed two alleged members of a militant outfit during an encounter. The encounter took place in Gulshan-e-Bunair, Quaidabad, a notorious location for militants. The suspects were identified as Qari Sajjad Niaz and Matin. “We had intelligence reports that four militants had arrived from Waziristan and were planning to carry out a major terror activity in the city,” said District Malir SSP Rao Anwar.
28 Jan 2015: Police claim to have killed five terrorists in an exchange of fire in Shah Latif Town area of the city. Rao Anwar, SSP Malir, told media that two of the terrorists were linked with a Lyari gang while a mastermind of armed attacks on polio teams was also among the dead.
5 Feb 2015: 2 robbers who killed 2 policemen are killed.
12 Feb 2015: 2 foreign criminals are killed.
19 Feb 2015: 4 TTP men killed in Sohrab Goth.
7 Mar 2015: 2 men killed in new Sabzi mandi.
22 March 2015: Three men killed.
27 Mar 2015: 4 men killed in Gulshan-e-Maymar.
8 Apr 2015: 4 militants killed in a shoot-out.
17 Apr 2015: 4 militants killed.
18 Apr 2015: Fazlullah aide and 6 militants killed.
27 Apr 2015: Four suspected militants believed to be associated with the banned TTP Swati group are killed in an encounter with the police in Sohrab Goth. The police, acting on a tip-off, conducted a raid on a suspected militant hideout near al Asif Square in Sohrab Goth where they came under attack, claimed Distrct Malir SSP Rao Anwar.
3 May 2015: SSP Rao Anwaar escaped an attempt on his life when the terrorists allegedly of the banned TTP attacked his convoy at the Sohrab Goth link road. However, in the fierce retaliation which followed the attack five TTP militants were killed by his team and weapons and explosives were also recovered from them. Five managed to escape.
21 May 2015: The Sindh High Court issued notices to the Advocate General, home secretary and others on a petition seeking investigation into the killing of more than 50 suspects in alleged police encounters led by former SSP Malir Rao Anwar in the past six months. Petitioner Rana Faiz-ul-Hasan stated his application that the former SSP had killed several suspects, including Talban militants, in staged encounters in the past six months. He said not a single suspect was produced in court for a fair trial. He alleged that the former SSP was patronising land grabbers in Gadap town. He said land grabbers had also threatened Ran Anwar to withdraw the case pertaining to the occupation of evacuee property situated in Sikandar Goth. He requested the court to order an inquiry into the killing of more than 50 suspects in alleged encounters by various police parties led by Rao Anwar.
13 Jun 2015: Four suspected militants were killed in an ‘encounter’ with police while they were ‘chasing’ former Malir SSP Rao Anwar Ahmed soon after he came out of his residence.
16 Jun 2015: 4 criminals killed in Sachal.
21 Sep 2015: Al Qaeda militant allegedly blows himself up.
17 Oct 2015: Police kill at least eight alleged terrorists wanted for target killings and attacks on police during a raid in Karachi, officials say. Police stormed into a house in Manghopir and after a gunfight killed eight militants and seized weapons, hand grenades and explosives, senior police official Rao Anwar told AFP. “At least eight militants were killed and two policemen were wounded in the gunfight,” Anwar said.
12 Dec 2015: In what appears to be the first alleged police encounter by Rao Anwar since his reinstatement as Malir SSP only a day ago, two suspected militants were gunned down by the law enforcers in a shoot-out in the outskirts of the city.
6 Jan 2016: Five suspected militants were killed in Sohrab Goth, which has become notorious as a militants’ hideout. The encounter took place when a team of District Malir police led by District Malir SSP Rao Anwar tried to cordon off the hideout of the suspected militants in Qayyumabad neighbourhood of Sohrab Goth.
27 Jan 2016: 4 TTP militants killed in Ghazi Goth.
23 Feb 2016: District Malir SSP Rao Anwar shared details on the 12 militants who were gunned down in a shootout.
5 Mar 2016: Police claim to have killed four terrorists in an exchange of fire in Safoora Goth. “Four terrorists belonging to Al-qaeda in Sub-continent and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (Lej) have been killed,” said SSP Malir Rao Anwar. He claimed that the terrorists were planning a major attack in Karachi when police killed them in a shootout. Anwar said two of the terrorists were identified as Sohail alias Kanga and Noman Akhtar. He said the suspects were also involved in the killing of police officers.
10 Mar 2016: Police claim to have killed three terrorists in a shootout in the outskirts of the city. Rao Anwar, SSP Malir, said the police raided a house near Northern Bypass on a tip-off about the presence of some suspects. He said the “terrorists opened fire on police and were killed when the law enforcers returned fire”.
3 Apr 2016: Four suspected militants were killed during an exchange of fire with the police in the city’s outskirts. The encounter took place when District Malir police, led by SSP Rao Anwar, conducted a raid at a suspected militants’ hideout in Quaidabad area.
21 Apr 2016: 3 militants killed.
29 May 2016: A gun battle took place in the city’s Gulshan-e-Bunair in which 3 alleged terrorists were killed by police. According to the SSP Malir, the suspects were involved in attack on police officials and security forces. SSP Malir Rao Anwar disclosed that explosive material was recovered from the alleged militants. One of the suspected dead militants has been identified as Riaz, according to SSP Rao Anwar. It was also revealed that the murdered terrorist was involved in planning an attack on SSP Malir Rao Anwar’s convoy.
25 Jun 2016: Three suspected militants were killed during an alleged encounter with the police in Sohrab Goth. The encounter took place when District Malir police started an overnight search operation in the area. Malir SSP Rao Anwar claims that the suspects belonged to the banned TTP and were involved in attacks on and the killing of security forces. He also claims to have seized arms and ammunitions from them.
9 Feb 2017: Six suspected terrorists were killed in exchange of fire with police near Karachi Super Highway, police said. According to SSP Malir, Rao Anwar, when they received information about the presence of militants, police carried out a raid near the Super Highway Toll Plaza, where an exchange of fire took place with the accused.
17 Feb 2017: Karachi police claim to have killed nine terrorists including would-be suicide bombers during exchange of fire near Super Highway. SSP Malir Rao Anwar said the terrorists were planning to attack Rangers Headquarters in Karachi.
22 Feb 2017: Police claim to have killed eight terrorists including a key militant figure affiliated with a banned organization. According to SSP Malir Rao Anwar, the suspected terrorists were killed during a raid on Bakrapeeri Road on a tip off regarding presence of Gul Zaman, Amer of a proscribed outfit. He said the terrorists were planning to carry out an act of terrorism in Karachi.
15 Mar 2017: Two intruders were killed in an alleged police encounter in Gul Goth, located off the Super Highway, police said. SSP Malir Rao Anwar said police conducted a raid at a drug den, where the accused resorted to firing on the police party.
25 Jul 2017: Talking to the media, SSP Malir Rao Anwar said that on a tip-off, police carried out a targeted raid in a house at Abul Hasan Ispahani Road in the jurisdiction of Sachal police station. As the police entered the house to approach the alleged terrorists, they suddenly resorted to firing, while police effectively responded and in retaliation all four terrorists were killed, SSP added.
31 Jul 2017: District Malir SSP Rao Anwar said an encounter took place when the culprits opened fire on the police. According to the SSP, the police retaliated and the two militants were resultantly killed during the exchange of fire.
23 Aug 2017: The 22-year-old son of a provincial assembly lawmaker was safely recovered from a house in Gadap after the killing of five suspected kidnappers in a ‘shoot-out’ near the Northern Bypass, police said. The police had traced the location of the hostage during a thorough search of the area on Tuesday with the help of the clues provided by the freed relatives of the victim, while the hideout of the kidnappers was identified with the help of modern technology, said Malir SSP Rao Anwar Ahmed.
29 Aug 2017: At least three suspects are killed during two alleged encounters with the police. Two alleged criminals were killed in SITE Super Highway while another was gunned down within the limits of Brigade police station. Four armed criminals were reportedly mugging citizens near Super Highway when a citizen, Rizwan, sent a complaint to the police via police helpline Madadgar 15. According to Malir SSP Rao Anwar, the robbers opened fire on the police team when it reached the site. Two of the suspects were killed when the police returned the fire, while the other two managed to escape under cover of fire.
4 Sep 2017: Karachi police claim to have killed four terrorists affiliated with the TTP Swat and involved in the attack on Nobel Peace Laureate Malala Yousafzai. SSP Malir Rao Anwar claims terrorist Khursheed was cousin of TTP Chief Mullah Fazlullah and was involved in the attack on Malala and Pakistan Army officials. Khursheed was also the culprit of a bomb attack on Karachi’s Quaidabad police, the police officer said. The militants killed in the gunfight were affiliated with TTP Swat faction, Rao said and added that the exchange of fire with militants took place in Sadaf society near Quetta Town Karachi.
28 Sep 2017: An investigation into the killing of five terrorists in an encounter with the Malir police on September 28 has revealed that three of the terrorists were associated with Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) student organisation, the Islami Jamiat-e-Talba (IJT).
After the shootout, Malir SSP Rao Anwaar had told The News that police raided an under-construction building behind Anara Garden, off the Super Highway to arrest the suspects planning to attack a Muharram procession using an IED packed vehicle. SSP Anwaar had identified two of the suspects, one as Mohammed Amir Sharif, a wanted al-Qaeda Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) terrorist, and the other as Mohammad.
However, an insider familiar with affairs of JI and its sister concern IJT, claims that the security agencies detained Qari Amjad, Amaar Hashmi and Murli from their homes, and killed them in a fake encounter. He said Qari Amjad was taken into custody by plainclothes men from his residence at Landhi and Amaar Hashmi was detained from his house at Askari-IV, while Murli was picked-up from his home at Manzur Colony. He added that Qari Amjad had served as Nazim of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology. “Amaar Hashmi and Murli were also active workers of IJT 10 years ago,” he added.
7 Oct 2017: Four alleged terrorists are killed in a clash with police near the Northern Bypass. Malir SSP Rao Anwar told Express News that the terrorists have not yet been identified, however, they were associated with the banned organisation al Qaeda and were plotting for a major terrorist activity.
18 Oct 2017: 2 bandits killed.
31 Dec 2017: Five suspects allegedly having ties with militant outfits were killed during an alleged encounter with the Malir police. Malir SSP Rao Anwar claims the encounter took place when the police conducted a raid on a tip-off in Ayub Goth in Sohrab Goth. “We had information about the presence of terrorists,” SSP Anwar said, adding that all the militants killed were associated with the al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).
13 Jan 2018: On January 13, SSP Anwar claims to have gunned down four members of the defunct TTP in an encounter near Shah Latif Town. According to him, Naqeebullah had links with the banned TTP and was living in Karachi’s Sohrab Goth area using a fake name.
The writer is a Research Associate with the School of Computing & Communications, The Open University, Milton Keynes