The rot within.

EVEN by the abysmal standards of our broken legal system, the acquittal of former SSP Rao Anwar and his 17 subordinates in the murder of Naqeebullah Mehsud and three others is a travesty. It eviscerates the very concept of justice. What clearer manifestation can there be of the rot within our system than a controversial cop with connections in high places walking free, despite having boasted of his exploits as an 'encounter specialist'? For many cynical observers, Monday's verdict by an ATC in Karachi was a foregone conclusion. After all, the hidden hands of the state had extended every facility to Rao Anwar when, after mounting public pressure, an arrest warrant was issued for him a few days after Naqeebullah's murder. After making an appearance at a court in Karachi, the police official went underground and managed to successfully 'elude' law enforcement across the country for the next several weeks. This, despite repeatedly contacting reporters on WhatsApp and, with the help of unknown individuals, making a failed attempt to flee abroad from Islamabad.

Even after he was arrested, Rao Anwar enjoyed kid glove treatment. He barely spent a few days in prison; instead, the Sindh government declared his residence in Karachi a sub-jail. Meanwhile, his trial progressed at a glacial pace, giving ample time for witnesses to be intimidated; several retracted their statements, some went 'missing'. Ultimately, even compelling forensic evidence was not enough to convict him. The protocol that accompanied Rao Anwar...

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