An open letter to CJP Saqib Nisar: If a prime minister can be put behind bars, why not Rao Anwar?

Published: July 8, 2018

I understand that you can’t change things completely in one go, Sir, but the way Anwar is treated in court has befuddled me.

Respected Mr Saqib Nisar,

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Supreme Court,

During the last few years, the Supreme Court has sprouted as the only ray of hope for the people of Pakistan. The dismal state of daily affairs has been going unnoticed for decades but the current Supreme Court’s swift responses have truly won people over and given all of us hope. Suo moto action taken in cases that were not heading anywhere or taken when something truly important happened is an indication of our justice system improving.

There are a number of instances that are truly worth mentioning and deserve massive respect. I would like to especially appreciate the action taken on complaints of common citizens regarding the hospital conditions in Lahore. Moreover, the way the apex court took notice of the fee hike in medical colleges should be applauded. History was made when you took action for a visually impaired advocate who was belittled and criticised because of his condition. This truly touched the hearts of every Pakistani.

As the water crises grew out of everyone’s control, you took it upon yourself to push the government to build dams. You not only asked people to donate money for this extremely important cause, which is directly linked to their survival, you also took a step forward yourself by donating Rs1 million to build the dams. Actions speak louder than words and you have set an example for all of us. After all, it was your step that encouraged Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar to donate Rs1 Lakh to the cause also.

All of these reasons compelled me to think that we have finally been rewarded with a determined and committed chief justice who is even ready to roam around the streets to solve basic problems of people. I truly believed that justice for the people of Pakistan was not a distant dream anymore.

The way you handled the Panama scandal clearly showed that you have no reservations or fear of going head-to-head with those who reside in the corridors of power. You took on the Sharif family, and despite the fact that they have been in power for three decades in this country, you left no stone unturned to ensure that justice is served. Verdicts, one after the other, disqualified Nawaz Sharif and showed your level of seriousness when it came to corruption. And now he will be put behind bars.

Many raised concerns and criticised that no action was taken against other people who were also named in Panama papers. They alleged that this was a big propaganda against the Sharif clan. I shot this criticism down because I knew that they are playing around the facts in order to malign you and develop support for Nawaz’s narrative. I believed that their claims of the State using the Chief Justice of my country in the power game didn’t have any weight. For me, these accusations from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s supporters were as ridiculous as their leader’s previous claims to control electricity shortage in six months.

However, there is one case that still needs your dire attention. Naqeebullah Mehsood is still left void of justice and his culprit, Rao Anwar, is still not treated like a criminal. Your fiery statements and sincere efforts regarding justice for common man were a surety for me that this time, the powerful won’t be spared. After all, you were doing everything to ensure the interest of common citizens of this country. But the way the events have unfolded in this case, I am almost hopeless now.

With all due respect, every hearing in the Rao Anwar case is pushing me down this road of fading hope. It’s not only about the pace of progress. I understand that you can’t change things completely in one go and this will take time, Sir, but the way Anwar is treated in the court has befuddled me. A picture speaks a thousand words; have you seen the way he is walking around court premises? A murderer, who is allegedly involved in several extra-judicial killings, is getting salutations from on-duty police personnel.

From the very beginning, this case has been handled in complete contrast of the kind of image and precedence you have set; hard on criminals and soft on victims. When Anwar was summoned, he showed up after almost a month and surprisingly, no serious questions were asked regarding his whereabouts. Adding insult to injury, he was accompanied by men in uniform.

This was followed by an even more disturbing episode when his house was declared a sub-jail. How on earth does this go in line with basic justice? How can someone accused of numerous murders and connected to such a sensitive case, find himself in judiciary’s soft corner – a judiciary so powerful that it dethroned a sitting prime minister?

Naqeebullah’s family has been pushed to the wall in every possible manner. What happened to all that commitment to provide justice to the common man? If this humiliation was not enough, this killer sent a request to the Supreme Court to unfreeze his accounts. And, the mockery of justice at its pinnacle, his request was duly accepted! How can, in any sane world, a killer who is on trial, that too in a high profile case, even ask to “unfreeze my accounts”? And why did our justice system deliver on his request? Is that how criminals are treated in a country where they should fear justice?

If that wasn’t enough, Mohammad Jibran Nasir recently shared a video showing Anwar walking comfortably out of his car and police officials were saluting and greeting him. This is not only depressing for us, the general public, to see but it must be devastating for Naqeebullah’s family to see his killer walking around like no one can touch him.

I don’t think words can suffice the pain a common citizen goes through when his hopes are shattered, in fact, bulldozed in such a ruthless manner.

This brings me to a question that I have been dodging from some of my friends since the Panama saga. Is the Supreme Court of Pakistan helpless when it comes to real power corridors? Should citizens believe that the corrupt will be taken to task only when it suits the powerful in this country? All of your blazing statements regarding delivering justice to the common man should be considered true in a particular context? And, sorry to say, but should it be treated as a political rhetoric which can’t hold water if a criminal is as powerful as Anwar? Or should we believe that in this country, Anwar is actually more powerful than the prime minister of Pakistan, because he has connections with the right people in power, something Nawaz failed to maintain?

Sir, as a citizen of Pakistan, it seems that the concept of equality in the eyes of justice is exacted in the famous George Orwell’s book, The Animal Farm:

“All animals are equal but some are more equal than others.”

Can you prove this wrong by making an example out of Anwar? Can you? All of us have been let down too many times and we trust you to deliver justice because you have the power and the willingness. We wait diligently for you to take appropriate actions.


Abdullah Ansari

A common citizen

Karachi, Pakistan

Abdullah Ansari

Abdullah Ansari

An electrical engineer by profession, Abdullah works in the oil and gas industry. His interests include international relations, global politics and debating. He tweets @ChangingTrendz (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Kamran

    We as readers love the way brother Abdullah Ansari put forward this extreme Important points to the chief justice of pakistan. the man who is indeed highly respected by all of us for his unbiased honest bold personality and tough stand on hardcore criminals that ruin the image of this country with their powerful political connections. the chief justice is just in his actions against powerful thugs in this country that are ruling and looting since decades of rule. but surprisingly its very unfortunate what is happening in the case with this so called police official rao anwar who has political linking with another powerful thuggish politician and has blood of many innocent on his hands and still been treated like a king because of political connections. its surprise many of us why?Recommend

  • Saeed

    Totally agreed to the point of view of author. selective treatment and justice are the reasons behind all the corruption and malpractices in our country. In a society where rich or powerful and the poor are treated differently can never be called an ideal one. people like Rao Anwar who misuse their authorities should be given an exemplary punishment.Recommend

  • Feroz

    Don’t ask these questions, the record of the judiciary should by now have made you a lot wiser.Recommend

  • Imran Sheikh

    While it is indeed heartening to see the public servants disciplined, let us acknowledge it is we the public that has through our consistent passive acceptance of denial of our rights brought matters to where we see someone doing his job as exceptional, and places an unfair burden on an individual to go against what has been allowed by us to become a norm?
    The public pay for the services of public servants, and must insist as a matter of right on each one performing to a high standard of integrity and competence, without being cowed by the trappings of power.
    In the specific case of Rao Anwar, he has a right to due process which is underway. There are other lower profile prisoners who are also allegedly guilty of multiple murders. While I understand the author’s anger, would it not be an injustice to the families of those victims of if all cases are not decided systematically?Recommend

  • Ilias Ismil

    Only other person to get similar treatment from courts was hafiz sayeed, how was placed under house arrest. Yet he was able to carry on his activities unabated, he was eventually released due to lack of evidence. Why are both of them treated with such reverence? Well they are the people who do the dirty work, when peace talks need to be derailed by a uri or patankot incident or a person from FATA needs to eliminated but outside his are of influence.
    So they can’t actually be sentenced because they might decide to spill their secrets. To the wrong people.Recommend

  • Sajid

    Mr Abdullah Ansari respect you for this great effort to point our view collectly as common citizens, we like that you bring this matter to those in authority and respect Tribune for publishing your nice valuable article, you truly hit on this real issue that we also worry how to trust those that suppose to give us protection and they become the killers of the same people they suppose to give security. this is not acceptable for humanity.

    What should be done with this criminal police atrocious senseless cruel murderer, looks like those in authority have no clue how to charge this criminal police officer since they may afraid of him and this barbaric officer has the political strong backing from a strongest crook in the ruling,

    It’s true the chief justice of pakistan is a honorable candid personality right now in this whole country, every common citizen love this brilliant man and their hope is on him, they pray for his safety and health. he is the only person to clear this country from all this powerful corrupt MAFIA rulers and their criminal handlers in police uniform or their private secret militia or hit men, this crooked powerful corrupt politicians are like cancer that seems have no treatment and the chief justice been doing his job with full honesty will surely be blessed by ALLAH. he has the backing of the poor citizens.

    The honorable Top judge Saqib nisar where people adore him showing deep and solemn respect should take notice of this bloodthirsty killer. this criminal police officer being given protocol instead should be made an example out this cold blooded murderer for other crooked police officer in the uniform. We pray for all those innocent he murdered for his twisted evil personal gains and pray he get the thorough punishment as soon.Recommend

  • Umar Agha

    But Rao Anwar hasn’t been declared innocent yet. The CJP only has a finite amount of hours in a given day. He has a lot of big fish to fry. If Rao Anwar is found guilty, he will go behind bars too. Relax.Recommend

  • Humayun Iqbal

    Our Country is only being ruled by People who are more Powerful than the Constitution of Our Great Nation according to their Wishes and how can we think that a Change can come within our Country ..It’s only the Law of The Jungle ..The Powerful can Survive .Recommend

  • Parvez

    Our mistake is that we are person centric……..instead of being institution centric.
    Instances like this and there are many more in different spheres, has to be addressed by our politicians / bureaucracy……it is their failure that we have to punish by not voting for them. Calling on the CJ is a stopgap solution …… a feel good solution …. sadly we have been reduced to this level all in the name of ‘ having a democratic disposition ‘.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Exactly!! The CJP has been busy 24/7 with the Big Fish. The thugs, mafiosi,
    bottom feeders, who are responsible for looting and plundering, unapposed.
    Literally sucking the blood out. Don’t call the CJP if your house plumbing is blocked.
    Three of the Big Fish have refurbished cells waiting at ‘the Nawaz’ Wing of Adiala Jail.
    Maryam will like Ayyan Ali’s, old cell. [the fashion model]
    [one cell is for office use, with fax machines, desktops, battery charging stations, etc.
    for the army of lawyers and reporters that will be, perpetually, arriving/going]
    In-jail catering allowed. Brought over by tongas from old Rawalpindi bazaars.
    Ooops! One cell already occupied by Gazi Capt. Safdar retd. Defender of the Faith, the
    dutiful son in law.
    Registrations already made for samdhi Ishaq Dar, and do betey, Hussain and Hasan who bought expensive London properties while still students in Ye Olde Merry England, with no visible source of income. Money came down like manna from heaven.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Are all these other prisoners, waiting due process for multiple murders,
    have their homes declared as Sub Jails?
    Get your breakfast, eat nihari, eat jamuns, sleep when you feel like it, watch
    dramas on TV, hey even Bollywood movies, use your own bathroom,…not the
    one used by 500 other prisoners. You see it?
    Rao Anwer should never have been moved to a sub jail. But it happened because
    The owner of Sindh, the wadera from Larkana/Garhi Khuda Baksh wanted it so.Recommend

  • Ahmad khan

    Rao anwar case is different from the case of other criminals and you do not compare this ruthless murderer to other criminals, since he been given authority been paid by the citizens to protect citizens how come this ferocious killer torture terrorise and kill them mercilessly, this so called police officer used his authority in a shameful barbaric manner that need to be condemned and the people should demand for this killer to be hanged.
    this police officer acted like legal Mafia that have the full impunity to kill anyone on his wish list and make those innocent people as terrorist, when in actual fact this man is actual terrorist, this cruel killer do not deserve leniency and mercy he need to be made an example for all those security officer that using their authority in savage manner.Recommend

  • Cobrajock

    The scribe overlooks the fact that he is addressing the CJP and therefore all he has to say must be LEGAL. What part of both acts, the ex PM and the ex-SSP are common, and illegal? Please look only at the legalities and not the personal desires / infatuations. Also point out the illegal aspects of both in comparison, although there can be none whatsoever.Recommend