Thursday, January 9, 2014

Karachi's "Dirty Harry" Chaudhry Aslam Killed by Taliban

“As a Muslim, my faith tells everyone has to die one day. I’m not afraid of it.”

The above quote is from Police Superintendent Chaudhry Aslam Khan, the head of Karachi City's anti-terror operations, who was a brave cop indeed. He ran out of luck today after flirting with death every day for decades. He was killed in a suicide attack near Essa Nagri at the Lyari Expressway in Karachi on Thursday. May his soul rest in peace!

SP Chaudhry Aslam Khan RIP
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the "successful" attack, according to media reports. TTP central spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told Newsweek Pakistan: “Chaudhry was on our hit-list. He was directly involved in killing more than 50 mujahideen and anyone who dares to launch an operation against the mujahideen will be our target."

Earlier in the day, an anti-terror team led by Aslam conducted a raid along the Northern Bypass in the Manghopir area of Karachi and claimed to have killed three militants. A policeman also suffered injuries during the raid.

Chaudhry Aslam Khan had been shot at dozens of times in his career. He survived a massive bomb attack in September 2011 which left a huge crater where his home stood in Karachi's Defense Society neighborhood.

A 2011 Guardian newspaper story described Aslam in the following words: "Few know the dark streets as well as Aslam, a grizzled police veteran of 27 years' experience. Profane, chain-smoking and usually armed with a Glock pistol, he has earned a controversial reputation as Karachi's version of Dirty Harry – the cop who will do whatever it takes to keep the peace."

For those unfamiliar with "Dirty Harry" character, it is the name of a fictional San Francisco Police Department Homicide Division Inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan which was immortalized by Clint Eastwood. Dirty Harry has come to symbolize a no holds barred cop who relentlessly pursues bad guys to remove them from the streets.

Chaudhry Aslam was a very courageous officer who put his life on the line to protect the citizens of Karachi. It will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to replace such a dedicated and committed police officer.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pak Terror Deaths Decline But TTP Threat Looms Large

Nawaz Sharif's Silence on Taliban Terror in Inaugural Speech

Taliban vs. Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif's First 100 Days

Yet Another Peace Deal and Shia Blockade

Taliban Insurgency in Swat

Musharraf's Treason Trial

General Kayani's Speech on Terror War Ownership

Impact of Youth Vote and Taliban Violence on Elections 2013

Imran Khan's Social Media Campaign

Pakistan Elections 2013 Predictions 

Why is Democracy Failing in Pakistan?

Viewpoint From Overseas-Vimeo 

Viewpoint From Overseas-Youtube 


Shoeib said...

A very sad news. He also sent the infamous Rehman Dakait to hell.

Ras said...

A very big loss.

Mayraj said...

Was he Dirty Harry (who bent the rules) or just doing his job?

Riaz Haq said...

Mayraj: "Was he Dirty Harry (who bent the rules) or just doing his job?"

Both. He knew that Pakistani judges often release terrorists.

Ismat said...

Great post, Riaz Saheb. It is a shame that Nawaz Sharif's govt. should want to negotiate with these sobs.

Riaz Haq said...

Ismat: "Great post, Riaz Saheb. It is a shame that Nawaz Sharif's govt. should want to negotiate with these sobs."

He was indeed a great cop who deserved better civilian leaders.

Mayraj said...
Schoolboy, 14, hailed a hero after sacrificing his own life to save classmates from Pakistan suicide bomber
Aitzaz Hassan, aged around 14, died in hospital after stopping the bomber
Bomber blew himself up at the gates of his school in the district of Hangu
Father said he felt not sadness but pride at his son's death

CanadianBoy said...

"Super power" India ranks below "Failed State" Pakistan in nuclear-security index,Pakistan even did better then China:

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Wall St Journal story on Pakistan's heavy losses in terror attacks:

Each day, Cpl. Hamid Raza helps strap Cpl. Mohammed Yakub to a physiotherapy bench, lifts it and wipes the sweat off his bewildered comrade's forehead. Eyes darting, Cpl. Yakub often screams and grunts through the procedure, flailing his hands.

"Traumatic head injury," Cpl. Raza says softly. "He realizes it's me, and he tries to speak, but he can't. He can't eat, he can't talk, he can't remember the words."


The Pakistani army has lost roughly twice as many soldiers in the conflict with Taliban fighters as the U.S. It is a toll that keeps rising as American forces prepare to withdraw from next-door Afghanistan by December amid an intensifying war on both sides of the border.

In Washington and Kabul, officials often accuse Pakistan of being a duplicitous and insincere ally, charges fueled by alleged covert aid to the Afghan Taliban from some elements of the Pakistani security establishment. In 2011, the then-chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, described the Haqqani network, a group of insurgents operating from bases in North Waziristan who are affiliated with the Afghan Taliban, as a "veritable arm" of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency. Pakistan's government denied the accusation.

Murky as this war is, one fact is clear: The price ordinary Pakistani soldiers pay in the struggle against Taliban fighters is real and high. Since Pakistan's army began moving into the tribal areas along the Afghan border to confront the Pakistani Taliban in 2004, more than 4,000 Pakistani soldiers have been killed and more than 13,000 injured, according to military statistics.

By comparison, the U.S. has lost 2,315 service members, just over 1,800 of them killed in combat, in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion.


Just last month, the Taliban executed 23 Pakistani troops they had captured, prompting the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to suspend tentative peace talks with the militants. That bloodshed followed several deadly attacks in January, including a bombing of a convoy heading to North Waziristan that killed 26 and a blast that killed eight soldiers here in Rawalpindi, just a few hundred yards from the army's headquarters.
A soldier with Pakistan's Northern Light Infantry, Pvt. Ali, 28, lost his right leg during a clearing operation in the Kurram tribal area in 2012. He has had three surgeries since then.

"The Taliban would fire rocket-propelled grenades and attack at night, never showing themselves," he says. Following one of the patrols, which involved a gunfight, Pvt. Ali was returning to his base. He stepped on a freshly planted Taliban mine.

"I didn't lose consciousness after the blast, and the other soldiers carried me down on a stretcher," he recalls.

A fellow amputee, Pvt. Ali Rehman, 21, had just arrived in the Kurram area when his unit was sent to retrieve the body of a soldier killed by the Taliban higher up in the mountains. "We were going through the valley in an open-backed vehicle, and that's when we struck an IED," he recalls. The explosion sheared off his right leg.

Amputees are usually able to serve in a desk job in the military once fitted with prosthetic limbs. The military hospital in Rawalpindi provides some of the most sophisticated such devices, says Maj. Zaheer Gill, its specialist of rehabilitative medicine....

Riaz Haq said...

SP Chaudhry Aslam Khan (portrayed as Akbar Khan in The Prisoner by Omar Shahid Hamid) was one of the several officers serving police in the 1990s when political activists — almost all associated with the then Muhajir Qaumi Movement — were killed in police encounters that were later documented as ‘extra-judicial killings’ and still described by the party as ‘state terrorism’.

The brutal trend, with then interior minister Naseerullah Babar as its official in charge, led to end of the second Benazir Bhutto government in 1996. Extrajudicial killings in Karachi and corruption scandals were cited as major reasons by then president Farooq Khan Leghari for dissolving the assemblies.

Most of the officers associated with the ‘Karachi operation’ have been assassinated one by one over the past decade. But SP Khan was promoted as deputy superintendent of police in 1998 and his work earned him the rank of superintendent of police in 2005. But controversies dogged his professional growth.

In 2006, the SP was put behind bars for staging an encounter, as head of the Lyari task force, to kill notorious dacoit Mashooq Brohi. Aslam Khan and his colleagues spent 16 months in jail before being released in Dec 2007 on bail granted by the Sindh High Court.

The 2006 memories of the Brohi case were not over when he came under the spotlight again in 2009 for no different reason. As an SP for Investigation East-II, Mr Khan’s team killed the alleged Lyari gangster, Rahman Dakait, and his three associates in an alleged encounter.

After hitting headlines for surviving an attack in Sept 2011 on his Defence Society residence, he was in the limelight again in April 2012 after police laid siege to Lyari in order to trap criminals.

Police called off the ‘Lyari operation’ after a week without any success for SP Khan and his team. Twelve policemen lost their lives.

The 47-year-old officer, as documented in the official record, SP Khan seemed as calm as on any other day after every shootout with militants and gangsters and even attack on his life. Called as ‘Karachi version of Dirty Harry’ and ‘Pakistan’s toughest cop’ by foreign media, SP Khan survived several attacks on his life before falling at last on Thursday. But the number of such attempts always remained a mystery.

“Maybe it’s five,” shared one of his colleagues before taking a pause and said again: “But wait. It’s nine, I think. But you see it hardly matters. I think he only shared or remembered those which left him with loss to some extent one way or the other. Like he survived but his guards were killed or he remained unhurt. It’s his daily business and he had been facing it since 1995.”

SP Khan never remained out of focus. For media, police hierarchy and the political circles he was always in. In Dec 1998 he arrested MQM activist Saulat Mirza, describing him as a prize catch from Karachi airport minutes after he returned from Bangkok.

Mirza is now facing death sentence for killing Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) Malik Shahid Hamid in 1997 and admitted killing a number of people, including a Pakistani employee of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency in 1995.

Interestingly, a few years later SP Khan and the only son of the slain chief of the power utility Omer Shahid Hamid became colleagues and close aides to serve together at Lyari Task Force and the CID.

Riaz Haq said...

Omar Shahid Hamid, author of The Prisoner, served with Pakistan's Karachi police for 12 years, during which time he was targeted by various terrorist groups and criminal outfits. He received his Masters in Criminal Justice Policy from the London School of Economics, and his Masters in Law from University College London.

When is a work of fiction actually a vivid portrayal of reality? Omar Shahid Hamid, a Karachi police officer, blurs the borders between fact and fiction with “The Prisoner,” a chilling novel about cops and the criminal underworld in the megacity city he serves.
The characters in the book are barely-veiled depictions of real-life people and organizations in one of the world’s most dangerous cities. Mr. Hamid said he chose to write fiction because he couldn’t have gotten away with a work of non-fiction that laid bare the merger of politics, gangsters, jihadists and the police that makes Karachi a city of such corruption and violence.

“Karachi’s institutions have become so weak, including the police, that you have militias taking over different parts of the city,” said Mr. Hamid, a senior anti-terrorism police officer, who has been on sabbatical leave to write the book. “This is what I call the Beirutification of Karachi.”
“The Prisoner” exposes the putrid, bloody, underbelly of Karachi, as only a police officer could know it. Bent cops, greedy, sex-hungry politicians, and criminal syndicates prey upon Karachi’s population in the book in a world so dark that readers will come away terrified.
Anyone who knows Pakistan will recognize groups and characters based on well-known police officers, intelligence operatives, prominent political families, al Qaeda and especially the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, which is allegedly connected to the city’s biggest and most established criminal network.
The MQM insists that any of its members involved in criminal activity do not have the support of the party.
Mr. Hamid knows people connected to the group all too well. In the late 1990s, his father, a senior bureaucrat, was assassinated in Karachi, after resisting the MQM. A rough, hard-talking police officer called Chaudhry Aslam came to his house at the time to tell the family that he had caught the killer, a self-confessed member of the MQM.
The young Mr. Hamid knew back then that he wanted to join the police–an unusual career choice for someone educated abroad like him–he even opted for the tough Crime Investigation Department where Mr. Aslam served.
“I saw the ability of the police to act as a transformational body,” says Mr. Hamid. “And I saw how one man can move mountains.”
A character based on Mr. Aslam–who was one of Karachi’s most feared police officers before he was assassinated in an explosion last month–is one of the heroes of the novel. The moral dilemma of tough police officers that have to take the law into their own hands and sometimes even execute criminals is one of the themes of the book.
“I don’t advocate extra-judicial executions,” says Mr. Hamid. “But our courts are unwilling to take responsibility.”
Mr. Hamid’s book was first published in India late last year, an increasingly common route for Pakistani writers. He will be launching the book in Pakistan and speaking at theKarachi Literature Festival which starts Friday.