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Taliban kill 'toughest cop' Chaudhry Aslam

Superintendent of Police's Crime Investigation Department (CID) Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam Khan and two other policemen were killed in a powerful roadside blast at Lyari Expressway near Essa Nagri area on Thursday. Twelve others, including police cops, were also injured in explosion. SP Aslam was targeted through an Improvised Explosives Device (IED) at Lyari Expressway near Essa Nagri area about 4:45pm that killed three policemen including SP Aslam and wounded 12 others.

The blast took place when SP Mohammad Aslam was on his way to his office. The other two police cops were identified as Farhan, 27 and Kamran, 24. Police also found identity cards of the deceased police cops from the site. The intensity of the blast could be gauged from the fact that the blast was so powerful that it threw the shattered wreckage of Aslam's vehicle some 75 feet from where it was hit. The blast created a 5 inch crater on the road at the radius of 3.5 by 1.5 feet. The injured included police constables Mohammad Fayyaz, 26, Rehmat Ali, 27 Hazrat Bilal 32, Mohammad Irfan, 28, and Farhan Ahmed Khan, 28.

Police said that explosives were detonated through a remote control devise that targeted SP Aslam's escort. Following the blast, heavy contingents of police and rescue workers were rushed to the scene. "It is premature to determine the actual nature of the blast. Investigation teams are investigating the matter," said Inspector General of the Police Shahid Nadeem Baloch said. Talking to media persons, the IGP confirmed the death of Chaudhry Aslam and two police constables. "Aslam's tragic death is a huge setback to Sindh police and perpetrators of this crime would be brought to justice," he added.

Some other high police officials, however, remained largely unavailable. Deputy DIG East Muneer Ahmad Sheikh, who was reached, albeit after a lot of efforts, said "Mujhe Kuch Nahi Pata, SP se pooch lain [I know nothing; please contact the SP]. Officials of Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) said SP Aslam's vehicle was targeted through a remote-controlled blast. The explosive material might be concealed in a blue color plastic water can as BDS team also recovered some plastic pieces strewn all over the blast site. BDS teams also recovered ball-bearings and iron strips at the site.

"Apparently, it was an IED blast," said BDS official. One of the BDS officials said two to three kilogram of RDX might have been used in the explosion. A passer-by yellow cab taxi No PL-3174 was also damaged in the blast. SP Aslam Khan was commonly known as Chaudhry Aslam for his heroics in police department. He originally hailed from Hazara. He joined police force in 1986 as Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI). Aslam was very famous for his counter-terrorism shootouts. He served as Station House Officer (SHO) at various police stations of the metropolis.

He first came into limelight in 1992 for his active role in Karachi Operation. Later, he was promoted to DSP's rank in 1999 after he arrested Saulat Mirza, who was later convicted for murdering the then managing director of KESC, Shahid Hamid. In 2005, he was promoted to the rank of superintendent of police after he arrested an underworld don, Shoaib Khan. He also headed the Lyari Task Force that was made to uproot Lyari gangsters. In 2010, a police party headed by him killed Lyari gangster Abdur Rehman Baloch aka Rahman.

He joined the CID as head Anti-Extremism Cell in July 2010, a post that he maintained till his death. Chaudhry Aslam was also decorated with Pakistan Police Medal, Qauid-e-Azam Police Medal and the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz for his bravery. The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the attack on SP CID Chaudhry Aslam. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has condemned his killing, saying he was a brave officer who sacrificed his life in fighting terrorism.

PPP Leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also condemned the blast. He said that such cower efforts would not deter government in its efforts against terrorism. MQM chief Altaf Hussain strongly condemned the attack on the convoy of SSP Chaudhry Aslam. He expressed his deep sorrow and grief over the martyrdom of a senior and brave police officer. Earlier on Thursday, a CID team led by Chaudhry Aslam conducted a raid along the Northern Bypass in the Manghopir area where it claimed to have killed three militants.

AFP adds: "We have killed Chaudhry Aslam and claim the responsibility of his killing," spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP over the phone from an undisclosed location. "We attacked him earlier also but he survived. He has killed, tortured and wounded our mujahideen friends... finally, we have sent him towards his end.

"We warn other police and security officials who are brutal to and torture the mujahideen that their fate will be no different." The Taliban had previously tried to kill Aslam in September 2011 in a huge explosion that tore off the front of his house in a posh area of the city.

After that attack Aslam made a defiant appearance before the media, saying: "I will give my life but I won't bow to terrorists." He ran an elaborate intelligence network across Karachi's complex web of alliances and bitter, bloody rivalries. One of his colleagues, senior officer Raja Umar Khatab, said it appeared the attackers had carried out a comprehensive recce in preparation for the attack.

"It seems that the suicide attacker was inside the car and waiting for Aslam's car to arrive near him and blew or hit the car with Aslam's vehicle," he said. Khatab said Aslam had been receiving threats from the umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan faction as well as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, another militant organisation that carried out some of the bloodiest sectarian attacks in Pakistan last year.

Police are currently involved in an operation aimed at clearing Karachi of militants and hardcore criminals including hired killers, gun runners and drug peddlers. Last year saw the city's highest death toll from ethnic and political violence in two decades, according to the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee. It reported that 2,507 people were gunned down in 2013, up from 2,174 the previous year.

There have been fears of growing Taliban presence in the city of 18 million people, which contributes around 40 percent of the country's GDP. On Tuesday the bodies of six men were found with their throats cut near a shrine on the edge of Karachi with a note claiming responsibility for the Taliban.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014


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