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The orphaned Karachi

Pakistan, supposedly the most powerful Islamic state in the world, is currently fighting against the militant groups and banned outfits, who have wreaked havoc in the country for the past decade, for its survival. Such groups include the TTP, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba, Jundullah, Ansar Ul Mujahideen and many more for its sovereignty and dignity. What Pakistan is experiencing now is the aftermath of its policies in the 1970s and 1980s. In the Afghan war of 1980s, on the directives of USA’s top spy agency — CIA, Pakistan gave birth to a Jihadi organization which was named as Taliban (fighter groups of student) to lead the guerilla fight against the Soviet Union.

Fast forward thirty years, Pakistan and United States, both are countering and opposing these militant groups to save the integrity of their homelands. TTP militants have forked themselves into several sub-units and all those sub-units are being supervised by their commanders who report directly to TTP leadership. Most of the Taliban or TTP fanatics are of Pukhtoon ethnicity, and this factor gives them the advantage to survive, as they can disguise themselves among common Pukhtoons.

Based mainly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, they have set up their wings in different provinces and cities of the country. Karachi is the largest metropolitan city of Pakistan where people from all different provinces live and earn their livelihood. According to the intelligence reports, the Pukhtoon-dominant areas of the city have become the safe havens for the banned outfits and TTP. After 2008 — PPP-led provincial Home Ministry gave clean-chit to everyone coming to the metropolitan and accommodated thousands of IDPs in the city, who had been affected by the operation against Taliban in KPK. Self-assumed Pukhtoon representatives, ANP facilitated those IDPs to settle in the metropolitan city just for the sake of its political gain and to manipulate the voters’ statistics of Karachi. PPP’s former home minister, Zulfiqar Mirza played a vital role to accommodate the criminals of K-P (who were disguised as common people) in Karachi to counter his rival groups. According to media reports, Mirza defended the IDPs whenever his rival group criticized the mass migration of K-P’s locals to Karachi. As of now, Mirza has faded away from the political arena of Sindh, but the clean chits he gave to the TTP men in the name of Pukhtoon IDPs had strengthened the roots of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan in Karachi. Factually that was the inception of Talibanization in the city. Sohrab Goth, Manghopir, Ittehad Town, Banaras, SITE area, Metrovil, and MPR Colony are some of the Pukhtoon-dominant areas of the city which have become the strongholds of the TTP. TTP antagonists had showed their concerns over the presence of Taliban in the city but Sindh government did not take sufficient measures to neutralize extremist militant group at that time. Last government’s era ended in 2013, but it paved the way for the pro-Taliban militant groups to maintain a foothold in the city. Law enforcement agencies have repeatedly claimed that TTP has succeeded to create strong networks in the financial heart of the country wreaking havoc on the citizens any time it wants. Most of the Pukhtoon-dominated areas including Sohrab Goth and Manghopir have literally become ‘no-go-areas’ for the Police and Rangers even, leave common man out of the question. Still neither Police nor Rangers came out with any plans to cause any major blow to the TTP network in the city. They seem helpless and unwilling to face the Taliban in the city. The only man who was targeting TTP miscreants with his team was Chaudhry Aslam; He had single-handedly enfeebled the TTP nexus in the mega city. Karachi’s ‘braveheart’ cop, Chaudhry Aslam Khan and his dedicated team had become the nightmare for gangs operating in the metropolis. Ch Aslam was the top encounter specialist of the Karachi police and his team had eliminated scores of TTP commanders and operatives. Apart from that, Chaudhry Aslam also proved to be a nemesis for the banned extremist outfits like Peoples Amn Committee. He encountered a number of notorious Lyari gangsters and crippled the outfit through his shrewd and aggressive tactics; he openly challenged them on many occasions to kill him. He is the only police officer who had exposed the nexus of Taliban fanatics and Lyari gangsters. He had also indicated the presence of banned outfits and TTP groups in Lyari. Due to his enmity with the top gangsters and perpetrators of the country he had survived numerous assassination attempts including the one in Lyari, when he was conducting the operation against Lyari gangsters which he narrowly evaded. In 2010, Taliban exploded his but fortunately he was not there at the time of the attack. However, on 10th Jan 2014 he was not so fortunate and could not survive the powerful explosion at the Lyari expressway en route to his office and embraced martyrdom.

As the murder of one of the super-cops of Karachi, Aslam’s death has raised many questions and is still a conundrum for the Police department. Aslam’s assassination not only orphaned his children but also the citizens of Karachi and Karachiites have truly lost a sincere Police officer. It is, probably, the biggest victory of TTP and Lyari gangsters in the city. It has also been reported that after the death of Chaudhry Aslam, Lyari gangsters distributed sweets in the gangs-infested Lyari and celebrated his assassination.

After Aslam’s assassination, many developments have taken place in his murder case. News channels have reported that Aslam Khan had hidden rifts with Sindh’s Information minister, Sharjeel Memon, and due to the immense differences Memon had taken back bomb-proof vehicle from him. While intelligence agencies had warned Aslam that he could face terrorist attacks, the Sindh govt did not provide him bomb proof vehicle and sufficient security to him. Recently, the widow of slain police officer has revealed some controversial information regarding his murder case. She has disclosed that the chief of Karachi police, Shahid Hayat Mehsud had made a phone call to Ch Aslam to come report to him just before the explosion. After that phone call, Aslam looked tense. He later died in the explosion that targeted him when he was en route to his office to report to Shahid Hayat Mehsud.

A few days back, The News had published the report in which it exposed the 20 minutes chat between TTP spokesman and Chaudhry Aslam. In that conversation, Shahid ullah Shahid ridiculed Aslam and remarked in a light mood that government may hand over Karachi to TTP since dialogues were going on. Surprisingly, the report also mentions that TTP spokesman lauded Shahid Hayat and dubbed him as an ‘honest police man’, indicating that Hayat did not target TTP’s men.

Time will prove who is responsible for the murder of Chaudhry Aslam; Sindh government, Karachi police chief, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan or all of them. The banned militant organisation has accepted the responsibility for killing the senior police officer and TTP chief has been booked for Ch Aslam’s murder. Now who will save Karachi from these Taliban butchers?

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