I first came in contact with Shaheed Chaudhry Aslam in 1991 until his untimely death, we were best of friends.
I still remember his words and what he told me one day prior to his death. Little did I know then that this would be my last conversation with him, I would never speak with my brother and friend ever again.
I was on leave from work those days and was visiting my family in Minnesota, USA. I saw about 5 to 6 missed calls from on my cell phone from Pakistan.
All calls were from Chaudhry Aslam’s cell phone number.
My first thought was oh Allah! I hope everything is well with him and called Chaudhry Aslam right away.
Chaudhry Aslam in his typical “Sultan Rahi style” first started laughing loudly, hearing that I figured he was quite happy and in a good mood.
He had a typical way of speaking with his friends, very open, loud, friendly, larger than life and very energetic.
Right away I knew he had done something phenomeonal. Something big had happened.
“Fayyaz bhai aik zabardast kam Kya hay teray bhai nay…. thori dair main TV daikhna …. boht bara kam Kya hay” (Brother Fayyaz I have done an awesome job, check out the TV after a little while, I have done something real big). Said Aslam to me.
He sounded very happy and elated.
He told me that he had just killed four high profile terrorists in an encounter the terrorists belonged to the Taliban and Laskhar-E-Jhangvi.
I congratulated him and told him to be extra careful, due to the brotherly concern I had for him.
He, on his part, and in his typical larger than life style, blew off my concerns in a laughter.
“Bhai tu chor mujhe aj TV daikhna teray bhai chaya howa hoga her taraf” (Brother forget about me, check out the TV, your brother, referring to himself, is all over the news,” was his reply to me).
Truly for the next two days it was him and news on him dominating the news all over on TV.
His death was a big blow to the entire security forces of Pakistan not just for the Sindh Police.
A dauntless and a brave warrior, he fought the terrorists bravely, and his death shocked everyone who heard about it. It was unbelievable.
He would hold press conferences after he eliminated terrorist after terrorist and then to rub it in, challenge them over the TV channels. His loud roar would fill the hearts of the Taliban militants with fear and insecurity.
Watching him on TV would reassure the insecure masses of the Pakistani populace who had become innocent victims of the senseless violence unleashed by the terrorists, and he had become a cult hero, a punisher, whose name had become a symbol of courage and defiance against the terrorists.
He had become more popular than any actor, cricketer, or politician, and TV channels would beeline to have him appear on their channels for better ratings.
He had become the darling of the media and several TV shows would host him for talk shows and interviews, including morning shows and can you believe it? cooking shows hosted him as well.
A friend of friends, loved by the masses, hated by the terrorists and extremists, and controversial to the core, that’s how he was.
The people were well aware of Chaudhry Aslam’s exploits. Every citizen of Karachi is well acquainted of his courage and bravery and the fight he always ready for and gave the law breakers.
Always on the frontline in battle to help and protect not just the citizens of Karachi but also the police.
A hard charger, Chaudhry Aslam would never back out, slow down or stop till the job was successfully complete.
Let me tell you about a time when his actions singlehandedly bailed out the Karachi police which was going through probably the darkest time in its history.
It was during 1994 to 1995 when the Karachi police faced its worst and darkest time since its inception.
It was dangerous, scary and a nightmare for police officers in the city to move anywhere in the city in their uniforms and alone by themselves.
There were militants of a certain political party who were involved and responsible for targeting, kidnapping, torturing and killing policemen in the city.
Tortured dead bodies of officers were daily found stuffed in jute gunny bags in the gutters and garbage dumps of the metropolis.
It was during this time Chaudhry Aslam was posted in probably the most violent area called District Central of the city as the SHO of Gulbahar police station.
The infamous Khajji ground which was the biggest torture cell used by the militants, was located in the jurisdiction of this police station.
Finding strangulated dead bodies tied to the goal post at the Khajji ground was a daily occurrence. It was the hangout of the most notorious and high profile terrorists who operated out of this location.
It was impossible for the police to patrol the area due to fear.
The DIG of Karachi Shoaib Suddle appointed DSP Arif Jah Siddiqui, close to his retirement, to the Nazimabad sub division.
The reason for this appointment was because Siddiqui had a reputation to be a daring and a no nonsense police officer.
Siddiqui in turn appointed Chaudhry Aslam to the Gulbahar police station as the SHO. Chaudhry Aslam, in his flamboyant and daring style went ahead and proved himself as a worthy choice of appointment.
Within a few days after Chaudhry Aslam took charge, the terrorists who had infested Khajji ground vacated the premises and ran away like rats from a sinking ship, the ones who did not run were killed in police operations.
It is in the annals of the Karachi police how Chaudhry Aslam and a few daring cops started their operation clean up to rid the streets of the terrorist curse. They did this without the help of the army.
During the cleaning up of the streets, Chaudhry Aslam and his fellow team mates were accused of extra judicial killings.
They would be in the courts and also face enquire after enquiry for a long time, but they never lost sight of their objective and kept their work going on.
Chaudhry Aslam was also a great investigator. An example of his investigative skills is the Soulat Mirza case which went all the way to the Supreme Court.
Due to the nature of solid police work and great detective and investigative skills on the part of Chaudhry Aslam, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence awarded to Mirza by the lower courts, and he could not escape his date with the hangman.
Chaudhry Aslam was always getting into trouble.
There is a saying in Law Enforcement, which is “The only people who get in trouble are the ones that work”, and that was the secret of Chaudhry Aslam getting into trouble constantly.
He got suspended, had criminal cases registered against him and also went to prison under charges of murder.
Like mythical heroes, Chaudhry Aslam faced all trials and tribulations, challenges and hardships, he bounced back and came on top as a winner and a true hero.
Whenever a new government came into power, Chaudhry Aslam and a few other officers were made example of and were removed from their current post. This trend stopped when in Karachi the Lyari gang war and organized crime were at their peak.
Rehman dacoit and Arshed Pappo gangs let loose a reign of terror and bloodshed in the streets of Karachi. Shoaib Khan was the new underworld don and his henchmen had terrorized the innocent business community of Karachi.
Chaudhry Aslam was under-trial in prison for the murder of Mashooq Brohi and had already been behind bars for about 2 years.
Under General Musharraf’s regime, the Home Minister and Governor sindh both were belonged to MQM, they released Chaudhry Aslam from prison, as he was found innocent and charges against him were dropped. He was used by the government like Rambo was in the movies, to clean up these gangs and bring peace to the city.
After his release from prison and reinstatement, Aslam wiped out the Lyari Don, Rahman Dacoit, arrested Shoaib Khan and smashed Shoaib’s gang and his network.
Chaudhry Aslam now got transferred to the CID, where he had to deal with jihadi’s, extremists and militants instead of gangsters. He accepted the challenge and in his personal trademark style took on the terrorist organizations of Taliban and Lashkar e Jhangvi.
Police officers in Karachi, would be afraid of confronting the jihadi outfits, while Chaudhry Aslam on the other hand would kill 2 to 3 militant’s every day in encounters.
The Taliban made attempts to kill Aslam several times, once they tried to kill him and his family using suicide bomber who drove a truck filled with weighing 200 Kg’s of explosives tried to blow up Aslam’s house. Six people were killed in this event, but Chaudhry Aslam and his family escaped this attack.
I was home when this incident happened and was amongst the first to respond as Chaudhry Aslam’s home was close to mine. There was no fear on Chaudhry Aslam’s face and he issued challenges to the Taliban right there on TV fearlessly.
I will never forget the day when we were in my office and Chaudhry Aslam received a phone call from Taliban spokesman Shahid Ullah. Shahid tried to threaten Chaudhry Aslam, a wrong move on his part. Upon threatened, Chaudhry Aslam roared like a tiger and started to yell and curse at Shahid was quite a sight to behold.
The Taliban once put out a list of most wanted police officers over the media, offering 1 million rupees cash money for the heads of police officers which included me, Chaudhry Aslam, Raja Umar , Mazhar Mashwani and Farooq Awan.
The very next day, Chaudhry Aslam challenged the Taliban and killed four of their men including one of their commanders in a targeted operation, these men were involved in suicide bombing and high profile killings in Karachi.
I could write books on his exploits and yet there would be more stuff to write on him. He was always doing something. Always wanted to do things till the end.
He deserves every bit of the respect and honors given to him at his death, nay martyrdom.
Now at the occasion of his 4th death anniversary, I am sharing these few experiences, but I promise in the coming days I will share many more of my experiences with him.
I will be ever grateful to him and his friendship and cherish the love and mutual respect we had for one another. We were colleagues; rivals where work was concerned; the best of friends, we were brothers.