KARACHI: There is only one officer who has the undisputed reputation of being the Sultan Rahi of the Sindh police force and that is Chaudhry Aslam Khan.
The man, dressed as always in his starched white shalwar kameez with open front buttons and a flashy watch, Aslam proved once again on Monday that no one can faze him.
Eyewitnesses say that after the explosion, when a black cloud engulfed the entire neighbourhood, it was Aslam himself who got out first from his bungalow to pick up the dead and injured.
At the time of the attack, Aslam, his wife and children were at home. Even though the front of the house was blown away, luckily, all of his family members escaped serious injuries.
The 50-year-old had only one message for the terrorists who destroyed his home. “I will bury the attackers in the same place here,” he said as he pointed to the 8 by 6 foot crater. “I will not step back. I will carry on with my jihad [against the terrorists] until the day of judgement.”
It has been a long journey for the chain-smoking officer, who rose from the low-ranking position of an assistant sub-inspector to his current rank of senior superintendent of police. Although Aslam didn’t clear the CSS examination that would have made him a prestigious PSP officer, he was promoted each time because he managed to catch the big fish.
Aslam joined the force in 1987. He became the inspector and station house officer for the Kalakot police station in 1991 and then SHO for Gulbahar in 1994. He is one of the few officers left alive among those who participated in the infamous clean-up operation against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement in the 1990s.
In fact, his promotion to deputy superintendent of police (DSP) in 1999 came after he caught the notorious hitman of a major political party, Saulat Mirza, who was convicted of murdering the then managing director of KESC, Shahid Hamid.
In 2005, he was promoted from DSP to superintendent of police after he arrested underworld don Shoaib Khan. As an SP, he headed the Lyari Task Force and went head on to clamp down on the mafia run by Lyari gangsters Rehman Dakait and Arshad Pappu. Dakait was eventually killed in an encounter by a police team headed by Aslam in 2010.
His first assignment with the Crime Investigation Department came between August 2008 and May 2009, when he headed the investigation wing at Civil Lines. (The Civil Lines office was wrecked in a massive car and bomb attack in November 2010.) Aslam rejoined the CID as head of the Counter Terrorism Unit and as chief of the Anti-Extremism Cell in July 2010, a post that he maintains to this day at his office in Garden.
Due to the nature of Aslam’s work, his enemies today are as countless and varied as the techniques he’s used to nab them. They range from the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi to drug-runners in Lyari and militants belonging to major political parties. In fact, this is not the first time that Aslam has survived an assassination attempt. In January 2006, gunmen associated with a major political party attacked Aslam in Defence’s Gizri.
Aslam’s career too has been rife with controversy, the most infamous case of which was that of Rasool Baksh Brohi. In fact, Aslam was sent to Central jail between July 2006 and December 2007 for allegedly killing the man in a fake encounter. While Aslam maintained that Brohi was a criminal wanted in numerous cases, the SSP was accused of killing an innocent man mistaken for notorious criminal Mashooq Brohi. The Supreme Court acquitted Aslam of all charges.
Chaudhry is a decorated grade 18 officer and his achievements include a Pakistan Police Medal, Qauid-e-Azam Police Medal and the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz awarded by the president on March 23 this year. Senior police officer Omar Shahid, who until recently was working with Aslam at the CID before leaving for London on an assignment, said one had to admire the merit of people like Aslam. “If he hadn’t done some big things, the terrorists wouldn’t be after him, now would they?”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 20th, 2011.