KARACHI: With all the talk about reforms in the Sindh Police department, one would imagine there would be greater scrutiny of officials posted in key posts. The incumbent police chief, Dr Kaleem Imam, has frequently called for greater transparency and vowed to act against corrupt officials. It seems, however, that either his directives are being ignored or the IG himself is simply paying lip service.
A case in point is Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Zahid Hussain, who is currently posted as the DSP of Darakshan Police Station. According to an internal inquiry, conducted in 2018 by then Counter-Terrorism DIG Saqib Ismail Memon, DSP Hussain is associated with organised crime and has close links with bookies, gamblers and those who run gambling dens in various parts of the city.
The report, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, found that DSP Hussain and several other police officials or their "beaters" were part of a nexus that aided and abetted organised crime. A "beater" is an informal term used to refer to a low-level thug, who works for senior police officials to collect a cut from illegal activities in their area.
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For his part, DSP Hussain claims he has been cleared of all charges after being interrogated by eight senior officials.
In his inquiry report, DIG Memon had pointed to links between DSP Hussain, who was posted in Kharadar at the time, and former ASI Raja Khalid. Based on the call data records of both persons, DIG Memon ascertained that they had spoken to each other at least 20 times over the phone between March 1, 2018 and May 31, 2018. Former ASI Khalid has been dismissed from service for his involvement in criminal activities.
"It has been found that the above mentioned duo (DSP Hussain and former ASI Khalid) is running an organised and systematic network which provides to vice dens and organised crimes like bookies, gambling, bootleggers, prize-bond dealers (akra-parchi) and foreign exchange dealers," states the report.
DIG Memon's report also found that DSP Hussain and Khalid operated "mainly through Kamran Usman (also a cop), who is a known beater, and Inspector Zafar Iqbal, the SHO of Mochko Police." According to the call data record, obtained by DIG Memon for the inquiry, Khalid had spoken to Inspector Iqbal at least 77 times during the three-month period (March 1, 2018 till May 31, 2018), while DSP Hussain had spoken to him 41 times.
DIG Memon's report also states that a bettor, identified as Rizwan Ahmed, is also part of this syndicate and collects money on behalf of the officials from bookies. Faisal alias Buffalo alias Patni, Waqas alias Vicky, Fahad and Ghulam Qadir alias JM are the bookies named in the report.
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Former ASI Raja Khalid's two bettors, Sohail and Pasha, also collect money from criminals and they are backed by the DSP Hussain, the report states. "Ex-ASI Raja Khalid is also involved in patronising smuggling of Iranian diesel and smuggling of animals to Afghanistan through Balochistan and in this task, he is being helped by Inspector Zafar Iqbal, SHO Mochko," the report states. It adds that the former ASI is a close associate of notorious Waseem Beater, who fled the country some years ago, and in whose absence, "his affairs are being looked after by Raja Khalid with the support of DSP Zahid Hussain and Zafar Iqbal, Mochko SHO."
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When The Express Tribune reached out to DSP Hussain, he said that he wasn't appointed on any post for four months after this report was revealed. However, eight officials cleared after investigations and he has been appointed as DSP again.
DSP Hussain was recruited in the Sindh Reserve Police in 1987 and was promoted to the rank of DSP in 2017-18. He was posted as Kharadar Police DSP, then Sharae Faisal DSP and is currently serving as DSP of Darakhshan Police Station.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2019.
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