Noting the low morale of Karachi’s police, the Supreme Court issued orders to the inspector general of police to report in a month on the disappearance or murders of all policemen who took part in the Karachi operations of 1992 and 1996.
“[The police] are conscious of the fact that so many [of them] who took part in the operations of 1992 and 1996 have disappeared or have been eliminated,” said the court in its order on the suo motu proceedings into Karachi’s violence.
The court agreed with assessments provided during the hearings, “that about 30 to 40 per cent of the police officers are non-cooperative”, not just because of political appointments but also because of the fear.
They are punished for doing their duty if it runs counter to the political objectives of the party in power and on the other, they are afraid of being shot by the men they have apprehended or their associates.
A former police officer and an important character in Operation Clean-up told The Express Tribune that he was the lone survivor as all his men who took part in that action had been targeted and killed one after another. “We lost most of our men from 2000 to 2004 during the Pervez Musharraf period,” he said. The second period was during 2006 and 2008 and then again from 2008 to 2009. “They killed with impunity.”
“Only a few of us who spearheaded Operation Clean-up are now alive but under the threat of elimination,” he said, adding that if they too were killed, no one in the entire force would ever even think of cleansing Karachi of terrorists.
He said that while the SC had referred to the Ajmal Pahari case, a prominent and fresh case of “Ishtiaq Police Wallah” had escaped its attention. He is the man behind the killing of Brigade SHO Nasirul Hasan and DSP Nawaz Ranjha. He was identified by witnesses in court and charge sheeted. The case is identical to that of Saulat Mirza (who was sentenced to killing former KESC MD Shahid Hamid). “He is a top terrorist who killed or was involved in killing many police officers,” said this former police officer. “Zulfiqar Mirza named him many times but no one noticed.” He concluded: the SC has a list of all terrorists belonging to all political parties, religious groups and a simple order for their arrests “would have done wonders”.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2011.