The story of a Karachi crime reporter

Being a crime reporter in Karachi is a job that comes at a price...

Faraz Khan January 07, 2014

This is the sixth instalment of an eight-part special feature, where we look back at some of the major stories of 2013 through the eyes of those who covered them.

                      The story: Tortured to death: Gangster Arshad Pappu's body found in Lyari

The story behind the story

Being a crime reporter in Karachi is a job that comes at a price. From escaping rocket attacks and running from crossfire to witnessing shot down bodies and even getting abducted, I have seen and done it all.

Which is why when in 2007 I was first assigned to cover a story in one of the most volatile areas of the city, I did not flinch. After just one trip, I found Lyari was, indeed, a no-go area. But despite the security situation, I went there again and again and churned out several stories, including my first big investigative story from the area.

The one story last year which was perhaps the most prominent one was of the murder of gangster Arshad Pappu.

Here was a man who was simultaneously sharp, dangerous, elusive and almost impossible to catch. For his followers, he was a hero led from the front. Believing that he had been killed was initially difficult till the video showing his beheading confirmed it.

It was the murder of gangster Arshad Pappu.

On the night Pappu was killed, no one, not even police officials, could go near the crime scene. The mob which killed Pappu had turned deadly and would have killed anyone who came in their way. The scared policemen thought it better to go back to the police stations and return after changing into plain clothes. I could not cover the story in person, despite breaking the news for my paper.

Even though 2013 saw several high-profile murders, the initially exclusive graphic video which came out of Pappu’s death turned the story into a big one. Even those who feared one of the gangsters of Lyari felt mercy for the man. The general sentiment was that he may not have deserved a natural death but he was killed in too inhuman a way. Whether he deserved such a death, no one can say.

I did go to Lyari to cover more stories after this gruesome incident, but since the murder of PAC leader Zafar Baloch, things have changed. I cannot trust anyone among the gangsters to provide me with a safe passage, since they themselves do not know anymore who their friend is and who isn’t.

Lyari’s scenario may have changed, yet my passion for the job remains the same.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 1st, 2014.


Arshad | 7 years ago | Reply I am a journalist myself and I know how a newspaper's crime reporters works in the city. They hardly get up from their chairs in the office and if the editor pushes them to visit a 'spot' they just go out for a stroll and come back. 99% of news gathering is telephone-based which is also the only way one can cover a city so big where somebody is getting killed somewhere almost every two hours.
AR | 7 years ago | Reply You guys want fresh stories from freaking Lyari, then why don't you go get 'em yourselves? And before you wimp about how getting stories is what this reporter is paid for, at least get the intellectual ability to first comprehend the freaking headline before commenting on it. The headline says: The story of a crime reporter. Nowhere is it marked as a freaking, news story that's just breaking out of Lyari. Geez. PS. This is not the reporter commenting under a pseudonym. PPS. But I've been following his crime stories for years, and if years of non-stop crime reporting in the city of Karachi hasn't allowed him some print space to share his own stories, then I don't know what else he could have done to do so. Take what you will from this rant.
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