Even though Shafiq Tanoli did not occupy any high ranks in the police department, the operations he led and the criminals he was pursuing made him ‘dangerous’ for those hell bent on worsening the situation in Karachi. This is, perhaps, the reason why several groups were after his life. He survived attack no less than seven times but the eighth attack on April 24 proved fatal.
The attack on Tanoli did not come as a surprise as he had made several enemies in his line of work. In fact, three petitions accusing him of kidnapping innocent citizens and killing them ‘extrajudiciously’ were being heard at the Sindh High Court at the time a powerful bomb killed him. As a police officer, Tanoli’s actions were questioned time and again. He was suspended a few weeks ago after he carried out a raid in Sea View, Clifton, on the house of an allegedly ‘powerful’ person. But there was more to the man as he bravely pursued political activists, gangsters, militants and the likes. In the Wali Babar case, it was Tanoli who rounded up all the suspects and even killed one of them. The police department needs to make sure the cases he was pursuing are carried forward so that his work is not wasted. The department also needs to ensure that his wife and children are taken care of. They should be given some financial compensation immediately as well as a stipend until his children are old enough to support the family. Above all, the family must be given closure by arresting the criminals who took him down.
The initial investigations claimed that the same group which attacked Tanoli a few months ago is behind the latest attack. If that is so, then the investigations into the previous attack need to be revisited. There is also a need to look into the cases he was pursuing and the circumstances around his recent suspension. All angles must be analysed and no leads should be left unexplored. The city deserves to know who took down its lion.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2014.
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