by Zia Ur Rehman
December 21. 2012
KARACHI – Karachi police remain committed to fighting the militancy, cracking down on insurgents and shattering the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) network in the city, despite an increasing danger to law enforcement personnel.
“The TTP has decided to target all those officers who are involved in the crackdown against it,” Superintendent of Police (SP) Mazhar Mashwani said, “but we have decided to target it, too.”
The militants have announced huge rewards for anyone who kills police officers on their list, Mashwani said, but the situation will not deter the Criminal Investigation Department (CID)’s resolve.
“The militants target the policemen to scare them into backing out of their duties, but the law enforcers will continuously work to root them out,” Mashwani told Central Asia Online.
Incidents of violence against police
Militant outfits in Karachi killed 27 CID personnel between November 1 and December 15, Sindh Police Chief Fayyaz Leghari told Central Asia Online, adding that the attacks are in response to the on-going crackdown against the militant groups. So far this year, 113 law enforcement personnel have been killed.
The TTP is working off a hit list that includes police officers involved in the arrests and deaths of a number of militants, including its key commanders in Karachi, said Raees Ahmed, a Karachi-based security analyst, adding that the insurgents still pose a threat to security personnel.
Leghari recognises the threat but said police are responding well.
“These are dangerous times, but we are ready to deal with them,” the chief said. “The cold-blooded murders of policemen will not shatter our determination.” Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah in a December 14 meeting asked Leghari to let him know what additional resources are needed to continue the crackdown, state-owned media reported.
“The police must remain alert at all times and perform their duties with responsibility,” Mashwani said.
Leaders of various political parties have denounced the killing of law enforcement personnel.
“Such cowardly acts will not shatter government’s resolve in fight against terror,” Latif Mughal, Karachi secretary of information of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, told Central Asia Online.
In tribute to their sacrifices, Mughal said the names of the martyred law enforcement personnel will be written in gold in history.
It is because of the sacrifices of police and Rangers that the backbone of the militancy is broken today, said Khurram Bhatti, a Karachi leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz).
Terrorists have become frustrated and now are resorting to such cowardly acts out of frustration, Bhatti told Central Asia Online.
Origins of TTP hit list
The TTP’s aggressive stance dates back a couple of years, when the militants set their sights on Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Chaudhry Aslam Khan. After repeated attempts over the course of about a year to kill him at his office, insurgents attacked his house September 19, 2011, killing eight people, but Aslam was not among the victims.
Two days later, TTP spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan issued a hit list that included the names of then-Karachi Capital City Police Officer Saud Mirza and Karachi police senior officers Raja Umar Khitab, Farooq Awan, Mashwani and Khurram Waris.
Killed in the line of duty
Militants are suspected in the deaths of at least eight law enforcement officers since December 12.
Khurram Manzoor and Sohail Yousuf – two CID officers who had been missing – were found fatally shot in the Garden and Maripur areas on December15.
On the same day, gunmen riding a motorcycle shot Assistant Sub-Inspector Muhammad Mohsin and Constable Rizwan Khan in the Peerabad police jurisdiction, killing Mohsin.
Constable Ali Hassan died from gunshot wounds sustained during an attack in the Arambagh police jurisdiction two days earlier.
On December 13 in two separate incidents, men on motorcycles shot and killed Constable Syed Shamim Ahmed and Constable Kaleem Anjum.
An unknown motorcyclist December 12 killed Sub-Inspector Mukhtiar Ahmed Ghumman in the Dawood Goth area of Baldia Town. On the same day, a bomb blast killed police Constable Malik Zahid and two other people in the Landhi area.
Leghari announced a compensation package of Rs. 2m (US $20,419) and payment of each victim’s pension to his bereaved family and is offering employment to willing and capable relatives.
Rangers also attacked
The Rangers, a paramilitary force that has assumed a more active role in the war on terror, have also been targeted recently.
Four men riding two motorcycles opened fire near the Al-Asif police picket on Abul Hasan Ispahani Road on December 10, killing Sepoy Inayat Ali and Hawaldar Hakim Ali of the Sindh Rangers’ Ghazi Wing and injuring Traffic Sub-Inspector Qamar Pirzada and Police Constable Khadim. Qamar later died of his injuries.
Three Rangers also died in a November 8 bombing that injured 21 others near the headquarters of the Sachal Rangers, in the North Nazimabad area of Karachi.