A security officer yells for help at the site of a bomb
attack which killed Chaudhry Aslam. REUTERS/Athar Hussain
A top Pakistani policeman renowned for his tough stance
on criminals and Islamist militants was killed by a Taliban car
bomb in the volatile southern city of Karachi, police say.
The Taliban described Superintendent Chaudhry Aslam's death
as a "huge victory". Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned
Three other officers were killed alongside Aslam, said senior
police officer Raja Umar Khattab, after a car packed with
explosives rammed his vehicle.
Chain-smoking Aslam, dubbed "Pakistan's toughest cop" by
local media and a celebrated figure in a country where
citizens decry authorities' failure to crack down on
criminals and militants, has been targeted by the Taliban
In 2011, the militant group rammed his house with a huge car
bomb, killing eight people but leaving his family unscathed.
"I will not be cowed. I will teach a lesson to generations of
militants," he said at the time, adding that he had already
survived eight other attempts on his life.
Karachi police chief Shahid Hayat praised Aslam's courage,
adding: "We have given hundreds of lives in the line of duty
to save this city."
Police regularly pick up a dozen bodies a day in Karachi,
home to 18 million people and one of the world's most violent
cities. Around 200 police officers were killed there in 2013.
In recent years, the Taliban has expanded its influence in
the city, especially in areas dominated by ethnic Pashtuns
fleeing fighting along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
POLICE ACCUSED OF ABUSES
Last year, Aslam helped conduct a bloody but ultimately
failed operation to arrest a man wanted for 63 murders in one
of Karachi's most notorious slums. Five police and 20
civilians died, but the suspect was giving press interviews
at his home shortly afterwards.
Aslam, whose bathroom was filled with rocket propelled
grenades, rejected criticism of his police force when he
spoke to Reuters in an interview in 2012.
But human rights advocates said police, frustrated by low
conviction rates, were involved in extra-judicial executions,
allegations also made by the Taliban.
"We were working for a long time to eliminate him as he
killed and tortured many of our people in Karachi," said
Taliban spokesman Sajjad Mohmand from Mohmand Agency in the
"We trained this (suicide bomber) especially to eliminate
him. It's a huge success for our people." He said the Taliban
would continue to target other officers on a hit list.
Karachi police said Aslam's unit had killed three suspected
Taliban on Thursday morning.
Aslam often complained about the lack of funding, training
and equipment for Pakistan's police, contributing to
conviction rates of less than 10 percent of those
apprehended. Judges often throw out cases where evidence has
not been properly gathered.
This year's federal budget gave the military about $6 billion
and the police $686 million. Many officers do not have enough
bullets for their weapons, have no training in evidence
gathering and do not earn enough to support their families.