Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Cop who murdered newly-wed Shahrukh earlier acquitted in nine criminal cases

Farzand Ali had also been arrested and imprisoned three times in the past for his involvement in criminal offences

Police constable Farzand Ali. File photo
Police constable Farzand Ali. File photo

  • Cop accused in murder of Karachi man during robbery was arrested multiple times earlier.
  • Police record shows he was involved in nine criminal cases.
  • The cases pertained to charges of illegal weapons, drugs and street crime and robberies.

The very insignia of the Sindh Police proclaims it is “proud to serve”. Every now and then, however, events unfold that beg the question: who is the provincial police department actually serving?

Take the case of policeman Farzand Ali, for example. We are being told that he was responsible for the murder of a newly-wed man in Karachi’s Kashmir Road area on January 12 in what appeared to be a robbery bid gone wrong. We are also being told that he shot and killed himself when a police party conducted a raid to arrest him on Monday night.

While the events surrounding the cop’s death are murky at best, what is of particular concern is that the cop had been involved in at least nine criminal cases of robbery, street crime and drug peddling, and yet he was serving in the police department of the city’s West Zone. He had managed to win acquittals in all the cases.

After a picture of the suspect went viral on social media, showing him lying on the floor in a pool of blood with a pistol next to a car, police claimed he had committed suicide to avoid arrest when they had raided the place in Gulshan-e-Iqbal late on Monday night.

Police constable Farzand Ali, posted to the Investigation Wing of District West, was allegedly killed a newly-married man, Shahrukh Saleem, for resisting the cop’s attempt to rob his sister and mother at their doorstep on Kashmir Road last week.

Though the police claimed the suspect committed suicide by shooting himself in his forehead to avoid arrest during a raid conducted by a team of the Special Investigation Unit in Gulshan-e-Iqbal at around 11:30pm on Monday, that claim soon became dubious when reports emerged that he had been in police custody. Other reports about his and some other people’s arrests also appeared in some sections of the media. The media reports said the arrests had been made in Surjani Town, Gulshan-e-Maymar and other areas.

“Definitely, Farzand Ali would have the support of his colleagues or seniors within the department as he seemed influential because he was serving within the department despite several criminal cases already registered against him,” a senior police officer said. “But all the secrets lie buried with him now, and the case is closed with his killing being termed a suicide.”

On the other hand, SIU chief SSP Arif Aziz rejected all the news reports that claimed the suspect had already in police custody. “Actually, a number of agencies were working on this case, including the SIU. But his [Farzand Ali’s] name had been disclosed during the investigations, which some media sections misunderstood and ran the news about his arrest, but actually he was not arrested,” SSP Aziz explained. “His [the suspect’s] friends and the victim’s family helped us in tracing and identifying him.”

The officer said that although the suspect had gone into hiding after switching off his cell phone, he had frequently been visiting one of his friends who worked at a private hospital. “When, finally, we reached the hospital and tried to arrest him, he first pulled a gun on our jawans, forcing them to step back, and then went behind the car parked at a parking lot where he shot and killed himself,” SSP Aziz said. “He had eight to nine criminal cases but had been acquitted in all of them.”

The police officer said it had been reported that Ali was posted to the police headquarters but he was serving as a guard in the Zone East Investigations.

Interestingly, this was the second major incident in which the Karachi police claimed that the suspect committed suicide to avoid arrest during a police raid. On September 14 last year, the body of a suspect wanted in a case pertaining to the “targeted killing” of a policeman was found dumped in Hawa Goth of Orangi Town. They claimed that Muhammad Shaheen had shot himself dead, arguing that a suicide note and a pistol were found beside his body. Shaheen was wanted in a case registered against him by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) at the relevant police station for his involvement in the targeted killing of ASI Akram Khan.

Criminal background

Farzand Ali was not only involved in Shahrukh Saleem’s murder, but he had also been arrested and imprisoned three times in the past for his involvement in criminal offences, according to his criminal record issued by the Karachi police.

Two cases were registered against him at the Bilal Colony police station and as many others at the Bahadurabad police station. The cases pertained to charges of illegal weapons, drugs and street crime and robberies.

The cop had been issued with 10 show-cause notices in 12 years of his tainted service. He was also arrested twice in the past. His criminal record had been brought to the notice of police officers multiple times, but no serious action was taken against him. Following the January 12 incident, police officials have been directed to prepare a list of black sheep within the department.

The police have also obtained another CCTV footage that shows that the suspect was standing with his friend when he saw the two women travelling on a rickshaw. At this, he asked his friend to stay there, and then he followed the rickshaw. It has also been reported that his friend was the person who informed the police about the suspect’s identity after he watched CCTV footage showing the cop killing Shahrukh Saleem for resisting the mugging bid.

His family also confirmed that Ali had gone into hiding as he had not returned home since the day he had killed the newly-wed man on Kashmir Road.

‘My brother is Shaheed’

The family of the deceased Shahrukh Saleem seemed happy when reports of the killing of the suspect emerged. The victim’s brother, Jahanzaib, while talking to the media, said his mother and sister had identified the suspect after the police sent a photograph.

“We are happy that my brother’s killer has been killed with the same weapon he used to kill my brother,” he said. “My brother is Shaheed. He died once. But he [the suspect] will continue to die.”

He also complained that some of the police officials did not cooperate with the family and that police were still not patrolling the area.

Tainted cops

Over the last few years, there have been lots of examples in which police officials and personnel have been found involved in crime. No matter what the crime or terrorism is, these black sheep within the police department continue their terror or criminal activities.

“It is unfortunate that we take action after an incident occurs as there is no check and balance or scrutiny system within the police department,” says a senior police officer. “Such examples confirm that the policemen are involved in crime whether it belongs to the Gutka/Chahlia mafia, gambling dens, drugs, terrorism or criminal cases.”

On September 25, former station house officer (SHO) Haroon Korai, who was whisked away in mysterious circumstances a few months ago, was later termed a ‘paid killer’, and the CTD has disclosed his arrest.

He was considered one of the most influential and controversial cops of the Karachi police.

Korai, who had been suspended from the Sachal SHO post before his arrest, allegedly carried out abduction-cum-targeted killing of a customs intelligence informant at the behest of the ‘Chhalia Mafia’ (betel nut mafia). The arrested officer also has several inquiries pending against him. He resided within the limits of the Sachal police station in Saadi Town.

According to the CTD, Korai and his comrades abducted and killed Fazalur Rehman. The man was kidnapped on July 17 in Surjani Town, and hours after his kidnapping, his body was found on the same night within the Steel Town police limits.

On June 18, 2021, the SHO of the New Karachi Industrial Area police station and four other policemen were arrested after a video went viral on social media which showed them threatening an arrested man’s family with killing him in a fake encounter if they did not bribe them.

The video also showed the cops collecting Rs2 million from the family of the arrested man said to be a drug peddler. As the police threatened the family with the extrajudicial killing of their loved one, the suspect’s brother made their video secretly and later uploaded it on social media.

As the video went viral, police high-ups took notice of it and apprehended the cops. The policemen are SHO Younus Khattak, ASI Riaz Siyal, Constable Waleed and Constable Ajab Gul. A case has been registered against them.

Last year on August 20, two cops along with five suspects were taken into custody by Karachi police over their involvement in short-term kidnappings for ransom.

Tipu Sultan police stopped a suspicious vehicle and a motorcycle near the city’s Lal Kothi stop and found an abductee named Rahib Hussain. During the initial interrogation, the cops said they were associated with the Federal Investigation Agency. The arrested cop Malik Arbaz was working at the CIA Centre Saddar while Zeeshan Shah was working at the East Headquarters.

Originally published in The News