Police under attack in Pakistan’s largest city

Comment: Off

In this Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 photo, Pakistani Jamal Din, father of police officer Didar Ahmed, who was killed along with three other police officers in early February, reacts while talking about his son at his home in Karachi, Pakistan. The jacket that Karachi police officer Didar Ahmed was wearing when he was killed was given back to his family after his death. Bullet holes have pierced the sleeves and chest, marking where Ahmed was shot. In some areas the jacket is stained dark with dried blood. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil)

In this Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 photo, Pakistani Jamal Din, father of police officer Didar Ahmed, who was killed along with three other police officers in early February, reacts while talking about his son at his home in Karachi, Pakistan. The jacket that Karachi police officer Didar Ahmed was wearing when he was killed was given back to his family after his death. Bullet holes have pierced the sleeves and chest, marking where Ahmed was shot. In some areas the jacket is stained dark with dried blood. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil)

In this Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 photo, the daughter of Pakistani police officer Didar Ahmed, who was killed along with three other police officers in early February, displays his pictures, at her home in Karachi, Pakistan. The jacket that Karachi police officer Didar Ahmed was wearing when he was killed was given back to his family after his death. Bullet holes have pierced the sleeves and chest, marking where Ahmed was shot. In some areas the jacket is stained dark with dried blood. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil)

In this Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, photo, a Pakistani man grieves outside a hospital for the death of his brother, a religious cleric who was killed by gunmen in January, in Karachi, Pakistan. 44 police officers were killed in the line of duty during the first two months of the year in Karachi, marking a particularly violent beginning of the year for police. This spike came after the police were already reeling from the killings of 166 officers last year _ roughly one every other day and a four-fold increase from just five years earlier.(AP Photo/Shakil Adil)

In this Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 photo, a Pakistani policeman searches people at a checkpoint in Quaidabad area of Karachi, Pakistan. 44 police officers were killed in the line of duty during the first two months of the year in Karachi, marking a particularly violent beginning of the year for police. This spike came after the police were already reeling from the killings of 166 officers last year _ roughly one every other day and a four-fold increase from just five years earlier.(AP Photo/Shakil Adil)

In this Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 photo, Pakistani police officers and rangers, gather at the site of a bombing, in Karachi, Pakistan. 44 police officers were killed in the line of duty during the first two months of the year in Karachi, marking a particularly violent beginning of the year for police. This spike came after the police were already reeling from the killings of 166 officers last year _ roughly one every other day and a four-fold increase from just five years earlier.(AP Photo/Shakil Adil)

Buy AP Photo Reprints

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — From his home off a dirt road cluttered with trash in Pakistan’s teeming city of Karachi, policeman Didar Ahmed’s son shows the bloodstained jacket his father was wearing when gunmen cut him and three colleagues down in a hail of bullets last month.

Ahmed’s brother Gulzar looks at the bullet-riddled garment with a blank stare. He recalled how days before his brother’s death, they had talked about the rising dangers of police work as officers increasingly come under attack by criminal gangs and militants from the Pakistani Taliban.

“He was sitting here and told me: ‘The situation in the city is deteriorating so if something happens to me, you take care of my kids and family,'” Gulzar said.

Ahmed was one of 44 police officers killed during the first two months of the year in Pakistan’s largest city, a particularly violent start to the year for the police. The force was already reeling from 166 officers killed last year — roughly one every other day and a four-fold increase from just five years earlier.

Being a police officer has never been especially easy in this sprawling metropolis on the southern coast, where the population has surged from roughly 10 million in 1998 to some 18 to 21 million today — so much that an exact count has proven elusive to authorities.

But recent figures suggest the profession has become even more perilous — in large part because the Pakistani Taliban and affiliated militant groups have gained a foothold here, police and analysts say. Police Chief Shahid Hayat says they are responsible for roughly 60 percent of the recent police killings.

Much of the focus on militancy in Pakistan since 9/11 terror attacks in the United States has been on the vast northwest tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, where the army is fighting militants. But as fighters increasingly move into settled areas of the country such as Khyber Paktunkhwa province in the north, and Karachi in the south, it has put immense strain on law enforcement agencies that are generally less well-funded and trained than the army.

“It’s a big concern,” said Hayat of the killings. He was brought in last September to oversee a new campaign to bring down the violence plaguing the city. Karachi’s problems are extensive: extortion, kidnapping-for-ransom, targeted assassinations, and car theft, to name a few. Newly-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, acutely aware of the city’s importance to the country’s economy ordered paramilitary Rangers and police to bring order to it.

Police have been killed on their way to and from work. Ahmed’s family said he would put on his uniform at the station house so people wouldn’t know his profession. Grenades

Comments

comments

About the Author