Superintendent Police (SP) of the Crime Investigation Division (CID), Muhammad Aslam Khan, popularly known as Chaudhry Aslam, was martyred along with at least three other policemen in a targeted blast, near Essa Nagri at the Lyari Expressway in Karachi, on Thursday. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Mohmand chapter claimed responsibility for the “successful” attack, which was carried out to avenge the deaths and arrests of various TTP members. Earlier on the same day, Ch Aslam and his team had conducted a raid in the TTP-dominated, Manghopir area, and killed three militants. In other raids previously, his team had arrested TTP Karachi city chief and his deputy, and killed several members of the militant sectarian outfit, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Many viewed him as the biggest threat to the criminals and extremists operating in Karachi, and rightly so.

Muhammad Aslam Khan, hailing from Hazara division, joined the force in 1987 as a sub-inspector (ASI). His promotion to the rank of SP – despite not being a PSP officer – can be attributed to the high-profile arrests and encounters conducted by him throughout his illustrious career. Be it the TTP, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, gangsters of Lyari or target killers affiliated with political parties, Ch Aslam relentlessly took on everyone. Feared and revered as the toughest cop in the country, his enemies had attempted to take his life before on at least three other occasions. In September 2011, a Taliban suicide bomber drove a truck through the front gate of his house in Karachi’s Defence neighbourhood and set off a blast that killed eight people. Unhurt in the attack, Ch Aslam walked out of his house, only to reiterate his resolve to fight the militants and bringing them to their end. He was a decorated grade-18 officer, and his accomplishments include a Pakistan Police Medal, Quaid-e-Azam Police Medal and the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz awarded by the President on March 23, this year.

Although it is the TTP who targeted the brave police officer, we are all, the nation and its cowardly leaders, complicit in his murder. The truth is that the people and their leaders have surrendered before the terrorists. And, left it to a very few daring souls to fight on our behalf, something that must be done collectively. We expect them to face bullets, take on enemies who never forget to take revenge, whereas even uttering a few words of condemnation is too difficult of a task for us. With so few amongst so many standing up against the barbarians, they are bound to get noticed and targeted. We, on the other hand, settle for comfortable anonymity, and let the wonderful, larger than life Ch Aslams of our country put themselves in the line of fire, as we applaud from behind TV screens and write miles of tearful eulogies once they die. Why should they continue to fall for those who refuse to stand up?