On Saturday, I was sent to cover a peace rally against the Gojra incident by the People’s Aman Committee, headed by Sardar Abdur Rehman Baloch.
The irony of it all, of course, struck me and my fellow colleagues as incredibly hilarious. Sardar Abdul Rehman Baloch is Rehman Dakait’s official name, and the fact that one of Karachi’s most notorious gangsters was heading an organisation called People’s Aman Committee left us giggling all evening.
When you live in a city like Karachi, there is no way you can not hear Rehman Dakait’s name. The rumours were numerous: “Rehman was driving Benazir’s car on 18th October 2008, and drove her to Bilawal House after the bomb blasts on the 19th”, “Rehman was seen in public at Saddar”, “Rehman has turned to a life of peace,” “Rehman’s drug and arms smuggling trade is worth billions”, each rumour more unbelievable and dramatic than the one before it.
This morning, I woke up to the news that Rehman Dakait was dead. Killed in a police encounter by a police force headed none other than by SSP Chaudhry Aslam who had a long and rather colourful history with Rehman. Rehman had been captured by Aslam years ago, and then fled from police custody. Rehman Dakait allegedly carried out an assassination attempt on Aslam as well.
Chaudhry Aslam was later arrested in an extra judicial murder case, and after the charges got dropped, re-entered the police force. In January, plans were announced to start a clean-up operation in Lyari.
Following Rehman’s death, at least five people have been killed in incidents of violence, with life paralyzed in parts of Karachi.
What’s fishy about this whole situation is that Rehman was largely considered to have been an ally of the PPP, with members of Rehman’s gang allegedly being part of Benazir’s, and then Zardari’s private security force. And this is where the questions start: why has Rehman Dakait been killed now? The authorities could have arrested him and/or killed him in a police encounter years ago. And what happens next: will a new war break out in Karachi on who will take Rehman’s place, or will Lyari finally see peace?
P.S: I apologise if there are any factual mistakes in the above blog post. I am only human and am still trying to understand the circumstanes leading to Baitullah Mehsud’s death; Rehman Dakait is another Pandora’s Box, information on the topic is scarce and I have bouts of short-term memory loss.