Catch of the day: Handcuffs for 3 target killers who pumped bullets into 70 people
KARACHI: Ahmed Liaquatabad Wallah’s charge sheet reads like the twisted diary of a serial killer with an ethnic beef. The suspect, whose real name is the unextraordinary-sounding Sohail, was arrested for 43 murders by the Crime Investigation Department that also rounded up two other target killers on Friday.
Between the three of them – Sohail, Mohammad Kashif alias Shakeel Burger and Naeem Khanzada – had killed a total of 70 people. The handout issued by the investigation and intelligence arm of the Sindh police only stated that they “belonged to various political parties” but the identity of their victims speaks volumes of the men’s affiliations.
All three men committed the killings by either ambushing public buses and tea hotels or bumping off their rivals. Usually, when the CID makes high-profile arrests, it is quick to arrange special briefings and a press conference. However, no such declarations accompanied these arrests even though all three suspects belonged to major political parties.
Counter Terrorism Unit Chief SSP Chaudhry Aslam made the big catch during raids in Pirabad and PIB Colony under the directives of CID Additional IG Ghulam Shabbir Shah and DIG Mushtaq Mahar.
A cache of arms, including five Kalashnikovs, four hand grenades, three TT pistols, three 9mm pistols, one rifle and 80 rounds of ammunition was seized.
Sohail carried out his first known murder in 2007, then six in 2008, 14 in 2009, six in 2010 and until recently, 15 in 2011. On August 5, 2011, he and group members on two motorcycles killed two Baloch men near Press Quarters within the jurisdiction of PIB Colony. On August 15, they killed two men sitting in a car outside Civic View apartments within Aziz Bhatti limits.
Although various people belonging to different ethnicities, such as Baloch and Pathans, were targeted by the suspect, he also killed people belonging to political parties. In February this year, the suspect attacked and killed Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi’s Imran when he was returning from a wedding at Nairang Jhanday Wali chowk road.
Mohammad Kashif alias Shakeel Burger Kashif and Sohail were close and went on their killing sprees together. He began his career as a murderer when he shot dead two Pathans who sold naan at their tandoor shop at a scrap market in March 2007. His weapon of choice was a 9mm.
Khanzada was found to be involved in 21 cases out of which 18 were committed in 2011 and three in 2010. In January this year, the suspect along with his gang members on three motorcycles opened indiscriminate fire on a Suzuki pick-up van with women and children. Two people were killed. A case was registered at the Site police station.
In July, he opened fire on a ‘Mashallah’ route public coach with a Kalashnikov that left two people dead and four others injured. In August, he targeted a bus of route D-1 and picked out a passenger, Muttahida Qaumi Movement activist Nadeem alias Motta. Dozens of bullets were pumped into his body.
Khanzada was most active in his deadly pursuits in Orangi and adjoining areas. At least 14 target killings were committed there. He and his gang not only targeted people affiliated with their rival party, but any Urdu-speaking person who sympathised with their rival party was game for him.