Blast kills top Pakistan officer
A senior police investigator known for hunting down Pakistani Taliban militants has been killed in a car bombing, a sharp blow to efforts to crack down on militant groups seeking to gain a foothold in the sprawling southern city of Karachi.
Chaudhry Aslam was travelling through a commercial area in the port city when a remote-controlled bomb planted on the road destroyed his armored SUV, police said. The blast killed two other officers with him.
Mr Aslam was known for being one of Karachi's toughest police officers who had escaped previous attempts on his life. In September 2011, a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives outside his home. That blast killed eight people, though he escaped unharmed.
"This is a cowardly act," Mr Aslam told local television at the time. "I'm not scared. I will not spare them."
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the assassination attempt against him in 2011, as well as for the one that killed him. In a telephone call to The Associated Press, a spokesman for the group, Sajjad Mohmand, said that they killed Mr Aslam for torturing their associates.
He had been criticised for allegedly using too much force on suspects. Human rights activists accuse Pakistani police of routinely using excessive force, as well as torturing and killing suspects.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the killing, saying that it would not deter the morale of law enforcement agencies battling militancy. But some of Mr Aslam's colleagues disagreed.
"I am sure after his killing nobody from the police force will dare to go after the terrorism and militants," senior police official Dost Ali Baloch said.
In recent years, Karachi has seen a sharp growth in violence, which many worry has given militant groups such as the Taliban an opportunity to expand their presence in the massive city.
Mr Aslam played a leading role in arresting scores of militants and other criminals there in recent years.
"He was a very brave man, that's for sure. He had a lot of courage in him," said Sharfuddin Memon, an adviser to the chief minister of the province in which Karachi is located. "Whenever there was some blast he was there on the scene right away without being scared."