In Pak underworld,a cop rises to be ‘king’

A corrupt,low-level cop with a healthy dose of streetsmartness rose to control hundreds of illegal gambling dens in Pakistan’s largest city.

Written by Associated Press | Karachi | Published: March 31, 2013 1:25 am

A corrupt,low-level cop with a healthy dose of streetsmartness rose to control hundreds of illegal gambling dens in Pakistan’s largest city. By doling out millions of dollars in illicit proceeds,he protects his empire and has become one of the most powerful people in Karachi.

The allegations against Mohammed Waseem Ahmed — or Waseem “Beater” as he is more commonly known — emerged recently from surprise testimony by a top police commander before a crusading anti-crime Supreme Court judge. The story has given a rare and colorful glimpse into the vast underworld in Karachi,a chaotic metropolis of 18 million people on Pakistan’s southern coast.

The allegations surrounding Ahmed also fuel questions about overlap between Karachi’s underworld and its police forces.

The AP made repeated attempts to contact Ahmed,but was not successful.

Ahmed came from a poor family in Karachi’s old city and joined the police force in the 1990s. He soon started working as a “beater”,a low-level thug who works for more senior cops to collect a cut from illegal activities in their area,such as gambling,prostitution and drug dealing,said half a dozen police officers who knew him personally at the time.

Ahmed,who sports a bushy black mustache and usually dresses in a simple,white salwar kameez,earned a reputation for carrying out his illicit work efficiently. That reputation helped him forge relationships with more senior figures,and eventually he was collecting money for some of the top police officers and civilian security officials in Karachi,they said.

Ahmed earned tens of thousands of dollars each day from hundreds of gambling dens and also smuggled diesel fuel into Karachi from Iran.

Ahmed was later dismissed from the police force after a Supreme Court hearing,and government records indicate he flew to Dubai and has not returned.

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