Karachi, March 12: Allah Dino Khawaja was posted as Dadu SSP when he came up with a unique method to gain information on criminals. “During his posting, he started patrolling in the city under the guise of a milk seller and a vegetable supplier,” recalled Laila Ram Manglani, one of his best friends, explaining that Khawaja wanted to target corrupt cops who used to loot people on the streets.
“During his posting in Dadu, he focused mainly on [improving] police performance and suspended several [corrupt] SHOs in the volatile district,” he said. Manglani recalled how Dadu residents took to the streets in his favour when he was transferred out in the 1990s.
Khawaja, who belongs to a village in Tando Muhammad Khan district, was born in a Muslim family but was raised by a Hindu one. His father, Aziz Khawaja, was a landlord of the area and he was best friends with Daryano Mal, a local Hindu businessman who had no son of his own. Mal requested Aziz to allow him to take care of Khawaja and ended up paying for all his educational and other expenses.
Dal, who hailed from Jamshoro’s Thana Bola Khan area, had Khawaja enrol in Cadet College Petaro, from where he completed his Intermediate in 1982. After that, he completed his Master’s in Criminology from the University of Sindh, Jamshoro.
“Since my childhood, I wanted to become a police officer. I appeared for my Civil Service of Pakistan (CSS) exam in 1986-87 and passed it with flying colours,” Khawaja told The Express Tribune.
His exceptional score landed him a post in the foreign services but Khawaja had his eyes set on becoming a police officer. “I challenged the government decision and they reallocated me,” he said.
In the initial days, he worked in the Punjab as ASP and SP, and was later transferred to Sindh. “After appearing in the CSS exam, I also got admission in NED University in the civil engineering department but I dropped out soon after I passed the CSS exam,” he recalled.
When he speaks about his success, Khawaja gives credit to Dal, his Hindu mentor who helped fulfil his dreams. “This is a true story of my childhood. I am proud to be a Muslim and I am equally thankful to our Hindu family friend, who bore all my educational expenses and paved the way to make me a good citizen,” said Khawaja.
The cop life
Khawaja has served as SSP in various districts of Sindh and worked in Karachi as DIG in districts South and East, according to Sindh Police records. He also rendered his services in Intelligence Bureau (IB) as a joint director.
He was also posted as DIG for telecommunication and director for Sindh’s anti-corruption department. Khawaja also worked as personal staff officer for two chief ministers, Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah and Syed Abdullah Shah.
Khawaja is known as one of the most respectable and honest officers in Sindh Police — a fact that led him to become one of the three members of the Supreme Court-appointed inquiry committee probing corruption charges against the outgoing Sindh IG.
Some officials accused Khawaja of embezzling government funds and using that money to establish petrol pumps but he denied these accusations. “This is just [an attempt] to malign me,” he said.
As he takes charge of the province during the crucial targeted operation in Karachi, Khawaja shared his plans. “My first priority will be to get rid of the defamed ‘thana culture’ and appoint police officers on merit,” he said.