An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Karachi’s Gang Wars

Both Shoaib Khan and Ibrahim Bholoo started their careers from the slums of Karachi, a perfect environment for any wannabe gangster. Within a few years their underworld activities took them and their families from the slums to palatial houses in Karachi’s Defence Housing Authority. The two small-time gangsters struck gold when they got in touch with the notorious Dawood Ibrahim, five or six years ago and started working for him in Karachi. From petty crimes they moved into the realm of big-time underworld operations and contract killings in Karachi and abroad.

Shoaib Khan ran a number of gambling dens in Karachi, a line he was familiar with, as his father Akhtar Ali Khan, was a satta operator and gambler in Liaquatabad. Even though Shoaib is now in custody, his gambling dens continue to operate in the city, with the biggest gambling den located in the Hockey Stadium. In the mid ’90s Shoaib started a gambling den in Dubai. It was in Dubai that Shoaib made contact with Dawood through their mutual passion for gambling. Both men became friends and Shoaib took over Dawood’s extortion operation in Karachi. Then in 1998, Shoaib allegedly murdered a Pakistani businessman, Irfan Goga, who had won a lot of money gambling in Shoaib’s den in Dubai. Irfan’s body was never recovered but his abandoned car was found in the parking lot in Dubai airport. Goga’s family accused Shoaib of the murder, but before warrants could be issued, Shoaib fled to Pakistan. Dawood also knew Irfan and reportedly when he questioned Shoaib about the killing, he told Dawood that he killed Irfan because he had been abusing Dawood, something Shoaib found impossible to accept. Shoaib soon acquired a reputation for not honouring his financial commitments both in his gambling operations and otherwise.

Haji Ibrahim, alias Bholoo, was a People’s Party worker and a good friend of Najeeb Ahmed, a top PSF activist, as well as other Peoples Party activists. In the early ’90s he left for South Africa, where he amassed a small fortune in drugs, hawala and smuggling. Then he met Shoaib in Dubai and became his business partner. Dawood Ibrahim too had extensive drug operations in South Africa. So it was inevitable that Bholoo joined hands with Dawood Ibrahim, serving as his agent in South Africa

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