With the death of Arshad Pappu, another infamous chapter in the Lyari gang war has been closed forever. The notorious gangster was killed on Sunday along with his brother Yasir Arafat and three other men in the same neighbourhood, where his men ruled for more than a decade.
Pappu was the eldest son of Lyari’s underworld godfather Haji Lalu, an uncle of the slain gangster Sardar Abdul Rehman alias Rehman Dakait. In areas of Lyari and Hub, their gangs were very much into murders, kidnappings for ransom, extortions and drug peddling throughout the 1990s.
It was 1997 when the Orangi Town police arrested Rehman and Arafat during a raid. Differences erupted between Haji Lalu and Rehman, when after a few weeks of their arrest, Arafat was set free. At that time, Rehman was wanted in more than 20 cases.
Feeling betrayed, the under-trial prisoner escaped from the city courts during a hearing. To take revenge, Rehman formed his own gang operating out of Hub, where he constructed the “White House” and started kidnapping Memon traders from Lyari. After Rehman, meanwhile, Haji Lalu had entrusted the command of his group to his 20-year-old son Pappu.
From 1998 onwards, an intense gang war between Rehman and Pappu erupted in Lyari as gangsters clashed almost everyday over the control of different areas. Many turned up dead.
Differences between the gangs took a turn for the worst when Pappu kidnapped Faiz Mohammad alias Mama Faizo, a transporter from Lyari, and the trader was later found dead in Machar Colony.
After Haji Lalu was arrested from Sukkur, the command of whole gang was given to Pappu, who distributed the areas among his close associates, including Fida Jogi (with a Rs500,000 head money), Jawed Irani, Mullah Sultan and Ghaffar Zikri.
In Lyari, Jogi controlled the Jogi Morr; Jawed Irani and Mullah Sultan operated from Gul Mohammed Lane; while Zikri was given the command of Ali Mohammed Mohallah, which later became know as Zikri Para.
Until 2005 the situation in Lyari went from bad to worst as murders, kidnappings and extortion became the order of the day.
Finally in 2005, then government assigned the task to restore peace in Lyari to SSP Chaudhry Aslam.
The police cell under his supervision was named the Lyari Task Force.
Within a few months, the police killed 35 notorious gangsters both from sides. Around 1,300 more, including Rehman and Arafat, were arrested. Pappu, however, managed to flee but Lyari never witnessed peace again.
In 2006, a Crime Investigation Department (CID) team arrested the Pappu, who was by then wanted in over 100 cases and had a head money of Rs3 million.
After Pappu’s arrest, the command of his gang was transferred to Zikri.
In the same year, however, Rehman escaped from police custody and made a comeback in Lyari, where he reorganised his group and caught hold of the areas controlled by the Pappu gang.
But clashes broke out between Rehman and Zikri groups in 2007.
The gangs later patched up and restored peace in the area, but the crime rate went spiralling as both groups started extorting money from traders and kidnapping them for ransom.
In February last year, Pappu was finally granted bailed in his last case from a court in Gadani, Balochistan. He went to Hub to reorganise his group with Aga Jani, Ghaffar Zikri, Sheraz Zikri, Faisal Dada, Ajab Pathan, Amjad Lashari and his brothers Bilal and Shera, who had a bounty of Rs1 million each.
The Pappu gang had started making inroads in Lyari recently before the ringleader met his violent death late Saturday night under mysterious circumstances.
The command of the Pappu group has been given to Shera, Pappu’s younger brother, sources said.