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Who Is Taji Khokhar?

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Rawalpindi police on Wednesday night arrested Imtiaz Ali Khokhar, popularly known as Taji Khokhar, under charges of land grabbing.

Taji Khokhar, whose name was already on the fourth schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act, was arrested with 22 others in a crackdown on criminal gangs. He will be produced in court following a medical examination.

According to police, Khokhar was on the 20 ‘most wanted persons’ list, and was named as the leader of the ‘333’ gang. A report in Dawn quoted a senior police official as saying that the 333 gang was involved in land grabbing, target killings and extortion.

Taji Khokhar, brother of former deputy speaker of National Assembly Haji Nawaz Khokhar of the Pakistan Peoples Party, is a notorious gangster in Rawalpindi. He is also the uncle of PPP senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar.

In a raid on his ‘dera’ in Rawalpindi in 2015, police recovered a huge cache of weapons and drugs. Around 67 guns were recovered along with 3000 bottles of liquor. Some lions and a bear were also found at his residence. Moreover, law enforcement authorities also found 14 Afghan nationals present at the dera. Police even recovered drone surveillance cameras and boots that are used by armed forces in Pakistan. So powerful and feared is Taji Khokhar that police arrived at his dera in a fleet of 30 vehicles.

Taji Khokhar had been put in jail in 2013 over the murder of a woman in Dhoke Gangal over a land dispute. In 2017, he had been granted post-arrest bail in the murder case on medical grounds.

In a report in Dawn in 2012, it had been claimed that Taji Khokhar played an important role in the land acquisition for Defence Housing Authority. Among the names in the report was also property tycoon Malik Riaz, who has recently been in the news in relation to his settlement with United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency.

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Numerous others have made such allegations. Following Taji’s recent arrest, journalist Ahmed Noorani stated on Twitter that Taji Khokhar was more powerful than anyone and was used by the establishment to carry out killings and land occupations for decades.

In 2016, a well-known barrister from Islamabad, Fahd Malik, was murdered in cold blood. Fahad belonged to a well-known political family and was the nephew of former senate chairperson Mian Muhammad Soomro. The people behind the murder were found to be from the infamous 333 gang of Taji Khokhar. Fahd Malik was working to settle a matter between some gangs, including the ones that murdered him later. After murdering Fahd Malik, the killer Raja Arshad, who was also a 333 member, announced on the spot in front of public that this was the fate of lawyers who intervened in their matters.

One of the members of the 333 gang, Zafar Supari, is also famous for his TikTok videos, where the gangster along with his accomplices is seen flaunting his luxurious lifestyle and luxury cars, frequently making the triple-finger symbol representing the feared 333 gang.

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Naya Daur