Islamabad's women in blue

  • Islamabad’s women in blue Challenges faced by women in policing assigned at women police station G-7 Islamabad 28th July: Although women police officers face hurdle all over south Asia, their situation in Pakistan is particularly grim due to the fact that historically, women were rarely a part of police force. When SHO Farzana Begum was a young girl, she dreamed of wearing this uniform and was influenced by Hollywood forces films to join police force. Driven by passion, she is now the station house officer (SHO) at the Islamabad Police Station in Sector G-7 with 20 women officials and 10 to 15 men under her command and who usually go along with them on raids. She has consigned at this station a year ago. “This trend of police station for women was upheld by Benazir Bhutto(Shaheed) as to assure that women are safe and secure”, she said. She also mentioned that “there is only one police station located in Islamabad which deals with domestic violence against women and for all other queries e.g. rape cases, savage beating of wives, harassments, disputes on wealth among families, theft or fraud committed by women gangs and much more..” In addition, she stated that a zero tolerance sexual harassment policy is insufficient if this policy is not practiced. As per her perspective the law has flaws, there is no implementation on law, and the culprit wrongdoer easily gets away with any offence that has been committed by getting bail after two days of their trial. To overcome such problems law should be rigid and the punishments should be given to the lawbreakers. The (SHO) stated, “In some strict conservative families or remote areas in Pakistan females live in an environment, which is organized by false religious beliefs and old cultural values and traditions. As a result, women are VICTIMS of discrimination and violence on daily basis,” Further that, as a woman she does not face discrimination from senior male officers or subordinates because she does not ask for special treatment. “When I wear this uniform, I think of myself as a police officer. Not a woman,” she says. According to Farzana Begum change in the cultural attitude towards women police officers is vital which could help a lot of women who are abused all their life, and that this change can only come if more women are seen working as police officials. Moreover, “women police stations must be facilitated and well-resourced so that women police officials are able to take part in mainstream policing”, she said. It is a job with tremendous responsibility; she is here from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m., at times of emergency she stays here for 24 hours a day and has to be on call 24/7. “I manage the assigning of duties for the other girls here. We are also often required to join police officers for raids and search operations. From her spectacles the idea that the police is a ‘force’ is a misconception. “Police is a service… they should take it as a service, because that is the only way its issues will be addressed,” she said. In Islamabad women police station G-7, women (victims) do not hesitate or face any problem while filing a case, registering an (F.I.R) or complaint against the defendants, as “I am totally against the concept of bribe or illegal benefits”. “No doubt the police and media are considered as a force for establishing standards, values and cultural patterns in societies. Unfortunately, Pakistani police and media are not working according to the essential of a developed society. The growing trend of crime and inefficiency of such institutions is increasing incredibility of institutions in the mind of the masses. The media should also build a positive image of police by giving comprehensive reforms programme in policing.”