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The journey of four sisters from slums to police force

The journey of four sisters from slums to police force

By Sarfaraz Memon

SUKKUR: The Bhatti sisters are among the shining stars of Pakistan. Achieving various milestones despite their not-so-affluent background, the four women, who grew up in the slums of Sukkur, made it to the police force.

Defying all barriers and stereotypes revolving around socioeconomic class and gender, Kashmala Bhatti, Shumaila Bhatti, Komal Bhatti and Maria Bhatti got education from government institutions and proved their mettle by clearing different examinations, including the National Testing Services examination, and finally joined the police force. Three of the sisters are serving in the Sindh Police while Shumaila, along with her husband, is working with the railway police.

Their father, Mohammad Anwar Bhatti, is a plumber and mother, Sajida Bibi, works as a lady health worker. With five daughters and two sons, it was not possible for them to send their children to private institutions, which is why all of their children acquired educated from public schools.

Kashmala, the eldest among her siblings, joined the police force as a constable in 2004 after completing intermediate education. Alongside her job, she continued her studies and completed a Master’s degree in English Literature from the Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur.

Her younger sister, Shumaila, followed in her footsteps. She was appointed as lady constable in Pakistan Railways and is now married to a head constable, who also serves in the railway police.

Meanwhile, Komal, a commerce graduate, and Maria, who has recently completed her intermediate education, were inducted in the Sindh Police this month. “Before our last successful attempt, both of us took written and physical tests three times before but the results were cancelled at the eleventh hour,” shared Komal. “Heartbroken over our previous bitter experiences, we were not ready to go for the test. However, our sister, Kashmala, encouraged us and submitted our documents. To our surprise, we were selected on merit.”

Maria, who is the youngest among the sisters, said that besides relaxing the upper age limit for the post of constable, senior police officials were kind enough to give relaxation to her in height as well. “My height is five feet and the prescribed height for lady constable was 5.2 feet,” she shared. “I am thankful to the Sindh IG, who relaxed this criterion, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to get selected.” Komal and Maria shared that they are committed to continuing with their higher studies like their elder sister, Kashmala, which will also assist them in getting promotions.

When asked why the girls joined the police force instead of any other organisation, they shared that this was the only place where they did not have to give a bribe in order to get entry.

The father of the policewomen, Mohammad Anwar, holds his head high because of his daughters. Living in a two-room house in the slums of Freek Hill in Sukkur, his eyes beam with pride while talking about the achievements of his daughters. “As you see, we are living in poverty,” he said. “I am a plumber by profession and earn very little.”

According to him, it was a distant dream for him to think about ‘buying’ jobs for his children. “Believe me, I had never dreamt about my daughters getting jobs in the police force as you know jobs are mostly given on political basis,” he said. Talking about their fifth daughter, Mohammad Anwar told The Express Tribune that she died at the age of 16 due to some illness that was never diagnosed. Talking about Kashmala, her proud mother, Sajida, said how she not only supported her younger sisters and brothers, but also continued with her own higher education. Sajida also expressed gratitude towards the IG, DIG and SSP. “Today my head is held high because my daughters have proved that despite living in very poor circumstances, if there is a will there always is a way.”

Sukkur DIG Feroze Shah said that the recent recruitments in the police force were done purely on merit and without any political influence. “I am happy that most of the candidates belong to poor families and have been selected on merit,” he added. Sukkur SSP Amjad Ahmed Shaikh said that he also felt proud of the sisters. “All the meritorious candidates have joined the police force and I wish success to them,” he said.

The Express Tribune

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