By Rabia Ali
Today, she sits firmly in a neatly cuffed uniform, the very same uniform which caught her eye back in 1994 when she first visited the Women Police Station, on a class trip.
A school teacher back then, Syeda Ghazala instantly fell in love with the charismatic personalities of the female police officers, of their high headed postures and their firm attitudes, vowing to become one of them some day.
Ghazala, a Station House Officer (SHO), heads the Women Police Station, South Zone. During her career till now, Ghazala has solved numerous cases, written two books titled ‘Violence against Women’ and ‘Be aware of terrorism’, and has the honor of being the first police officer to be promoted directly from the position of a sub-inspector to SHO.
“When I first told my parents and husband that I wanted to join the police, they expressed surprise but then supported me immensely.” The support she got from her family carried on to the next generation as now Ghazala’s eldest daughter has followed her mother’s path and is heading the Child Rights’ Desk at the Women Police Station.
Talking about her training, Ghazala said, “I underwent a nerve-wrecking three-year training, at Shahdadpur, and then at Karachi. There is no difference in training of men or women police officers, therefore we were taught various things, such as how to shoot, assemble and de-assemble weapons, drilling as well as knowledge about various laws, code, ethics, and functioning of police stations.”
After the training concluded, Ghazala was appointed as an ASI, and started off by becoming in-charge of a blood bank in Gulberg run by the Citizens Police Liaison Committee (CPLC).
Later, she became the in-charge of complaint cell in North Nazimabad, and after serving at another complaint cell in Saddar, she finally became a SHO in 2003.
Regarding the common perception of women police station, she admitted that in the past, women hesitated to come to the station to register their cases, but now the trend is changing. “We not only register cases, but also discuss and listen to problems of the women.
They are free to share all sorts of issues with us.” However, Ghazala feels that not even 10 per cent cases are reported, despite the fact that number of incidents of abuse has risen during the last several years. She also feels that there is a dearth of women police staff, and says training should be imparted to the women officers regarding how to deal with militants and how to counter terrorism.
Meanwhile, recalling her own achievements in prominent cases, Ghazala mentions the case of Shaista Almani and Balakh Sher Mahar, who wanted to marry of their own free will. According to Ghazala, the Sindh police especially the women police helped the couple a lot, and safeguarded their lives.
Being in a profession, that is extremely demanding and challenging, and raising four children wasn’t easy for Ghazala. But she terms the cooperation of her husband as the driving force which helped her in achieving her goals.
“I never take a day off, and even on Eid, when everyone is celebrating, we police officers are providing security to the common people. It is a great feeling to dedicate my life to the protection of my country, and therefore I am never scared of performing my duties even in the most dangerous situations,” she concluded.
Source: The News