By: Tariq Farid
LAHORE: Women police personnel are only 0.86 percent of the total police force in the country and yet they cannot find any important position such as investigation officer or a prosecutor due to gender discrimination in the police department.
There are 19 women police stations in the country, including seven in Gilgit-Baltistan, three in Punjab, six in Sindh, two in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and one in Islamabad. There is no woman police station in Balochistan.
There are 3,700 women police personnel working across the country, which is less than one percent of the total police force. Women police stations have also proved ineffective so far, as most of the police stations across the country have just registered one or two cases in 10 to 15 years.
According to a survey conducted by the Individualland, a research-based consultancy and advocacy group, women police is mostly not allowed by the department to register FIRs and it is also discouraged to conduct investigation.
A group of women police officials shared their view and problems at a consultative session on Friday hosted by the Individualland in partnership with Royal Norwegian Embassy. “Women police officials are usually kept away from demanding field duties and are mostly confined to office work,” said Head Constable Noreen Afzal, who works for Railway Police.
“The career paths are not really defined for women police officials and they are often not encouraged by seniors despite the fact that both men and women work the same hours and get the same training,” said Constable Asifa Hussainl at the workshop.
SSP (Railways) Aslam Shahzad said that the police department has developed a soft image with the inclusion of women force. “Women police personnel have added decency to thana culture,” he added. Shahzad said that due to departmental policy and political interference, the number of women in the police was less.
Workshop participants were told that there were some model police stations in the country where women staff has been appointed for the benefit of women complainants. “A recent survey by Individualland on the women police shows that most of the officials were not happy at all with their working conditions. They complain about the male dominance in the department and less opportunities of progress,” Sundas Hussain, the project coordinator told the audience.