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Women police station exists in name only

ISLAMABAD, July 28: Pakistan’s first women police station inaugurated by late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in Islamabad on January 25, 1994 today exists in name only. It was destined to.

It was a good initiative but like many other social schemes, it was launched just to carry out an “order” – without proper ground work. Neither any legislation nor a Standard Operating System was framed regarding the jurisdiction and work of the police stations.

Nor any serious efforts were made to induct women in the police department. The first batch of female constables was recruited only in 1995.

Women police stations were supposed to provide the persecuted women in our conservative, male-dominated society a safe way to report their grievances to police.

That such stations were needed was widely agreed as woman victims feel uncomfortable discussing rape and other abuses with male police. It also opened a window for women discriminated against in education, employment and legal rights.

But the good scheme fell flat as no female police personnel were trained for the professional tasks, not even for the first women police station.

A woman sub-inspector of police had to be appointed SHO of the symbolic police station opened in Islamabad when the rules required an officer of the rank of inspector or above in the post.

Similarly only a police officer of the rank of inspector can investigate the complaints and cases filed with the police. Since no female officer of that rank existed, all the cases filed with the Islamabad women police station were investigated by male police officers, defeating the very purpose of setting up women police stations.

After carrying on the charade for 14 years, the city police hierarchy formally ordered the women police station last October to stop registering cases. When it closed its register on October 31, 2007, the station had registered 69 cases in the year.

About 140 policewomen are still on the city police rolls – 33 serving in operations department, 12 in traffic department and the remaining in the diplomatic missions’ protection wing.

Their deployment at places frequented by VIPs and foreigners suggests they are there to project a “modern” image of Pakistan.
Source: Dawn

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