Stories about police

Ferguson, a window into our own cases of police brutality

I have been arrested. I have been handcuffed. I have been put in jail. I have had a police officer put a gun against my temple in the middle of the road in Defence. I have had a police officer threaten to indict me with charges of rape and murder if I do not give him money. There is no record of any of this because I never committed any crime. My “crimes” ranged from driving on the road at 2am to being in a car with a girl without possessing a ‘Nikkahnama’. I would not call them bribes, it was extortion. ...

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Is Sea View a dangerous place?

Relieved to finally be done with our university exams, Asad, my best friend from university, suggested he and I decided visit Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine during our vacations. Since I had plenty of time to spare, I agreed and the two of us decided to go on Saturday early in the morning to avoid any rush. At 8am on Saturday, Asad came over and together we left, on my motorbike, for the shrine. After offering our fateha, we realised thatit was still relatively early and we didn’t have anything is specific planned out. S on our way down the stairs of ...

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Is mob justice the only option left?

“Robbers beaten up by people in xyz area,” “Police save and arrest robbers caught and beaten up badly by the people of the neighbourhood they were robbing,” “One robber dead and others badly injured when angry mob caught them running away after looting a house.” These are just a few of the headlines that I have come across on various news channels. Mob justice seems to have become the latest method of justice being meted out across Pakistan; I hadn’t realised how prevalent it was in Karachi until very recently. My initial reaction to mob justice was always a shake of the ...

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Reyhaneh Jabbari lives on – even today

“The world allowed me to live for 19 years. That ominous night it was I that should have been killed. My body would have been thrown in some corner of the city, and after a few days, the police would have taken you to the coroner’s office to identify my body and there you would also learn that I had been raped as well. The murderer would have never been found since we don’t have their wealth and their power. Then you would have continued your life suffering and ashamed, and a few years later you would have died ...

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My leader can do no wrong

The air is ripe with the smell of revolution, amongst other more pungent smells, in the Red Zone of Pakistan’s capital. The Parliament and PM House remain under siege by a large number of supporters of both Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri. In competition, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has rallied its troops across the country for a show of strength. Protestors, on all sides, adamantly seem to believe that their respective leader holds the key which will change the fortune of this country. It is only a matter of time, some believe, that Imran or Qadri will end the rule of the corrupt ...

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All PTI did was talk about alternatives

I write this piece as I see tear gas shelling and aerial firing towards massive crowds that are protesting peacefully outside the Prime Minister House. I write this as we hear of a girl from Dera Ghazi Khan who set herself on fire after not getting justice from the police for gang rape, and now her mother is part of the Azadi dharna in hope that her daughter’s death would not go to waste. I write this as I see our police become a mercenary force for a ‘supposedly’ democratic government that has taken on the role of, what I have often heard ...

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Of self-exiled Canadians and ‘peaceful’ revolutions

For the past three days, headlines portray a Pakistan on the verge of descending into chaos; a long-awaited tsunami is about to sweep the capital; a self-claimed messianic revolutionary and his supporters are locked in a ‘peaceful’ struggle against the ‘Satanic’ government, while the sluggish government leaders are almost lazily dealing with a problem by barricades and containers that aren’t achieving their objectives. Indeed, the main players of the government have more or less avoided admitting the failure of their leadership in dealing with a Canadian cleric, desperate to gain something out of perceived government dissatisfaction. In any other functional state, Tahirul Qadri, would ...

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Is my tax money funding your political advertisement?

Open any newspaper and you’ll find government advertisements – be it provincial or federal – flashing their on-going or upcoming projects. The best term I could come up with for this exercise of self-promotion is ‘political advertising’, meant for boosting a politician’s profile or a junior level politician behaving like a sycophant for his party boss. The phenomenon cuts through all political parties and ideologies, and affects all forms of media, print or electronic. Such adverts are often used to serve party politics rather than public policy. The incumbent government spends the most on such commercials, which explains why the government’s budget for advertising is ...

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Will Muhammad Shoaib Adil be convicted for blasphemy or will the state save him?

“The clerics tried to attack me at my office and later at the race course police station. The police were very supportive and didn’t let them touch me. Later, they surrounded the race course police station and tried to pressurise the police. Luckily, some of my friends came to my aid and they did whatever they could to make sure I get out of police station safely.” He was freed from the police station in the wee hours of night, when the angry mob had dispersed. That day his life changed and he went into hiding along with his family. ...

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The failure of the police system in Pakistan

A few days back, while coming to work along with my husband and brother, I was stopped at a check post by the Islamabad Police. One of the police officials on duty inquired from my husband about the three of us. My husband stated that he and my brother were going to drop me to my office. The police official turned towards me, raised his eye brows and, while pointing towards my brother, asked rudely, “Yeh kaun hai?” (Who is he?) I replied, “Mairay bhai hain.” (He is my brother) To which the police official responded, sarcastically, “Lagta tu nahi hai.” (He doesn’t look like it) “Kia matlab lagta tu nahi hai” ...

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