A girl and a boy out alone must mean trouble in Pakistan

Published: November 13, 2012
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While we were waiting for my brother, we started talking to pass the time, when all of a sudden a bright light shone on our faces, which turned out to be a police flashlight.

Apparently the restrictions on what you can and cannot do in this country are becoming stricter and minds are gradually becoming narrower.

I used to think that the ‘law’ of being caught with a member of the opposite sex had died with Ziaul Haq, and that people would gradually have become more open-minded about seeing two members of the different genders together without automatically assuming the worst. Unfortunately, I was to be proven wrong on both counts.

There is a very famous poster that makes the rounds on social media. It says:

“In the west, you can kiss in public, but not p**s (urinate) in public. In Pakistan, you can p**s in public, but not kiss in public.”

This is exemplified by police patrols in secluded areas waiting to pounce on couples in action. Although I really don’t agree with this invasion of privacy either – what two people choose to do is entirely their own business – there are times when you wonder whether this way of thinking has gone a bit too far, just like I did.

A friend of mine called me yesterday evening asking me if I would like to have some ice cream with him and a few other friends. Since I can’t say no to ice cream, I didn’t hesitate to say yes and he offered to pick me up. He picked me up and we collected some other friends (both, boys and girls) whose homes were along the way. Then we had ice cream at a place close to where I live. We stopped to chat for a while, after which we decided to go home, dropping everyone else off along the way – me being the last on the route.

The friend who was supposed to be dropped right before me lives opposite Nisar Shaheed Park in DHA phase 4. After she went inside her house, the friend I hitched a ride with decided to stop at the park and buy himself a bottle of water from the tuck shop. It was after the park’s closing time and the place was pitch dark, the only place to park being the parking lot. On his way out, he noticed his car had developed a puncture and he asked me to call my brother, and ask him to bring a repair guy, so that the puncture could get fixed and my brother could drop me back home. I obliged.

What we did not realise was that we were in a police patrol point, and parking in the secluded lot made us prime suspects. While we were waiting for my brother, we started talking to pass the time, when all of a sudden a bright light shone on our faces, which turned out to be a police flashlight.

A guy and a girl sitting alone in a dark parking lot

! My friend was hauled out very rudely and grilled with questions. Who are you? Where do you live? Where’s the nikahnama? Who are you with? Why are you with her? Where does she live? If you take her home, will her family recognise you? Apparently, they didn’t believe him, and they started asking me the same questions.

During that time, my brother showed up and the police turned on him. He attempted to prove his identity with his identity card, but as it turned out the address on his card and my own were completely different. The questioning became even tougher.

“You say you’re her brother; why is the address different?”

I tried to explain that when I turned 18, we lived in a different part of town, and when seven years later, my brother’s turn came, we had moved. Still no joy! Ultimately we had to call our uncle to resolve the matter and it was a good hour before we were allowed to go home.

This incident really made me ask myself: What has happened to my country? I wonder when it will become a home for ‘moderate’ thinking people, and I really hope that someone will continue to speak out against this sort of mentality.

Have you ever been harassed by the police while out with a member of the opposite sex?

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Sufia Zamir

Sufia Zamir

A marketing communication planner, blogger, creative content writer, and a part time Urdu translator, Sufia blogs at www.sufiazamir.com and tweets as @sufiazamir twitter.com/sufiazamir

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.