I am sorry Mr Policeman, you deserve better…

Published: January 28, 2014

We take out processions and the city comes to a standstill if a member of a party is killed. But when it comes to our police force, all we talk about is their failure, corruption and incompetency. PHOTO: AFP

We take out processions and the city comes to a standstill if a member of a party is killed.  But when it comes to our police force, all we talk about is their failure, corruption and incompetency. PHOTO: AFP We take out processions and the city comes to a standstill if a member of a party is killed.  But when it comes to our police force, all we talk about is their failure, corruption and incompetency. PHOTO: AFP

This year, like preceding years, began with massive bloodshed. There have been targeted killings of civilians in the south, sectarian killings in the west and militants in the north of Pakistan.

Amid these killings we lost a very brave policeman – Chaudhry Aslam. His death was another gloomy reminder of the continuous attack on our police force as well as our lack of empathy and recognition for their work.

In January alone 26 policemen have been killed in Karachi, while in Peshawar another six have been killed and the month is not even over yet. And scores of policemen continue to be injured and killed across the country every day.

Unfortunately, only one policeman received recognition for his service to the country.

The police department is the one of the most under paid civil service department in the country.

Yes, they are corrupt but how many of us take note of their everyday battle?

They stand for hours inhaling smog and dust, often drive the most battered of vehicles and are up for duty at odd times of the day. They handle crimes ranging from petty domestic issues to hard-core terrorist attacks only to hear how incompetent they are on national television and by the public at large. One may argue that it is their job and I agree wholeheartedly.

But my question is why do they not get the same benefits as other civil servants do like the army, Rangers and the navy?

And the irony is that these forces are not even exposed to half the violence that the police force encounters on a daily basis.

You do not need to jog your memory too much to remember that only yesterday a policeman was killed guarding a Hindu temple in Peshawar while a few days ago around half a dozen policemen were killed in Landhi and six others lost their lives because a Spanish tourist decided to cycle in Balochistan.

Imagine the uproar in the media if the Spanish cyclist had been killed instead of the policemen.

But no, the death of a policeman just isn’t worth all the hullabaloo, is it?

Whether it is our minorities who need protection or members of our parliament who need security escorts during their commute; whether gangs need to be controlled or polio workers need protection while administering drops to children – we all turn to the police.

And yet while we have a Defence Day to commemorate our brave soldiers, there is no ‘Police Day’ to pay a tribute to our police force. We celebrate Kashmir Day as a public holiday even though we cannot claim all of Kashmir as our own. We take out public processions and rallies for murders of ‘important’ people, the entire city comes to a standstill if a member of a party or organisation is killed but when it comes to our police force, all we, the civilians, TV show anchors and parliamentarians, have to talk about is their failure, corruption and incompetency.

Never have there been vigils or public holidays for the brave young Pakistani policemen who sacrifice their today in the hope of a better tomorrow for us.

So, next time you walk into a place of worship or a café to enjoy a cup of coffee, take a minute to remember the person standing outside or somewhere nearby exposing himself to danger so that you can enjoy normal activities – activities which may be forbidden luxuries for this man who is putting his life on the line for you.

I would like to apologise to each and every brave Pakistani police man out there who is trying to protect us from threats we are too scared to face. We would not be safe without you and you deserve much more than we can ever give you.

Thank you for making our lives better.

Maheen Sheikh

Maheen Sheikh

Currently studying law at SOAS, University of London and aspiring to become an advocate. Maheen loves reading, writing and yoga. She participates in charity work on the weekends and tweets @MaheenIshaikh (twitter.com/MaheenIshaikh).

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

  • http://imransahir.wordpress.com/ Imran Sahir

    And Thank you for writing this Maheen. That’s what exactly we need to do; although we know a lot of things that are ‘not good’ about police but we shouldn’t also forget the brave souls in the process of just critisizing the department. Ch. Aslam is celebrated and so should be the every unknown policeman/woman on duty.Recommend

  • observer

    A most relevant important point. Our society is heartless, without feelings, without any remorse. What can one expect? how can crime reduce ever, these policemen who have laid down their lives, or have been injured, or have been incapacitated by injuries, and cannot earn a living, have to have a better life. Policemen like all of us have families, they have mothers, fathers, children, brothers and sisters, they are an important part of society, especially our, violent, intolerant, murderous, society. The government at all costs have to provide, if we do not, this society is going to suffer much much more. Police have to be taken care of, their families, their children have to be treated better.Recommend

  • Khushab Wala

    With all due respect, and not ignoring the bravery of the police
    forces. It must be pointed out that there is basically little or very
    poor training of policemen. If they were provided with a decent
    caliber of training, a lot of these deaths could be avoided. No doubt.
    Providing bullet proof vests alone, could massively curtail the deaths.
    However, what ever money is budgeted for equipment is sitting in the
    accounts of corrupt, heinous politicians and higher ups at the police dept.Recommend

  • Ibn-Arastoo Ibn-aflatoon Ibn-B

    I have often been thinking about how poorly equipped, poorly trained, poorly supported our Law enforcement agencies are. This applies not just to the police but to our armed forces as well . Many of our brothers died in Kargil and other engagements without so much as a single movie made about their heroic exploits.
    It is not just the law enforcement and armed forces but also intellectuals of our country which need to be lauded. Recommend

  • Aimal Khan

    A very good article written in a very rational approach !Recommend

  • Waseem Sarwar

    much needed piece. They deserve more appreciation from public and media. We go back to our homes and have fun with our families after completing our shifts while these policemen are always on duty and hardly get 3,4 hours off in a day. Have we ever thought after offering EID prayer that policeman standing outside never gets time or chance to celebrate these events with their families. They spend months away from their loved one, in great danger and that too, on very low income. Perhaps it is time we start to respect and look after them How many families of these police martyrs get free education, health and other benefits like our army-men?Recommend

  • Shahnaseéb

    Thumbs Up!

    This, this exactly. A brilliant post.Recommend

  • waqar

    well writtenRecommend

  • Bilal

    Thank you so much for writing this!Recommend

  • Baji

    Another important point: Pakistan has some pretty hot policemen!Recommend

  • Parvez

    Although what you say has a sympathetic ring to it and also much truth ………what you have neglected to touch upon is, as to ‘ why ‘ this is so. In my view one of the main stumbling blocs has been and still is, the politicisation of our police force.Recommend

  • Sohail Anwer

    @Author: Please visit your local police station and spend a whole day, watch how SHO, mohrar and Thanedars treat accused persons who have been arrested or are in physical remand. There is a reason why Thana culture is so rampant and i myself being a lawyer have seen that these police men have no soul or humanity, they just want money for every thing, hence remember that the police is the most corrupt department and they deserve nothing but a long and hard stick of the law 24/7 to ensure that they function as per law.Recommend

  • Necromancer

    What a lame article the police department in this country is the most corrupted according to TI and HRWP…….Ch. Aslam is a murderer having confess to extra judicial killing……….and what is with the dying phobia they are paid to protect us and if necessary sacrifice their life that is what they sign up for…………Pakistan has lost 40000+ civilians, Civil War in (Karachi 10+ die everyday) why don’t police act and arrest the culprit and punish themRecommend

  • acciprone

    Brilliant.. Respect to you for this article… I agree with you 1000%.. i have seen first hand what these guys go through.. they deserve respect from us and appreciation.Recommend

  • sane

    Common Citizen are more threatened by Police than terrorists.Recommend

  • sane

    Appreciation ………..for extra judicial killing, torturing innocents, dacoity in uniform, humiliation of innocent citizens, harassment of public……. by-standing with land grabbers, drug peddlers, looters/cheaters…….Recommend

  • mehdi

    All around the world the police is one of the highest paid occupation with a very sensetive monitoring anc control & Accountability……Recommend