“Tera baap jaraha hai”: When police officers remind the common man of their place in society

Published: October 3, 2017
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How many times have you wondered why you are stuck in a traffic jam? And then received your answer in the form of a trail of police cars zooming by? I’ve cursed these cars more than I have cursed George RR Martin during the course of my life.

Living in Karachi, it is hard enough facing the frustrating traffic every day, but to have these VIP protocols block the roads further adds to my misery.

Recently, a video went viral on social media where a man was filming a VIP protocol driving in front of him. It showed the police vans stopping in the middle of the road and a police officer stepping out of the van. The said officer is seen rushing towards the man recording the video and proceeds to hit him while cursing him and saying,

Tera baap jaraha hai.”

(Your father is going)

These baaps (fathers) in Pakistan have made the lives of the common man extremely difficult. They think they can block the road and continue to their destination while making us late for our commitments. These people expect better treatment than the treatment meted out for ambulances. They want us to move out of the way so they can zoom past us, because speeding laws don’t apply to them, obviously.

Because as the policeman said, they are our baaps. Does their time and life matter more than ours?

A policeman apparently has the power to hit a common citizen recording a video because this common man had the audacity to point the camera at this ‘very important’ person. How dare this common man violate this important person’s privacy?

While these police officers and security details are protecting these important individuals, my friends in Gulistan-e-Jauhar fear for their lives because of the serial stabber on the loose.

When I watched this video, it honestly made my blood boil. This police officer can strike a common man for recording a video and then defend his actions by claiming that the man being recorded is apparently extremely powerful. These officers are supposed to be our protectors and are supposed to safeguard our rights, but they chose to beat a man for merely recording a video.

Why?

Was the common man’s life less worthy than the baap the police officer was protecting? It is highly demeaning to witness an official harass an ordinary citizen like this just because he can. They think they can beat someone up without facing any consequences.

But in this case, there were consequences.

Unfortunately for them, the Sindh IG ordered the said officers to be suspended. God bless social media. At least they noticed and implemented the law.

As a society, we have internalised such pathetic behaviour. We roll our eyes, complain and then move on with our lives. I have been late for school, important meetings and at one time even to the hospital during an emergency because roads were blocked for someone else’s convenience.

One of my friends finds this culture inspiring; apparently the feeling of power seems to impress him. In one of our conversations, he gave me an example of our mutual friend, who is the son of a government official, and said,

“He is living the life. He has police and guards at his service and the VIP protocol looks so cool.”

No, it is not cool. At the very least, it is very selfish.

It was not cool when I was sent home from school because I reached late. It was not cool to have a sick grandparent in the car waiting for the traffic to move so we could reach the hospital in time. It is not cool to wait in your car in the scorching heat when you are suffering from severe motion sickness. It is probably only cool for people in the VIP protocol, not us ordinary citizens, who have to leave before time for our destination to avoid any inconvenience.

My father has called me numerous times to switch my traffic route while travelling, because some important official is in town and it will prove to be an inconvenience for me.  I have to plan out my course in advance because this is such a common occurrence here.

VIP protocols are a common occurrence around the world and I understand that some people have threats and it is necessary for them to travel with security. But in Pakistan, it means two hours of blocked roads. It means armed officers can beat you for recording a video. It means that you, as an ordinary citizen of this country, do not matter.

Maznah Shehzad

Maznah Shehzad

The author has graduated from LUMS with a BSc in Economics. In her spare time, she likes to go on feminist rants and take random quizzes on Buzzfeed. She tweets @Maazzzzyyy (twitter.com/Maazzzzyyy).

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

  • Faraz Adv

    this happens a lot, i have also seen rangers doing same, this isnt the first by policemen i have witnessed at-least 50 to 60 such incidents during my life time. But thanks to people like this guy and Arjumand Hussain , this VVIP protocol will soon endRecommend

  • IBN E ASHFAQ

    The behavior of our Police creates extremism. Injustice breeds extremism. So Pakistani elite are raised on injustice. For the foreseeable future my country Pakistan will increase their population and injustice and also extremism. May Allah give us all common sense.Recommend

  • ji sadhu

    it is not a crime to record a video of any government official,police officer on duty and even ask for his or her id number and name in any part of the world.It states in the law.Yes,recording an ordinary person,we have to ask for permission and privacy law is there,but not government people.Recommend

  • M Sarmad

    The Cringe is real !!Recommend

  • Khan

    Yes it’s not OK. and yes the officers have no right to touch any individual provided there is no physical provocation.

    Lastly, this COP needs to be spanked as hard as possible by civilians to tell him who are his BAAP as his salary comes out of common civilians taxes not HIS VIP BAAP.Recommend

  • Ayaz

    We live in class based society and this is normal here. But I don’t see that people have that class consciousness to decide for themselves that enough is enough. Common people are many and these so called VIPs are few but the false consciousness of the common people doesn’t allow them to think about their emancipation from this segregation and inequality.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Nicely said. On the issue of VVIP culture it would be correct to say that the fish rots from the head down…….and this fish is rotten but it still swims.Recommend

  • Israr Khan

    maznah ……… awesome and the civilian who did it AWESOME … Allah Ditta Khuwaja saab u r IGP of whole of SINDH and least u can do is to punish this guy and ask them to behave with common civilians we need to be treated with respect i mean if u cannot understand what i am saying, kindly visit peshawar talk to policemen there , look at the way police talk to u when they are in protocol and even if u do not have time for this please call the IGP or law ministry in kpk and ask for their manual the duties of police in these circumstances and how traffic police makes sure traffic is flowing and never stops in peshawar.. its really good for the ppl and for the vips as most they stop more is the chance of them being blowing away in an attack so please contact kpk policeRecommend

  • BleedDead

    Very well said. Appreciate your courage.Recommend

  • jssidhoo

    No reaction to this article ? I think we deserve this treatmentRecommend

  • Ehsan

    Thanks Maznah for writing this article and bring this thing into light. Unfortunately, in Pakistan it seems even guards of these VIPs/Diplomats also behave like they are kings.

    I myself have experienced how rude these guards of Pakistani VIPs and well as foreign Diplomats in the country are. I have traveled to 10 countries because of my work. I am saddened to say that the other than Pakistan has the worst VIP culture. It is virtually non-existent in other countries.

    Under the pretext of poor security environment (which itself is a result of the policies of these VIP ruling elite) these people and their workers think they can torture anyone and get away with it. This is becoming part of Pakistan’s already negative and judgmental culture.Recommend

  • Sane

    This has become very normal phenomenon that common citizen are treated with abuses and thrashing by police and those who are powerful and have ‘connections’. This can be witnessed daily on streets and roads in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Yasir Sheikh

    It’s Allah Dino Khawaja not Allah Ditta KhwajaRecommend

  • Faisal Adnan

    Absolutely in agreement with author’s views. Will this country be ever free from these nonsense VIP protocol.Recommend

  • Faisal Adnan

    We do not need these arrogant politicians, we want “philosopher king” of Plato.Recommend

  • Ravian

    We had hoped that VIP culture would end when PTI takes over in KP, but alas we were mistaken. VIP culture will never end in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Omar Dar

    Why was the person making the video in the first place?Recommend

  • Zara

    FFS no matter what there always would be that one person asking the most stupid and irrelevant question. Whatever the might reason be.Recommend

  • Omar Dar

    FFS there will always be a commentator crawling around here somewhere. Why was that dude making the video? Is it not a matter of serious concern that people should start making videos of movement of officials? Has everyone forgotten that we live in a war zone? That slap was absolutely well deserved.

    Some amongst us think that they are the only ones with any type of intelligence. They should get over themselves.Recommend