Stories about police

Shabnam Khan’s death: Making a murder sound like a routine act

Shabnam Gul Khan passed away on December 4, 2012, having been murdered by her husband Gul Mohammad Khan in Murghi Khana, Karachi. The couple had a love marriage in 1998, in India and returned to Pakistan together in 2000. She was an Indian citizen of Christian faith and was formerly known as Shirley Ann Hodges. In the two years that the couple spent in India after marriage, they lived happily and had a daughter. When she returned to Pakistan, her husband assured her that they would visit India frequently but this never happened. On arrival, she discovered that her husband already had ...

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Silenced for speaking the truth

How easy is it for a person to tell the truth when he knows it could cost him his life? In Balochistan, the truth is seldom allowed to surface. If it does, it’s often distorted. However, I find it fascinating that there are people who speak up knowing that truth would endanger their life. Despite the terrible state of law and order and a deep sense of insecurity in the province, a less-known but brave doctor stood up for justice and told the truth, which ultimately resulted in his assassination. A year ago, police surgeon Dr Baqir Shah, a key witness ...

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The day my husband was kidnapped

It was like any other Friday night. My husband and I were contemplating dinner plans. Before we went out, Hasan decided to run a few errands, while I took my time getting ready before our date. Half an hour went by and I decided to call him, “Where are you?” “I’m with my friends, I’ll talk to you later” and hung up. I called back instantly and screamed, “Excuse me if you forgot, but we had dinner plans 20 minutes ago”, to which he replied “Laila, call the doctor, mom is unwell.” He hung up, yet again. I kept asking myself why he would say that ...

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Stolen: A cop ‘car’naama

This year Iqbal Day fell on a Friday and the entire country had a day off, excluding the ever-privileged car thieves in Karachi. I went to offer Jumma prayers with my father in my old, beloved car. When I left the mosque feeling elated after the long, long prayers, little did I know what was in store for me. When I didn’t see the car where I had parked it, it occurred to me that something had probably gone very – very wrong. My car was gone! Could someone have stolen it? Who would steal a car as old as mine? Gosh! I hope ...

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I want to be part of the corruption brigade, don’t you?

As a Pakistani, I really want to be a part of the corruption brigade; after all, it is the biggest business in this country, right? Recurrent news about the level of corruption in Pakistan explains that in the past four years, people in power can easily pocket around Rs8.5 trillion!  This encourages me to focus on a single point agenda to pursue ─ how can I become corrupt? I guess majority of the Pakistani youth is also thinking along the same lines. Apparently, there is no need to think of another option because this one is the most convenient. Pursuing another career ...

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

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 ...

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Blasphemy in Lahore: They vandalised my school

On October 31, a young girl Maryam, clad in a shalwar kameez and headscarf, looked down from the roof of her house located across the Farooqi Girls High School in Lahore, as protesters vandalised the school where she studied in grade three. “We won’t be going to school for sometime Ami says,” she said to me, as the mob set fire to the school, where just a day earlier she had attended classes. Located in a densely-populated area near Kareem Park, the school had been providing education to girls up to grade 10, with most of its former students now ...

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Sexually harassed in Pakistan, with or without a hijab

I have spent two years in Boston, a city that comes close to Karachi in terms of being, what is called, a metropolis. It may not be as large or chaotic as Karachi, but the comparison qualifies for the purpose of this piece. While in Boston, I often found myself walking home from college at ungodly hours because I had to put in a lot of time studying at the library. In the time I spent there, I received around six or seven emails from the Boston University Police reporting crimes at or near the campus, much of them involving ...

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The Baldia Town factory fire was not pre-meditated murder!

Is it a crime that someone in Pakistan generates Rs2 billion in annual revenues? If this said person pays taxes worth Rs20 million per year, why is he implicated under section 302, which is premeditated murder, if his factory faces an accident? Is it fair that a person providing direct employment to 1,200 workers, translating into 1,200 families, whose factory suffers from an unanticipated fire, is sent to jail along with his gatekeeper, accountant and senior staff? Who benefits from the fact that the owners are in jail today? And what happens to the 900 workers who are depending on finances from ...

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Police encounter and my brush with death

Recently something bad happened to me and this completely changed my views about preferring to live in Pakistan. I had first-hand experience on what it feels like to know that your name might soon be added to the list of “missing persons” and this confirmed just how insecure one’s life and future is living in this state. While driving to a friend’s place (I was all by myself; no driver or friend with me) a policeman astride a bike suddenly blocked my way, followed by another making a ‘forced’ entry into my car. I was ordered to pull over and ...

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