Stories about police

Where criminals are secure, and innocents die

Once lucky, twice confident, thrice dead, goes the saying, and more often than not, it does play out that way. Unfortunately, as far as Rana Sarwat is concerned, somebody else did the dying. The convicted kidnapper and under-trial murder accused managed to evade death for the third time in the face of James Bond/Ethan Hunt-inspired assassins, only for two innocent women, the mother and sister of the cabinet secretary, to lose their lives in a hail of gunfire as a pair of gunmen entered the supposedly secure VIP ward of Pims and managed to leave after the incident without any ...

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The misunderstood orphan

In Pakistan you don’t need money. You don’t need good looks. You certainly don’t need to work. You just need one phrase. That’s it just one. One phrase and all doors are majestically and mysteriously opened with the meanest, vilest and most dangerous of men succumbing in fear to your presence. For any would-be travelers to Pakistan (this is a rhetorical scenario) I can let you in on the secret. All you need to say is:  Tumhay pata hai mera baap kon hai? (Do you know who my father is?). There is nothing you can do in Pakistan without this phrase. You want ...

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Kharotabad doctor: Brutality for bravery

The murder of Dr Syed Baqir Shah last week probably won’t resonate as loudly as some others in recent memory. He wasn’t a politician, a victim of a trigger-happy American, or an icon for global jihad. He was just a doctor. A police surgeon committed to speak the truth regardless of the consequences. And that’s precisely what makes Dr Shah’s death all the more tragic. Last year, Dr Shah had given steadfast evidence to the effect that the death of five Chechens in Kharotabad in May was caused by bullet wounds fired by the police and Frontier Constabulary (FC). He said that ...

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We are left to fend for ourselves

The killing of a doctor, as he drove on a busy Karachi road, last week, right before his wife, must have sent a shockwaves through many city residents. Dr Saleem Kharal, head of the microbiology department at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, had reportedly stopped his car at a traffic signal of a very busy road close to Karachi’s Clifton area. Most reports into this tragic incident say that two young men on a motorcycle came up to the doctor’s side of the car and took out pistols and wanted to steal his car. They also say that he offered ...

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The fast and the furious donkeys

“My donkey is better than any horse,” exclaimed Ghulam Mohammad, also known as Jami, after he crossed the finish line on his donkey cart. Jami earns his living transporting goods in Karachi. The donkey-cart racing is not just a way of entertainment for him, letting loose after a week of hard-earned labour. It’s also a means of easy money — a win earning him anything from Rs 3,000 to Rs 40,000. Living by his four rules to success after participating in over 60 races, the 28-year-old – with a special bond with his donkey – loves the last race the most. “A ...

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Where is the merit Shahbaz Sharif?

Transfers and postings in the civil and police administration on merit is considered a hallmark of good governance. This, quite simply, means posting a suitable and competent officer to a place which demands that such an individual be in charge of a particular responsibility. Unfortunately with the passage of time, merit in transfers and postings in civil and police administration in Punjab has become a bit of a joke and an exercise in futility. Most postings and transfers are based on personal likes and dislikes of senior functionaries. Even the officers of the provincial management service (PMS) are being treated as ...

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Some security should trump freedom

For a long time after 9/11, the US was faced with the question: how much should it be willing to sacrifice its liberty to keep its citizens safe? The US Patriot Act was signed into law rather hastily, riding on the fear that America was under threat and drastic measures were needed to counter it. There was invasion of privacy, arrests were made on suspicion alone and let’s not even discuss Guantanamo Bay. Law enforcement agencies were criticised, abused and, in some cases justifiably so, after incidents of torture and misuse of authority became common. In Pakistan, all of this happens ...

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Raped on Christmas

 A 12-year-old Christian girl was gang raped repeatedly, forced to convert to Islam and was then married to one of her attackers in Lahore. I got to know about this case a few days ago, and since then, I have not been able to overcome feelings of disgust and sorrow. I have been unable to sleep. An FIR was filed against unknown people on January 5, 2011 – FIR No 18/11, to the Factory Area Police Station, district Shaikhupura, Lahore. When I called the concerned police station to make inquiries the sub-inspector was hesitant to talk about the incident. However, when I strictly asked him ...

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Should I light a candle or curse the darkness?

This weekend had me pondering over the mugging I faced recently while returning from office in one of Karachi’s most secure areas. It was truly an unnerving experience. It is not an uncommon occurrence to be mugged just opposite two well-guarded hotels of Karachi, in the presence of a couple of Rangers mobiles just a stone’s throw away, and the police too standing nearby –  after all it is Karachi meri jaan. However, I was bewildered by the shocking response I got from the security personnel around me just seconds after the incident. A Rangers officer said: “I’m on official duty and can’t ...

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13 tips to avoid being robbed in traffic jams

The crime rate in our cities has steadily increased and after the rains, criminals have found yet another way to rob people. Thanks to the ineptitude of the police, thieves have found easy targets in motorists caught in traffic jams while they are stuck on the road due to knee deep water. On September 6 it rained heavily in Karachi and numerous people were robbed while they were stuck in traffic jams, trying to return home from work. The situation swiftly got more dangerous when the street lights went off. Criminals have an in-depth understanding of the locations in cities where motorists will be at ...

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