Stories about police

Being a nice guy

I was speeding away on my bike when I heard an agonised moan coming from a man, sprawled on the roadside. He was begging for help. I just couldn’t bring myself to drive away without stopping to see what had happened, because, let’s face it – I am Pakistani, and like all Pakistanis, I love a spectacle. I parked my bike close to the man and examined him. He was writhing in a pool of his own blood, twisting in agony. He had been hit badly and at this time of the night, I knew no one would come to ...

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Bring the Army to Karachi!

Recently issued statements by the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain and the subsequent debate on the floor of the National Assembly have brought forward a plethora of concerns for citizens of Karachi. The ruling party, Pakistan Peoples Party, instead of giving hope and a plan to stabilise the worsening law and order situation in the city, has started pointing towards the 30-year-old violent history of this beautiful port city. Instead of showing resolve to eliminate criminal elements, the information minister for Sindh government, Sharjeel Memon, accused the MQM of hatching a conspiracy alongside the Pakistan Army. Allegations are ...

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Sikandar wasn’t the real Blue Area villain, it was the media

Yesterday, an armed man entered Islamabad’s Red Zone with his wife and two kids. He opened fire on police and later, kept the forces occupied, demanding the overthrow of the current government and implementation of Islami Nizam (Shariah law) in Pakistan. Clearly, such behaviour cannot be a product of a sound mind. Cases of lunacy such as this are not a new phenomenon either. Considering the triviality of such incidents, we hardly get to see them making breaking news and headlines unless of course they involve exceptions such as the Heaven’s Gate cult by Marshall Applewhite or more recently the Dark Knight Rises shooting ...

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Charles Bennett: The one and only ‘gora’ cricket umpire in Pakistan!

“Howzat!” yells an energetic and enthusiastic young handicapped bowler, looking at an American umpire, at a friendly cricket match played at a local ground in Islamabad this summer. The American umpire turns down his caught-behind appeal and the bowler turns back to prepare to complete his eighth over of the Twenty20 match. “It was very close, good call by the umpire,” whispers a fellow batsman in the ear of his colleague in the dressing room. The friendly match ends and both players find themselves surprisingly seeking cricket tips from the American umpire. The man I’m talking about is Charles Bennett, known as “Chuck” among his fellow ...

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When the Okara police made a father and son rape each other

It was one of those foreboding nights; the power had gone out and I was sitting on the roof on my charpai. With the atmosphere already grim from stories of jinn possessions and cannibal witches, my cousin launched into a narrative about the increasing number of violent crimes in the area and the complete and utter ineffectiveness of the police, who seemed more and more interested in exacting bribes and satisfying their sadistic tendencies. As the discussion grew heated, I discovered the true extent of the latter. Police in our area had become notorious for brutalising their captives no matter what the crime or proof of ...

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DHA: The hub of ‘open-air’ prostitution in Karachi

It is said that prostitution is the oldest profession. While prostitution is itself a problem, ignorance of such taboos is a bigger problem. Since a few years, Khayaban-e-Shujaat in DHA, Phase 5, Karachi has gained a notorious reputation of being the hub of prostitution. The section of the Khayaban specific to this booming business extends between A-street and Khayaban-e-Tanzeem. Another operating area is at the intersection for the main Zamzama Boulevard. The female sex workers, their pimps, a multitude of auto rickshaws and an ever increasing clientele are a daily affair on this road. From dawn to dusk, the business is in ...

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Taxi driver shot dead by Rangers: Trained to kill or trained to protect?

Yesterday, Murad, a taxi driver, was shot dead in front of his four-year-old son by Ghulam Rasul, a Rangers soldier. Witness accounts suggest Murad was asked to stop his vehicle and as he reversed towards the Rangers, he was greeted with four bullets in the chest. Ghulam Rasul has been apprehended and four other Rangers have been suspended due to their involvement in the incident as of the publication of this post. Before we delve into debates about the army, morality, or the legality of this incident, let us take a moment to acknowledge the many human lives that will be ...

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Pakistan, where security and justice are only illusions

Public security measures taken in Islamabad are often regarded as anathema. A few years back, the police checkpoints and barricades around the city made our once-serene little town look more like a sister city for Baghdad than Ankara. Of course, recent rains temporarily made the capital resemble another one of its sister cities — Venice — but that’s a separate story. The checkpoints around town have fallen in number over the last couple of years, and especially since the new government came in, but the large barricades outside some offices, schools and embassies remain, despite the fact that most of these ...

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Horrors of 2007 in Swat: We need the Army

Yesterday I was reading The Express Tribune, when my eye caught an interesting statement made by the new elected chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). He was boldly talking about pulling out the Pakistan Army from the Swat. I will refrain from criticising any party directives or policies here; all I want to do is to provide a clearer picture of the situation in Swat, and let the people be the jury of such an action. I remember when the Pakistan Austrian Institute for Hotel and Tourism Management (PAITHOM) was targeted by the Taliban in the Swat valley in August 2007. This kind of Taliban was ...

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Zain Ghaffar: The lawyer who law could not save

The sweltering heat on May 21, 2013, was nauseating. This is when my senior Mr Shahid Ikram Siddiqui asked me and another colleague to sit in the court where his case was to be heard after the judges’ tea break. We entered the air-conditioned court room of the Lahore High Court and I took the seat on the extreme left corner, which would have a direct view of the counsels when proceedings would begin. I began to go through the case papers which Mr Siddiqui was to present that day. I was deeply engrossed when my colleague brought to my notice ...

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