Stories about police

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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Why Karachi police fails to convict its criminals

Karachi is at siege by an array of criminals such as the Taliban and from splinter groups with political support. Over 2,200 people were victims of homicide in the city last year – the highest number in nearly two decades. Yet relatively only a few of those killings were successfully investigated and prosecuted. Ali Sher Jakhrani, a legal advisor to the police, says that over the last few years, about 23% of murder investigations led to a conviction.  A 2011 report by Pakistan’s Human Right Commission put the number as low as 10%. The upsurge of violence in the city has led ...

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Why do pickpockets go scot-free?

Embarking on an assignment to investigate a crime, I became the victim of a pickpocket. These days, the twin cities are in the grip of this age-old social evil plaguing our society, especially the poor vulnerable class using public transport. Though I have had the experience of falling victim to pickpockets many a times, this time it was coupled with embarrassment. More often than not, it is old men, women, pensioners, careless youth and the salaried passengers who become the target of the expert pickpockets. The last time, they had taken away all the cash I had on me, my cell ...

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The young criminals of underprivileged Karachi

It has been seven years since I’ve been running an educational institute for women and children in Baldia Town, Karachi. I’ve studied the people carefully and my basic aim is to spread general awareness amongst the underprivileged residents of this area. During my experience, I learnt that the rate of crime in most of these areas is higher as compared to the rest of Karachi. Many young boys, ranging in age from 12 to 18 years, are trained to leak secret information that could be helpful in executing crimes. These boys usually drop out of school after the eighth standard, and ...

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