Stories about police

The comparative disadvantage of poll violence

Pundits have long predicted a blood-stained run-up to election day. So far, candidates recovering from a gruelling scrutiny process and an equally tiresome ticket awarding process, kept electioneering to a minimum. But as we enter the last few weeks of campaigning, the need for public canvassing is forcing candidates to take to the streets. As aspirants reach out to their constituents, they are exposing themselves to a clear and present danger — the threat to their lives. This threat, posed by terrorist elements bent upon derailing elections, is particularly significant for those who belong to districts with a deteriorating security situation, ...

Read Full Post

Only in Pakistan!

As a comedian, especially if your style is based on observational humour, it’s important to have an eye for detail, as it meanders around the most trivial and insignificant aspects of everyday life. After spending almost three decades of my life in Pakistan, and seeing the society very up-close, I have come to the conclusion that amidst the swelling cacophony of the rising disorder that has befallen upon us, there still is a lot of humour embedded in many things that we may tend to ignore. So here’s a list of things we say/do that defines our behaviour individually or at ...

Read Full Post

While Karachi was shutting down, I learned a harsh lesson

I was on a bus going back home, when the bus was stopped near Mausamyaat Gulistan-e-Jauhar area and we were asked to step out of the bus due to the protest going on in the city. It was March 6, 2013; the time was 2:00pm. Though part of the public transport system, I expected that the bus drivers and conductors would show some responsibility on their own behalf, but the bus driver asked everyone to get out of the bus the moment he saw flames and heard firing heading his way. I can’t blame him though; in times like today people ...

Read Full Post

I am a victim of the infamous Black Prado: Here is my story

They followed me. They stopped my car.    Is this the Prado incident everyone is talking about? It was past midnight on a cold November night in 2012. I was returning home when my car crossed main Ittehad and went straight into Phase VIII, some 20 meters away from the first newly placed barrier. It was then that a policeman stopped our car, flashing his torch incessantly at the driver’s window. Being a woman, I did not expect to be stopped and I thought the minute the cop realised that I was in the car, he would gesture for us to go ahead. Strangely, this did not ...

Read Full Post

No sympathy for men

Picture this headline, “Married woman doused with acid by ex-boyfriend”. Now think, what would follow that little news item? TV cameras and reporters would surround the victim, while NGO personnel, politicians, and every self-proclaimed human rights activist in town would be running to the cameras to show how evil the incident was and wail over the state of our society and the state of human rights. When it came to light that the police never collected physical evidence and never properly recorded the co-accused’s statements, thus eliminating any chance of a conviction, everyone would have a field day screaming about the fact ...

Read Full Post

Apparently ‘Pakistani’ in French means ‘terrorist’

I experienced it again yesterday; I re-lived what it feels like to be accused – accused when you don’t even know why you are being charged. Again, I lived through the humiliation of someone pointing his finger at me and saying,  “Hey you… You look like a terrorist.” The temperature in Lille was cold; six degrees below the freezing point, to be exact. The behaviour of the four men around me was colder. I had noticed them the moment I had gotten off the train that had brought me back to Lille from Paris. I thought that I was being over imaginative ...

Read Full Post

Police powers to FC in Balochistan: A futile measure

In Balochistan, the police are currently enjoying additional powers under the Police Act of the British colonial days to raid, arrest, detain and prosecute anyone found violating the laws of the land. The police enjoy the power to search any suspected place where criminals are hiding illegal weapons, narcotics and other contraband goods. When violent incidents increased in the province, mainly through the targeted killing of Hazara Shias by terrorists in Quetta and its outskirts, the provincial government gave police powers to the Frontier Corps (FC) to raid, arrest, detain and question suspects involved in targeted killings and other heinous ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post