This is the third of three stories told by Pakistani women impacted by the UK Government funded Aitebaar program.
“My name is Fatima* and I am an Assistant Sub-Inspector. I have been deputed from the Women Police Station (Secretariat, CPO Headquarter), the only female police station in Peshawar (with a total of 115 police women), to serve as the female officer in charge at the Faqirabad Police Station’s female cell at the model police unit.”
“My induction in the police force was a fluke. A friend informed me about recruitments in the police and I applied. I cleared the test and then was interviewed, after which I was inducted as a constable. I completed a nine month training course for constables in Hangu. I became a probation officer in 2011, after clearing its requisite test and interview.”
“My husband has been supportive. My parents have also been very supportive and encouraging. I have also been guided and supported by my male colleagues, who have assisted me throughout my short career.”
“My primary responsibility at the model unit includes being the point of contact for female complaints. I listen to female complaints, lodge problems and take appropriate action after consultation with my male colleagues. Most problems are trivial in nature and involve domestic issues, fights between spouses and other matters. Such problems are easily resolved.”
“Other more serious problems are dealt with differently.”
“Last week we received a complaint regarding a woman who was kidnapped from her home. That was the first serious case I have received. Our female police officers were closely involved at the initial stages of the search operation as well, as they assisted the investigation staff.”
“Luckily the girl was recovered in Nowshera (a considerable distance from here) owing to the alerts we dispatched. She was then handed over to her parents.”
“It is an honour for me to be a female police officer in Peshawar. This field has never had too many women, and the female to male ratio is still low. Society, however, has slowly begun to accept our (female policewomen’s) presence. A major reason for this, I believe, is that now more and more women are being inducted in different professions. In this day and age, even in a traditionally male dominated society like Peshawar, women are becoming doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers, businesswomen and even joining the police force. Things are beginning to change. They are breaking the mould and stepping out of their traditional roles. They are now making their presence felt in society. I have seen that even society begins to accept women who are dedicated in their professions, and they also begin to assist them.”
“I feel more females should be inducted in the police force. Female police officers can also contribute effectively in the war on terror. Trainings on bomb disposal are essential and I feel all female police officers like myself should be taught about improvised explosive devices and their various components so we can spot dubious materials and persons based on that knowledge.”
“I feel Aitebaar’s initiative [forming female complaint units in model police stations] is commendable. Women are more comfortable sharing their grievances with women instead of men. This initiative will allow many more women – women who are otherwise hesitant - to come forward and demand justice.”
The Aitebaar programme works to build citizens’ trust in the state and to bring stability to Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The program is supporting communities and individuals throughout their interaction with the criminal justice process - the police, prosecutions, courts, jirgas, and correctional services. Aitebaar is helping to increase people’s knowledge and awareness of rights and to improve public service delivery within the security and justice sectors. It is also working to ensure that women too have better access to quality justice and security services.
Aitebaar is a UK government program. It is being implemented by Coffey. Learn more about Aitebaar at www.Aitebaar.org.
* Names have been changed.