LAHORE – “Women work alongside men in the police force all over the world; why should this be any different in Pakistan?” questions Inspector Waseem Durrani, who is the chief law instructor in the Chung Police Training School. Inspector Durrani is of the view that in order to encourage democracy and gender sensitivity within society, more women must be integrated into the police force; whether it is traffic, operations or investigations. This democratic recruitment of more women and the resulting gender sensitivity will automatically reflect in the governance too, as police itself is a tool that helps govern, monitor and implement the laws of the country.
“We have a majority of women, who comprise 70 percent of the population. But this percentage of women is only represented by less than one percent in the police force. Besides, Pakistani police laws have several requirements that must be met regarding the arrest or detention of a woman, and also dealing with a woman who is a victim herself. In these cases, men are not allowed to handle women. But to do that, we do not have enough women in the police force,” says Durrani.
The only way, therefore, is to see that more women are inducted and trained in the police force.
Aliya Sethi, who is Gender Adviser to a project called the Gender Responsive Policing Project (GRPP) and who also works with the National Police Bureau (based in Islamabad), says that encouraging women police officers will bring a significant change in helping victims come to the police station to report crime; especially those suffering from domestic violence, and other forms of social violence, while for women it will be yet another place where they can be encouraged to make achievements. More than anything else, she says, democracy means representation of both sexes in every sector.
“Police is a major institution which reflects the state of democracy in a country. The role of women in this sector is integral to say the least. Recruiting more women will empower more women in the society,” she says. With the increasing need to counter terrorism on the streets, more male police officers are automatically needed in the field, while an option for women police officers (whom the society has not yet begun to appreciate on the roads) is that they join the investigation section.
At Chung Police Training School, there are training courses for advanced investigation along with several others especially aimed at those women who are in the police force already.
“Women hardly have a chance to perform,” says SP Nabeela Rana. “But the situation is definitely getting better now, especially in cities like Lahore, where the response is better. In other districts there is still a long way to go though, because there is a higher level of male chauvinism there among police officers,” she says.
Rana says that when women come out of their homes, they are more focused on their only chance to work. They aim for better and therefore perform better. But they hardly have powers, and they are rarely promoted or given any kind of motivation or reward concerning their services.
Women need to be integrated in all mainstream police stations instead of being cornered into one small powerless police station that does not even have the power to file FIRs. After their training courses, which have been started at Chung PTS, the graduating women are automatically given promotion resulting in better and a more trained performance, she says.
“Even now there are women police officers on patrol but they are usually discouraged because the public does not appreciate them, so they cannot exert their power, but slowly the society will change too,” she says.
Meanwhile, gender sensitive training and other training courses are not just restricted to women. “We train both female and male police officers at all levels,” says Inspector Durrani. “By helping the police build their image, we are also trying to show potential women applicants (and their families) that the police are not as bad as it seems. There are skill-oriented courses, which previously never took place, and so we are holding them too. The investigation courses are for five weeks, and we are going to start the second one now. We teach them forensics, which is integral to investigation. Crime scene observations are taught and forensic equipment, which though are important but does not overpower the need for approach, which we do not have even among most male police officers.”
But what about the ‘harassment’ within the police force itself? An attitude change is seriously required within the police force too, which is being working out by having training workshops regarding that too.
Durrani says that they have been holding attitude change courses for over a year now, focusing on gender sensitization for both male and females because even males can be victims sometimes by taking on more work load for instance, when their female counterpart can do the work too. Systems of procedures are also given, like dealing with women victims or even women criminals.
These training courses and the attempt to bring in more women and empower them, have also received negative response. “We have faced some resistance but only at an individual level, especially regarding religion,” says Inspector Durrani. “Most of them have religious objections to women in this position, for whom we have a session with Dr Hasan Khaki, a learned Islamic scholar, who proves to them that they are wrong. Meanwhile, others who are more educated have been genuinely surprised at learning new things,” he says.


  1. then what the hell policy makers are doing to meet this need and make it possible for women to join police force.

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