*Jav requests all of u 2 discuss this...plz dont just thank Farhana Aunty....lets talk abt this and share our opinions on this matter*
Women in uniform
By Huma Khawar
Poet Jamiluddin Aali needs to make additions in his poem, Hum maien, Hum behenain, Hum betian, qoumoon ki izzat hum sey hai, (We, mothers, sister, daughters, are the pride of a nation). This is because their role has been enhanced as they are now the custodians of law as well. Passing by a signal at a busy Islamabad roundabout, you can't help looking twice at the police officer controlling the traffic. Not because he might stop you, but because clad in alight blue shirt, a navy trouser, head covered by a cap, wearing white gloves is a woman traffic police officer that all drivers, male or female are taking instructions from.
This breath of fresh air is part of the initiative to enforce gender mainstreaming and make the Islamabad Traffic Police a model. A squad of ten police women has joined the traffic police after completing their training from the Motorway Police. In the process, 50 police women of various ranks will join their male colleagues as various intersections in the city to regulate the traffic.
"Working to end gender inequality, we have entered into this experimental phase that will enable women police to play an active role and be at par with their male colleagues," IG Police Iftikhar Ahmed pointed out. The women force will regulate the traffic during peak hours at major intersections and in front of the academic institutions as the drivers at these places are mostly women, picking and dropping their children. "It is a difficult job but definitely we would meet the challenge," he added, prepared for any shortcoming in the process.
"Women are honest, hardworking and dedicated. They are enforcing laws all over the world, so why not here," Sultan Azam Temuri, SP Traffic justified. This, coming from a male and a police officer, is a pleasantly surprising quote. Also at a point of time when the president of the country is the focus of the global media, and is denying his statements.
Special training in driving has been given to these women for patrolling and chasing the motorists violating laws. They would patrol in Honda VTI cars and not motorbikes. The process of induction of police women in to the traffic department will take three months as the women are presently undergoing training, SP Temuri informed.
Another initiative of the capital police is the launch of Traffic Helpline 915, under which police officials will be available 24 hours to assist and facilitate callers and help people facing any kind of problem on the road. "The Help Line will also have an Information centre and a mechanism for complaints and feedback. The complaint centre will register people's grievances and complaints against traffic police personnel or operators of public service vehicles, overloading, and misbehaviour or even overcharging," SP Temuri explained. Officers in the field from the nearest spot will try to appear within a few minutes to attend to the problem. In addition to this, the police department is in the process of coordinating with FM radio stations to update the drivers on the road for any kinds of traffic jam, accident or diversion routes around Islamabad.
As the history goes, former SSP Nasir Khan Durrani thought it very unfortunate, that despite all its work, Police force has not been able to rectify a negative public image. He believed that "like any public or private sector institute, police also has criteria, which is client satisfaction." To address the issue, training on self-awareness communication skills, power, stress management, tolerance and sensitization to gender and violence against women and children was provided to a batch of police men and women officers.
The general public views police as totally incompetent and unprofessional. "Our policemen," SSP Durrani said, "come from rural areas, where the background is feudal. The feudal mind set has nothing to do with land. It is a culture, an attitude in which you establish your greatness by humiliation of others. This police officer, when in authority, feels like a feudal. He gets into this macho culture and behaves in this way. Same goes for his view point about women, whom he treats like a property," he justified.
Police is one of the key institutes of society, daily in touch with people. Low interpersonal skills and insensitive attitudes mar not only the quality of work but also the credibility of the police in eyes of the public. Gender sensitization enables one to understand the potential of 50 percent of the population. Mainstreaming women in the police can lead to decrease in abuse of power and violence against women and children, paving the way for a more humane society. But society, on the whole, will also have to play its role, which will have its impact of good governance on the country.