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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pakistan Police: Thank You!

I missed Pakistan every single day while living overseas however, when I got here and had to deal with a few things - there were more frustrations than NOT!

I remember how vigorously I debated at the graduate schools against the general perception of non Pakistanis with respect to Pakistan. In the past few years, stereotyping Pakistan and Pakistanis is growing at a fast pace. But as I write this, I have to admit, I have been personally stereotyping my own folks; particularly certain people, certain professions and certain looks (and I am ashamed of it and I am sorry!).

We Pakistanis are very critical of Pakistan, more than anybody else, actually i think that we don't need enemies but we are our own enemy- isn't it. This is such a curse for Pakistan.

Anyhow, today, I stereotyped our very own police - Islamabad police. I called them to help me and while doing so, I knew that I will never get any help whatsoever and the turn of events showed that I was WRONG. Yup!

I woke up early in the morning and left home to take a walk which is a routine. A few houses from mine is a family who are a staunch Jamate Islami supporters and they are the organizers of many of the religious events in the neighborhood related to Eid e Qurban or Eid al Adha.or Eid - e- Miladub Nabi etc. They were quite active in front of my house and I didn't gave much thought to why they were there in the first place?

By the time I returned home, I saw a crowd of men getting off from Toyota Hilux trucks and as I was entering the gate (in a matter of minutes) I saw them crowding right in front of our house which is a designated green belt. They started cleaning up the area and the first thing that came to my mind was if this place is a qurbani venue. I asked them: "Are you going to do Qurbani here? If so, why? Moreover, why don't you do it in front of your houses? "One of the men replied: "well, we will do it only for one day  (jerk)" so I replied, "..of course there is no such rule in Islam to do Qurbani 365 days a year!" and then I came inside the house. I knew that it was useless to argue with them.  I was very stressed because the chosen area was very close to the houses (about 50 meters). Anyhow, these men did not stop and started hammering down the big nails/hooks to erect the tents.  Sacrificial animals were supposed to be kept there and later to slaughter them at the same spot (and why we slaughter in Islam: read the Sacrifice of  Abraham and Hajj).

I was so helpless and I knew that I'm NOT gonna get any support at all I picked up the phone. It dawned on me that all the phone inquiry numbers have been changed a couple of times since I left Pakistan. I put the receiver down and goggled the information at Pak- Telecom website. Once upon a time, the then telecom company in Pakistan (T&T) used to have the inquiry number: one-seven (17) for "any" telephone inquiry which they have changed now to 1217.  Anyhow, I called them and got the number of Golra Sharif Police Station of the Islamabad Police.

The time was already between 7:00 a.m to 8:00 a.m. My call was received by the duty officer of Islamabad Police at Golra. I started of by saying to him, "I called you but I know you will NOT help me (stereotyping) but still, I thought I should give it a try. " The policeman on duty, said: "I don't agree with you madam, we are here to serve the people 24 hours a day" and I said, "..then if this is the case would you please help? I want to file a complaint against a crowd of men from Jamat e Islami and the nearby mosque - is it O.K?  Do you want me to come to the police station and file a report or what?? I further said to him that I also know that when the police will see the people from mosque or religious parties or madrassas - they will quietly leave! On hearing this he said: "...No, we are with those who abide by law but we are not with those who abrogate it and that is "our only criteria".

I kept stereotyping our police but the officer kept his unprecedented cool and asked me if there is a  male member in my family  to whom he can talk to. (Here in Pakistan almost all issues are taken up at "man-to- man-talk" which I will not debate at this point. I have to make it clear that in Pakistan  we are not forbidden or restricted by law, at all to make a complain, to file a report etc. but it is always better that in situations where law enforcing agencies are involved or where police is involved then we are accompanied by a male member of the family. I told the officer that I don't want my entire family to involved in this issue. Can I NOT pursue  this on my own??? He told me that surely I can :-)

Long story short he said, "I'm going to send the Eagle Squad who will help you sort things out!"

One hour passed and nobody came, I called the Emergency Number for Police (in Pakistan) which is: one-five (15)... I asked them what is going on regarding my complain that I have filed earlier this morning? I have been waiting for over an hour and here the situation is changing every second! 15 police center told me that they will convey my message to the related Police Station and then finally my phone rang. It was ASI Javed and he said: "..we are here on your complain and we saw some people grazing the sheep and we made them go away", hmmmm?? sheep, grazing?? I said, " what's your location and by the way my complain was NOT about grazing of sheep?" Place he told me was not my area though not very far.

I gave them my address and told them how to get to my place. Eagle Squad also came in a Toyota Hilux with 5 policemen and then ranged my door bell. I opened the gate with a pounding heart and along with them was the organizer of the "qurbani". I requested them that  the tents should NOT be erected and NO slaughter should take place next to the house...it is a health hazard. I went on to say that in struggling to make God happy by just sacrificing an animal and completely ignoring the rest of the principles of Islam such as "Haqooq-ul- Ebad (rights and responsibilities of people towards other people)"does not seem like a balanced approach in this case. I insisted to reconsidering another location. I told them that we, the residents of this house, suffer for days and weeks to come. They are done with the Eid but for us - well, we can not even read Quran, or pray or sleep and even breathe. It is such a mess! For a whole month,  the smells do NOT go away - gosh!

Islamabad does NOT have any proper system of garbage collection and disposal. People throw trash here and there - where it feels comfortable. It is NOT an easy task to maintain cleanliness in the city. Anyhow, the police officials asked me to go inside and wait. They talked to the organizers and then an official knocked at my door and told me that the organizing committee will move the slaughtering venue to another place - which is still not very far but not really under the nose!

Since morning 15 trucks have arrived with sacrificial animals. The way these animals are handled is to be reviewed under the Islamic injunctions. It is very sick to witness all this and the way we are treating the sacrificial animals - God forbid. Islam clearly stipulates rules and regulations on every single detail for handling and treating these animals.

Anyhow, I want to say THANK YOU to Islamabad Police, Golra Police, One-Five (15) Emergency police and the Eagle Squad of Islamabad Police.

 I am very proud of you - the way you handled the entire situation and many thanks for busting the myth about police, YOU guys were very helpful and downright professional. I'm so happy  ;-)

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