Former sex workers of Sukkur city, who are now trying to lead respectable lives in Qasimabad market held a press conference on Friday at the press club against the behaviour of the police.
The women, around 15 of them, used to work in Qasimabad’s red-light area about more than a decade ago.
But since the business went down and the red-light activities moved to other areas, these women stayed here and have been trying to lead respectable lives.
On Friday, they were angry at the police for raiding their homes and misbehaving with them. On Thursday, the SHO of A Section police station raided the houses in Qasimabad with a contingent and beat up the women and children living there.
They alleged that SHO Mushtaq Shah and other policemen raided their houses on Thursday afternoon when they were preparing lunch.
“The police never raised a finger on us when we lived sinfully,” alleged Noor Jehan, Nagina, Samina, Nasreen, Nargis and others. “Now when we want to lead a respectable life they raid our houses and throw away our belongings. They even threw away out food and water coolers on the road.”
Noor Jehan, who has been living in the market for the last 45 years, said that in the glory days of Qasimabad’s red-light area, the police never bothered them. Most of the bazaar has shut down now and the shops are now owned by auto, motorcycle and rickshaw mechanics and showrooms.
Nargis, who has been living here for the last 30 years, has two daughters whom she wants to learn the Holy Quran by heart. Acording to her, the police raided her house while she was making lunch for the girls. “The police threw away the food,” she said. “They did not even allow my younger daughter to drink a glass of water and threw away the water cooler.”
She believed that the police want them to leave the area. But the people did not want ex sex workers living with them. They say, “They are women of bad character and will ruin entire locality”.
Since the red-light area has shut down, police and intelligence officials keep patrolling bazaar and harass people. The women demanded that the higher authorities of the police take notice of the high-handedness of Sukkur police and rid them of their atrocities so that they could live in peace.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2012.