Guardian angels: Officially, Sindh police martyrs go unrecognised

Families of some 250 policemen await their loved ones to be accorded official status of ‘Shaheed’.

Faraz Khan December 15, 2013
File photo of Sindh Police. PHOTO: AFP/FILE


March 20 of 2012 was 34-year-old Imran Akbar Baloch’s last day in this world. He was killed while he was on his way to visit his informers. While his family is proud that he embraced shahadat, there are days when they are compelled to rethink if the sacrifice was worth it. A year and a half has passed but the police department has still not officially put him in the category of  ‘Shaheed’. The family of Imran has yet to get the compensation money or other rights.

According to the rules, unless a policeman killed on duty is officially declared a martyr, his family does not get the promised compensation of Rs2 million, neither does a family member of his get a job in the police department, and they also do not get the deceased’s monthly salary regularly as they are supposed to.

Imran was not the only person of his family who sacrificed his life for the department. Some 29 years ago, his family faced a similar tragedy when Imran’s father Mohammad Akbar Baloch was shot dead.  Akbar was serving as head constable for the Excise police. “Both my father and my brother have yet to be declared ‘martyrs’ by the department,” said Imran’s brother Noor Nabi while talking to The Express Tribune. “Despite all this, I am still trying to be a cop in my brother’s replacement because it is almost like we have a blood relation with the police department.”

Pages of history when it comes to Pakistan’s police are full of sacrifices of the policemen who gave their lives for the sake of peace and public safety. Specially marked are the sacrifices of the angry metropolis called Karachi - policemen who laid down their lives in the line of duty. Recent years and increasing operations are seeing an increase in this human cost to the fight  against crime and militancy.

With around 150 personnel killed this year alone, all records of the killings of policemen in the past have been broken. Most of these policemen were killed in acts of targeted killings while there have been several incidents where police mobiles were attacked.

Big numbers

In 2011, a total of 53 policemen, including four sub-inspectors (SI), eight assistant sub-inspectors (ASI), 12 head constables (HC) and 29 police constables (PC) lost their lives in harness. Compared to this number, in 2012, the killings of policemen increased, with a total of 122 murders including one SP, three inspectors, 11 SI, 18 ASI, 18 HC and 71 PC. Since January to November this year, as many as 150 policemen including two DSPs, three inspectors, 15 SI, 17 ASI, 27 HC and 86 PC have so far been gunned down.

“250 policemen who lost their lives in Sindh between 2003 and 2013 have yet to be declared martyrs by the department. Of these, 180 were from Karachi,” a senior police official privy to the matter told The Express Tribune. “Most of them lost their lives in the last three years.”

A long wait and promises

The families of the martyrs are tired of visiting the Central Police Office and hearing excuses by the officials concerned to receive the compensation and other benefits.

On June 2013, two policemen, Iqbal Ahmed and Mohammad Amjad also lost their lives and another, Rana Amir, was wounded in Patel Para when deployments were made by the police high-ups for security before the funeral prayers of a political party’s workers who were gunned down in an act of target killing. As 250 others, their families are also still looking for the compensation by the department.

Ahmed’s wife was pregnant when he lost his life. She has given birth to a son recently. “We already had two daughters and my husband wished for a son,” narrated Tahira Perveen. “He always told me that he wants a son to join the police force when he retires. He didn’t know this would happen to him.” She said that despite completion of all the required documents, the police department still has to declare her husband a martyr. “His sacrifices for the police department are only waiting for a signature by the IGP in a letter declaring him a shaheed.”

The story of Amjad’s family is similar. “We are exhausted borrowing money from people including our relatives; people are also fed up loaning us money,” said Adil, the deceased’s son. “If they cannot give us compensation money or cannot give me a job, at least they should continue to give the salary of my father so that we can run our home.”

AIG Welfare Sindh Ahmed Jamalur Rehman said that the families will be compensated soon. “Government has released Rs270 million and we have demanded Rs130 million more,” he said. “We will compensate all the families before beginning of the next year.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2013.


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