They are already up to their eyeballs fighting terrorism, militancy, target killings and crime, but now the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa police are also bracing to bear the scorching heat throughout Ramazan.
“Performing duty for six to eight hours straight in this simmering heat while fasting is not an easy task,” said Abid, a traffic warden. “We are committed to protect the lives and property of the public.”
“We carry a gun that weighs 6kgs, wear a bullet-proof jacket that weighs 25kgs, and stand for hours in the sun— not just to feed our families, but to serve the nation,” said Abid, pointing out that a vendor may move his cart to the shade, but police officers do not even have that luxury.
“We would also like to have Iftari with our families like everyone else, but we have to break our fast on the streets with some water and dates.”
Due to their continuous exposure to the sun and smoke-emitting vehicles, traffic wardens are susceptible to catching many types of illnesses, such as skin and lung diseases or sunstroke. However, many of them insist that it is a hassle to keep their masks on at all times.
A traffic sub-inspector, Zulfiqar Ahmad, also told The Express Tribune that the strain of their duties multiplies significantly during Ramazan. All we can do when we feel thirsty is wash our faces, he added.
“When we go back to the police station or our homes after doing our duty for six or eight hours straight, we find that there is no electricity,” said Ahmad. “It seems like there is never any rest for us.”
Requesting anonymity, another police official revealed that there is a shortage of water, beds and other facilities at police stations. He claimed that helmets and bullet-proof jackets are of no use, as they reduce their agility and target killers shoot at very specific places anyway.
“We sacrifice our rest, and eventually our lives,” said the policeman, “but we still feel a lack of respect and acknowledgement from the public.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2014.
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