RAWALPINDI: A women’s police station set up in Rawalpindi in 1994 has deteriorated to the extent of becoming almost irrelevant.
The government of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto had established the police station back then with a vision of facilitating women complainants. However, from 60 cases registered in 1994, they have come down to 11 so far this year. Most of these are related to petty domestic scuffles.
In 2008, three cases were filed and only one in 2006. The state of the police station is such that there is no inspector, or official vehicles, according to female officials at the station who spoke on condition of anonymity.
There is also no dining area and the staff has to arrange for drinking water themselves, they said. Currently, the station consists of a sub-inspector posted as Station House Officer (SHO), as well as two assistant sub-inspectors (ASIs), two head constables and 72 constables. All of these officials are female.
Many in the police force believe that a women’s police station cannot function independently. The number of cases filed at the station gradually decreased as soon as the PPP government ended.
The staff had to ultimately seek help of male police officers and at times, the police station was used as a women’s lockup. “When cases are reported, female officers face problems because there are no official vehicles to transport them to the crime scene,” an official complained. Another police officer told The Express Tribune that the main reason for the decrease in the number of cases filed every year was that a ‘compromise’ was usually reached between the two parties involved.
Rao Muhammad Iqbal, CPO Rawalpindi, said that previously women could only register cases at the women police station but now a woman can register her case at any police station. This could be the reason for the decline in the number of cases filed, he said. He maintained that there was no issue of lack of basic facilities at the station, like unavailability of drinking water.
“It is possible that sometimes there is a shortage of water,” he added. The Motor Transport Section has orders to provide official transport to officials of the women police station whenever needed, he said.