A Ferozewala policewoman made headlines in Pakistan after being slapped by a lawyer in broad daylight after asking him to move his car from a no parking zone.
A victorious photo of her emerged soon after, taking the handcuffed perpetrator to court. However, things soon changed for the worse.
Delayed Justice, Or No Justice At All?
In a video message on Sunday, Faiza Nawaz stated, “I am lady constable Faiza and I am not hopeful of getting justice. Due to some officials of my department, the FIR was not done correctly. I am an educated lady. I hold a B.Ed degree and a Master’s in Political Science… I proudly joined the department and wanted to serve the public and especially the women seeking justice… I am feeling scared. I am worried about my respect and future. The lawyers are involved in my character assassination. I cannot face this powerful mafia. Where from should I seek justice?”. She further stated that she was fed up with the system and threatened to commit suicide.
She has demanded, Arif Alvi, President of Pakistan and Asif Saeed Khosa, Chief Justice of Pakistan – to take notice of the incident. “Is this the level of respect for women that anyone can slap her?” said asked.
How Safe Is The “Common” Woman In Pakistan
If someone wearing a uniform is easily neglected, and the heinous matter swiftly swept under the rug, how safe is the common woman in Pakistan?We talk about domestic violence and rape that doesn’t get reported. Maybe one of the reasons why is because people have lost hope of getting justice.
It’s common knowledge that the rich and influential get an all-access free pass in Pakistan. Cases like this only add to the nation’s despair. Faiza Nawaz was assaulted in broad daylight, in front of witnesses. Imagine, if she isn’t getting justice, what about the countless Pakistani women that are beaten to death behind closed doors?
What’s the use of the huqqoq-e-niswan bill and countless Aurat marches if we don’t get justice doled out promptly. These instances of male-initiated violence continue to perpetuate and threaten female agency in Pakistan. How much longer, till we say no more?!
Low Female Representation In The Pakistani Police Force
Women in the Pakistani police force make up less than 2% of the total. In Punjab as of 2017, there are 2,804 policewomen – 1.8% of the force.
SP Karachi, Erum Awan in an interview with Dawn had this to say.
“First, the girl’s family advises her not to join the profession, even if one dares to join the profession, she doesn’t encourage others to follow suit. That’s because even in this era, women personnel are not awarded key postings or regular policing jobs. They are always considered as a secondary part of the force in comparison to men”.
The negative perception of the police force, blatant sexism, and neglect of merit are some of the reasons why there’s a lack of interest among educated women to join the profession. With very little job growth or job security, why would someone even bother applying if they’re going to be ostracized?
If Not Now, Then When?
As more women are joining the workforce in Pakistan, let’s create safe spaces for them. That will only be possible if we question the patriarchy and demand justice for every woman that “falls from grace”.
You don’t have to be a woman to empathize with someone who is facing injustice. Tweet at the concerned departments until they take notice. Your words matter! If not now, then when?
We need to scrutinize ourselves ASAP. No matter how harsh or shameful, we need to acknowledge our roles in contributing to the problem and fix it. That is the only way we can move forward. We all have a voice, let’s decide to use it for things that ACTUALLY matter!