Islamabad, July 29 : The scheme to set up women-only police stations in Pakistan seems to have fallen flat, as the first police station inaugurated by late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in Islamabad, on January 25, 1994, today stands shut down for lack of proper trained female staff to run it.
After 14 years, the City Police formally ordered the women-only police station last October to stop registering cases. By October 31, 2007, when the police station closed its register, it had registered a total 69 cases in the year.
According to the Dawn, like many other social schemes, this too was launched just to carry out an "order", without proper ground work. Neither any legislation nor a Standard Operating System was framed regarding the jurisdiction and work of the police stations, added the paper.
Women police stations were supposed to provide the persecuted women in Pakistan's conservative, male-dominated society, a safe way to report their grievances to police. That such stations were needed was widely agreed as woman victims feel uncomfortable discussing rape and other abuses with male police. It also opened a window for women discriminated against in education, employment and legal rights.
But, the good scheme fell flat as no female police personnel were trained for the professional tasks. A woman sub-inspector of police had to be appointed SHO of the symbolic police station opened in Islamabad when the rules required an officer of the rank of inspector or above in the post.
Similarly, only a police officer of the rank of inspector can investigate the complaints and cases filed with the police. Since no female officer of that rank existed, all the cases filed with the Islamabad women police station were investigated by male police officers, defeating the very purpose of setting up women police stations.
About 140 policewomen are still on the city police rolls - 33 serving in operations department, 12 in traffic department and the remaining in the diplomatic missions' protection wing. Their deployment at places frequented by VIPs and foreigners suggests they are there to project a "modern" image of Pakistan.