Thursday, 14 May 2009

Police run escort business in Pakistan - now that's diversification

It is not a laughing matter but I couldn't help laughing (laugh of desperation) reading reports coming from Lahore, Pakistan. Some administrative communication error lead couple of unsuspecting plain clothes female police officers to a house full of expecting customers. They were waiting for a pair of police prostitutes to arrive whom they had booked through a "madam" - a full time police officer who moonlights as head of a prostitution ring among the active police force.

Over the years it has been common knowledge that some Pakistani police officers have provided protection to brothels in return for share in their revenue and favours in kind. Their corruption, incompetence as professionals and moral degradation has always been a cause for concern but this is a new low for a police force that still runs on the policing practices established during the colonial era.

The photo in this blog post is how I have seen the police serving general public - in this case a political activist during a street protest. Police in Pakistan has been a ruthless tool of the state in all things unconstitutional and completely out of sync with public sentiments and opinions. Senseless subservience to political masters has always been considered to get such police officers lucrative (full of opportunity for making money through corruption) postings. I remember from my university days that police contingent on "security duty" outside the educational institutions were considered to be on punishment postings - you can't make much money from income-less students, can you! I believe the situation has not changed much since. Only difference is that majority of police are on a punishment posting now - that is of protecting the ruling political and administrative elite and their families - not much money to made there as well but abundant threat to life.

Back in 1947 father of Pakistani nation Muhammad Ali Jinnah set the agenda by stating that " first duty of a government is to maintain law and order so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the state." Over the last sixty years and with every passing day this is one thing that the government in Pakistan and its institutions especially the police department have singularly failed to deliver. Resorting to running brothels of its own with some officers practising prostitution - if dead could have heart attacks Jinnah would be having one in his grave now.

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