If your husband is beating you, don't bother calling the cops… -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

If your husband is beating you, don’t bother calling the cops…

*But if you do, the policemen at the Pakistan Bazaar and Mithadar police stations are the only ones who are likely to follow the right procedure

KARACHI: Officers at 68 police stations in the city are under the impression that the police cannot intervene in cases of domestic violence, even if the victim comes to them with a complaint, Daily Times has learnt.

Out of the 85 police stations, officers at only two police stations outlined the correct procedure for action for a case of domestic violence. The telephone lines of the remaining 15 stations were either “temporarily disconnected” or no one was available to answer the phone.

Police stations in residential areas get an average of two cases per day, officers said. Some get as many as five, but no police station cited a number higher than five (most said they get around one or two cases per day).

“We get an average of three to five cases of domestic violence per day,” ASI Abrar, the officer-on-duty at the Preedy police station in Saddar, told Daily Times. “It is a matter for the civil courts and the police cannot interfere. If the victim wants, we file an FIR, and put the offender (usually the husband) in jail. We can’t put the wife in jail, because she can’t be kept in a men’s police station. So we issue a court notice to her. The next morning we present the husband in front of a civil magistrate. The court deals with the matter from then on.”

“We get such cases very rarely — about once a week, maybe,” ASI Gul Faraz, from the PIB Colony police station, said. “We send the victim off to the Edhi centre for medical treatment, after which they go home and deal with their lives. Domestic disputes and domestic violence are family matters and the police cannot interfere in such cases.”

While most incidents of domestic violence are not reported, some officers claimed that the number of cases decreased in Ramadan.

Officers at 66 other police stations related similar tales. ‘The police are not authorised to interfere in family matters such as domestic violence. People deal with such incidents on their own — it is a private matter,’ they maintained.

According to the law, however, if the victim comes to the police with a complaint about domestic violence, the police are supposed to take action, War Against Rape (WAR) Programme Coordinator, Sarah Zaman, said. “So for the police to intervene, it is essential that the victim come to them with a complaint, and once they do, the police are supposed to take action.”

Officers on duty at the Pakistan Bazaar police station and the Mithadar police station were the only ones who outlined the correct procedure, even though the number of cases of domestic violence reported at these stations is very low — around one or two per month. “Most cases go unreported. When a case is brought to us, we write up a report and send the victim off for a medico-legal (ML) examination,” ASI Ayub at the Pakistan Bazaar police station, and SE Abdul Khaliq at the Mithadar police station said. “If the ML examination shows signs of violence, we lodge an FIR, and send the case to our investigations department. If, however, the danger to the victim is too great, we lodge and FIR and send the case for investigations without waiting for a medico-legal examination. After investigations, the case goes to the family court, and the judge there decides the course of action to be taken next.”
Source: Daily Times
Date:9/17/2007