Pakistan's women police fight criminals, militants and scorn
Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 01:43
Oct. 22 - Female police operating in a stronghold of the Taliban in Pakistan are fighting a grueling war for change. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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It is some of the most dangerous real estate in the world. -- north east Pakistan-- a Taliban strong hold.
It's not where you would expect find female police officers.
When Inspector Shazadi Gillani wanted to join the force she had to defy her father, forgo marriage and pay for her own basic training.
(SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) THE HIGHEST RANKING FEMALE POLICE OFFICER IN PAKISTAN'S MOST CONSERVATIVE KPK PROVINCE, SHAHZADI GILLANI, SAYING:
"As soon as I earned my Bachelor of Science, I told my father I wanted to join the police. I begged and pleaded and refused to eat anything for a whole week. Finally I was allowed to join the police."
Her father gave in--but with conditions. He said be brave. Marry your job. Bring a friend. So she recruited Rizwana Zafar, who had been brought up as a boy after becoming her frustrated father's ninth daughter.
(SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) POLICE WOMAN, RIZWANA ZAFAR, SAYING:
"As far as my clothes are concerned, I have never worn women's clothes till today. I have never put on lipstick, or worn bangles. And I have never ever cooked."
For close to two decades the two have battled bandits earthquakes and militants. The danger has been so great at times that they take turns sleeping.
But their biggest challenge is helping new female police recruits.
Many Pakistani women face domestic violence. Officials hope more abused women will report attacks. Although when they do complain the attacker is usually simply rebuked. Since tradition forbids women from speaking to make officers, its a battle being fought one female police recruit at a time.
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