Sindh has constantly been on the frontline of the long-drawn battle between anti-state forces, including target killers and various terrorist groups. Particularly, in the provincial capital and the country’s financial hub of 20 million residents, Karachi, the number of fallen policemen is multifold compared with other provinces. In 2014, approximately 130 policemen were killed in various incidents of violence. While heated living room debates on the topic can leave one with a confused opinion about the role of our police force, there is no disagreement that the bereavement of the families of fallen policemen is no different from that of the families of martyred soldiers and civilians.
Former president Asif Ali Zardari’s recommendation for increased payout to the families of fallen policemen and the call for a police welfare organisation is welcome in this regard. Given the current climate policemen are targeted frequently, and considering that these men are often the primary breadwinners of their families, the aforementioned initiatives are much needed. Mr Zardari has also recommended free university education for the children of fallen policemen — allowing hope for a brighter future of opportunity for the children and widowed spouses. Karachi’s police, although regularly under criticism due to allegations of corruption and incompetence, also deserve credit for trying to combat violence and terror, usually with limited resources . Many within the police ranks join the police force with the best of intentions to protect people and uphold their rights, even if at the cost of their own lives. Therefore, those who sacrifice their lives in the line of duty must be recognised for their honour and bravery and one of the ways of showing that is through support for their families. As they constantly fight battles day and night, it is our hope that the Sindh government promptly devises a revised insurance policy for these families so that they can live comfortably even after the unfortunate incident of losing a husband, father or son.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 19th, 2015.