Every day, Nazar Muhammad, a down-to-earth police inspector, rides his bicycle for almost 30 minutes to work from his residence in Quetta's Nawan Killi area. Recently, he came into the limelight when photos of him riding his bicycle went viral on social media. People hailed his simplicity and honesty.
In a country where policing is a notorious profession, Muhammad takes the lead in challenging the established practices and perceptions.
"I cannot even afford a motorcycle because it requires fuel, which is too expensive," Muhammad said.
He lives in a rented house with his sister in one of the marginalised suburbs in Quetta. His monthly house rent is Rs10,000. He has three sons and one daughter. Two of the sons are government employees.
Currently, Muhammad has been serving as inspector in the Balochistan Constabulary, a reserved force of the police department. He joined the police force in 1974 as a constable and was promoted to an inspector position in 2006. Back in the day, his salary was a mere Rs120 but now his income corresponds to the rank he holds today.
Muhammad does have an official vehicle at his disposal but he only uses it when he is on duty.
He refuses to use any police vehicle for personal or family use, even if the majority of public servants in Quetta use official vehicles for out-of-office purposes, whether that be for their families, relatives or political supporters.
Every evening, it is common to see luxurious vehicles with government number plates at the Bacha Khan Chowk and in other parts of the city.
Muhammad has a different view.
“Pakistan is a poor country and we should use our government perks responsibly,” Muhammad asserts.
Muhammad will retire from service within the next year. “He is a very honest and committed officer,” a senior officer in Balochistan Constabulary reiterates. Adding that Muhammad sticks to his own business at work and has no time for superfluousness.
Unfortunately, there is a lack of dedicated and honest police officers in Quetta and other parts of the country.
Today, even low-ranking government employees commute in luxury vehicles.
Gone are the days when police officials would be as self-effacing like Muhammad. Only ruthless accountability can ensure better behaviour.
Nazar Muhammad began his career as a constable on a bicycle. He will end his career in the same manner as well. For him, honesty will always be above materialism.
Photo credit: Asmatullah Khan Kakar