IGP Azad Kashmir Dr Sohail Habib Tajik and DIG Poonch Rashid Naeem Khan pose with the staff of AJK’s first female police station in Rawalakot on Monday. — Dawn
IGP Azad Kashmir Dr Sohail Habib Tajik and DIG Poonch Rashid Naeem Khan pose with the staff of AJK’s first female police station in Rawalakot on Monday. — Dawn

MUZAFFARABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s (AJK) first female-run police station opened in Rawalakot on Monday with an aim to build confidence of women seeking redressal of any kind of injustice or legal advice.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr Sohail Habib Tajik told Dawn that initially the station was provided with an 11-member team, led by Sub-Inspector Zahida Hanif as station house officer (SHO).

In response to a question, Mr Tajik said officials at the station would investigate complaints about harassment of women in workplaces or educational institutions, cyber stalking, child abuse, domestic issues mainly violence, civil issues including property disputes as well as cases in which females were the accused.

“As far as gender gap is concerned, Pakistan stands at 153rd position at the international level, with only three nations behind it. Establishment of women police stations is one step towards minimising that gap,” he said, adding that after Rawalakot, one station each would also be established in the remaining two divisional headquarters of Muzaffarabad and Mirpur.

He said even though AJK was comparatively a peaceful region, however recently an increase has been seen in incidents of crimes against women.

“These police stations will encourage women to speak and identify the patterns of crimes which they are usually hesitant to share with male officials,” he said, expressing hope that these stations will also become nerve centres for research on crimes against women.

Though the strength of policewomen in AJK is hardly 150 out of 8,000, the region saw appointment of its first female SHO in a male police station in October 2016. Then sub-inspector Shaista Hussain had held this position in Saddar Police Station Muzaffarabad for about 13 months. Currently, she is serving as chief law instructor (inspector) in Police Training School, Muzaffarabad.

Ms Jabeen Kausar, then inspector, who was abroad at that time was also appointed house officer in Hajira Police Station in Poonch, soon after her return home after two weeks. Ms Kausar was recently promoted as the first female DSP in AJK and is currently serving in Sudhnoti district as SDPO.

Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2021

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