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Voters' voices: Security

April 04, 2013


The last ten years have seen increased terrorist attacks in Pakistan. The police, army, social workers and even children have been targeted by militants.

What does security mean for those who are on the frontline? Be it a police officer protecting a minister, a rescue worker at the scene of a blast or a mother administering polio drops – how does it feel to know you could be a target?

Surprisingly, for some of these men and women, it is not the fear of their unpredictable lives that worries them most, it is their living conditions.

With the elections on the horizon, set out to explore what is it that the people really want. Are citizens ready for change? Or are they content with how things are? What is it that the 86 million registered voters of Pakistan seek from their representatives?

Part one of “Voters’ Voice” focuses on the security concerns of the people on the forefront.

Watch the videos below as part one of “Voters’ Voices – Security”.
The Ambulance Driver

Muhammad Saleem has been driving an ambulance for the last 30 years. As a young man, he witnessed Abdul Sattar Edhi rescue people from the Bismillah Manzil building rubble and was inspired to work for him.  He started off as a volunteer for the Edhi Foundation, soon learning first aid and taking a course on accident rescue work.

Three decades later, the job of working as an ambulance driver has not become any easier. There are days when this city of 18 million becomes a ghost town, as blood flows on the streets, Saleem drives his ambulance rescuing the wounded, an open target for ‘unknown men’ to shoot at. His ambulance often acts as a hearse for people of all ages and ethnicities. And when there is yet another bomb blast, it is men like him who are the first on the scene, vulnerable to secondary blasts and aftermaths of violence.

In this video, Saleem reflects on the life of an ambulance driver and the uncertainty that comes with it.

The Policeman

2011 and 2012 were the deadliest years for security personnel with more than 700 being killed in each year. Four months into this year and almost 200 security personnel have already been murdered.

At a recent Supreme Court hearing, the judges heard that the Karachi police was demoralised in combating criminal elements in the city. In fact, the many no-go areas of the city were becoming tougher for the police to get access to.

Despite the criticism security forces receive, with more than 5000 murdered in the last decade one must wonder what goes through the minds of those on the frontlines.

In the video below Police Constable Abid and Sub-Inspector Sarfaraz of the Sindh police explain what life is like for them and what they would like in the coming years.

The Polio Worker

Nasreen Anwar is not afraid of dying. A job is a job, and being a Lady Health Worker and polio vaccinator in Baldia Town, where three young women and one man were murdered for doing the same work, is no reason to quit.

In the last three to six months at least 15 anti-polio workers have been targeted and murdered by those who oppose the anti-polio campaign. This looming threat does not preoccupy Nasreen’s mind, instead she mostly looks forward to getting home in time to have dinner with her three children.

Watch the video to below to see what Nasreen’s life is like as a Lady Health and polio worker in Karachi.

Remember to log on next week for the views of the country’s women voters.