KARACHI: Having fought a lifelong battle to receive an education and join the police force, the first woman cop from Pakistan’s impoverished Balochistan province now has one goal: to help other women stand up for their rights also.
Balochistan, Pakistan’s most impoverished province, has some of the worst development indicators in the country and the lowest literacy rate — only 24 percent among women. Parents are usually unwilling to invest in their daughters’ educations and there are few schools even for boys.
But Pari Gul Tareen fought against all odds and last month was appointed assistant superintendent of police in Quetta, the capital of the province. Her first task at her new post was to establish a special desk to encourage women to report abuse.
“Unless women come out and fight for their rights, no one is going to give them these rights,” she told Arab News in a telephone interview. “We are working on awareness programs with women to come and work with police in curtailing crime.”
“There equally lies a great responsibility for a female to play a constructive role as a contributing member of society,” she added. “Society is not so friendly to offer you space, so you have to create it for yourself.”
No doubt, few know struggle better than Tareen, the first person in her family to finish secondary school and go on to get a higher education.
She was fortunate, however, to find support from her family in her early years and later from her husband.
“(My) parents are so kind-hearted as they were convinced that I, unlike other girls, never aspired for shopping, clothes, or outings, and stuck to just one demand: of education,” Tareen said. “When kids had toys in their hands, I used to dream of books. When they showed off their new clothes, I had new books to show them in return.”
Tareen passed her matriculation exam in 2008, and in 2014 received a master’s degree from the National University of Modern Languages in Islamabad.
These achievements motivated Tareen to prepare for the Central Superior Services (SCC) examination despite pressure from the community over a woman pursuing higher education and seeking public office.
“My family was really happy after I passed CSS as they had been pushed to the wall by society,” Tareen said.
Soon, she joined the police force, the first woman in Balochistan to do so.
“I have always dreamt of being in uniform to serve my people,” she said, adding that while it was an honor to be the first woman cop in her home province, it was also a “matter of grave concern” that only now, in 2020, had a woman from Balochistan joined the provincial police force.
“It’s a challenging and tough job to work in a male-dominated society,” Tareen added, “but I believe in service delivery. Police is the name of commitment to the service of the people.”