QUETTA: Pakistan's southwest Balochistan province on Wednesday launched its first female police station, in hopes of expanding women's access to justice in a region where they had been traditionally deprived of it.
Being Pakistan’s most impoverished province, Balochistan has some of the worst development indicators in the country and the lowest literacy rate — less than 27 percent among women. Cultural barriers have long prevented girls and women in the region from seeking police help on their own.
With the station run by 19 female police officers in Quetta, the provincial capital, officials hope women will be able to access all police services, and personally file complaints over all kinds of cases, including domestic violence and sexual abuse.
“Now our women can visit the first Women Smart Police Station anytime without any hesitation and they will be welcomed and treated well by the women police staff deployed inside the Women Police Station,” Balochistan Inspector General of Police Muhammad Tahir Raye told reporters while inaugurating the station.
“We have installed a modern digitalized system and trained the female police staff to keep connected the Women Police Station with other Police Station from across the province in order to receive complaints from every corner of Balochistan,” he said.
Station House Officer Zarghoona Tareen told Arab News the police center is a milestone for women in Balochistan.
“Following cultural and tribal barriers, women in Balochistan were barred from visiting police stations. But now we are able to provide them shelter under one roof and our staff would utilize all efforts to solve their problems immediately,” Tareen said.
Fiza Khuda Buksh, who has been posted as a friend-desk officer, said in the women-run station female officers will also be able to work more effectively.
“We are posted here to ensure quick action on complaints registered by women complainants across the province,” she said. “Now we will be more comfortable working with female staff members, under female police officers.”