Home KP,Women Rights Lack of Women Police Officers Hinders Gender Representation in Bajaur District

Lack of Women Police Officers Hinders Gender Representation in Bajaur District

Despite the challenges, Bajaur police officials remain optimistic that this issue will be resolved.
by TNN Editor - 23 May, 2023 1640

Muhammad Bilal Yasir

Bajaur District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Since the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2018, the local police system has been extended to the merged districts, including Bajaur. However, despite the population consisting of nearly half women, the representation of women police officers remains strikingly low in the region.

According to the latest census, the merged districts, with a population of 5 million, are home to a significant number of women. Surprisingly, out of the 25,879 police officers deployed in the former tribal agencies and FR regions, only around 50 are female officers. Even more concerning, Bajaur Police, with its 2,800 officers, does not have a single local female officer. Instead, ten lady police constables have been recruited from other districts in the country.

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The integration of the local security forces, including Khasadars and Levies Force, into the police system under the Police Act 2019 aimed to strengthen law enforcement in the merged districts. However, there are still over 3,000 vacancies due to suspensions, duty-related deaths, and retirements stemming from neglect during the wave of terrorism.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police department reserves a 10% quota for women, which should ideally translate into approximately 3,000 women police officers in the merged districts. Sadly, the actual number falls significantly short, with only about 50 women officers serving in the region.

Speaking anonymously, an officer from Bajaur Police highlighted that regressive local customs and a lack of suitable housing facilities hinder the recruitment of women in the department. The appointment of women police officers is essential to effectively address women's issues and ensure their safety. However, Bajaur has yet to witness the appointment of a single local woman in the police force.

In an effort to address this gender imbalance, the police department announced plans to recruit 30 women police personnel in Bajaur. An advertisement was published in national newspapers, inviting applications for the post of constable, but no women applied. A subsequent advertisement was released after a six-month gap, but once again, no women came forward for the position.

Local tribal affairs expert Malik Shah Wali Khan Mamoond attributed the low recruitment of women to deeply rooted traditions that restrict women from working in male-dominated environments. Despite the hurried integration of FATA and the swift implementation of the police system, there remains hope that with time, acceptance will grow and local women will become an integral part of the Bajaur Police.

Young social activist Malik Usman acknowledged the cultural barriers preventing the deployment of women police officers in Bajaur. He also emphasized the lack of suitable accommodation for women officers, which often results in their transfer and disillusionment among the local populace, dissuading families from encouraging their daughters to join the police force.

Despite the challenges, Bajaur police officials remain optimistic that this issue will be resolved. They believe that through education and awareness campaigns, women will increasingly join the police and contribute to the development and progress of Bajaur.