Police-walli Spy | FEMINISTANIAT

May 2015

Unlike the army, which has carefully and successfully made itself indispensable in the imagination of the Pakistani middle class, the Pakistani police, which until 13 years ago was being governed by a colonial act from 1861, is widely seen as the corrupt strong arm of the elite. So unlike the induction of women into the Pakistan military, the induction of women into the police is not just for boosting the morale of liberal pro-war middle class supporters of the ‘tough-as-nails group of gals’ and their American friends.

Elite inspecting its strongarm.

Elite inspecting its strongarm

[On a side note: the middle class public is super concerned that the women police don’t have matchy matchy joggers, so can the authorities please look into that? (Gawd.)]

Concerned Citizen 1

Concerned Citizen 1

Concerned Citizen 2

Concerned Citizen 2

The Non-matchymatchy Joggers

The Non-matchymatchy Joggers

I looked into this whole women in the police thing, and it turns out that, wait for it, it is the… US State Department which is funding it. Why? You ask. To increase state surveillance of our communities of course. It turns out that research (anecdotes from NATO troops) shows that rural and working class women are idiots (not my words) and therefore can be easily turned into informants for the security apparatuses.

This research argues for using women both as citizen informants and as agents in the police and military because women have ‘unique observations’, ‘unique roles in the community and family’ because of which ‘women often know about people and events… Because of women’s simultaneous presence in the public and private spheres, they can observe locations of weapons caches and have explicit knowledge about individuals within armed groups and the placement of hidden explosives.’ But because extracting this information can endanger women, they ‘should therefore not be asked to directly provide military intelligence. Best practices focus on using effective engagement activities to cultivate trusting relationships with women.’

In an article for Foreign Policy magazine, Huma Chughtai and Allison Peters argue for more women in the police because:

‘As counterinsurgency and counterterrorism research has shown, police operations are often more effective at combating terrorism than military force. And policewomen often have greater access than their male counterparts they can treat female victims, enter private homes where females are present to record crimes or secure evidence, search female insurgents at checkpoints, and may be the first to see behavioral changes that signal growing militancy in family members, both male and female. With their social influence, policewomen can also disengage neighbors from violence and build trust between communities and law enforcement.’

Now, I’m no security and intelligence expert, but this is what all this sounds like to me:

  • Women have eyesight like everyone else,
  • Women have eyesight inside the house,
  • Men police cannot enter houses and talk to women because of purdah so we need some lady polices to do that,
  • Women can be duped into ‘trusting relationships’ with police women (because girls, you know, they just wanna have fun and pillow fights)

Am I sounding too harsh? To confirm my doubts, I asked Huma Chughtai, a gender consultant who works with Paiman Trust and the State Department on this women police thing, what the rationale was behind inducting more women in the police and this is what she said:

‘Women, humara dimagh thora kharab hota hai, [Women, we do not always think logically or our brains do not work]. We instantly become friendly with other women and tell each other everything without even knowing each other. They [women] go on face value. They don’t think about intentions [of the woman they’re speaking to], where they work, what region they’re from, whether she’s even Pakistani or not. Taking advantage of that, women police can create vigilance. They have access to homes when men are not around. They reach out to them about what’s happening [in the community]. They gather information.’

So given that rural and working class women are idiots, we should send policewomen in non-matchymatchy joggers to get them to snitch on their husbands, brothers, sons and neighbours because they will trust the historically corrupt, arm of the elite over their loved ones.  What’s truly hilarious about all this is that the techniques to increase state surveillance of our communities are being couched as women’s empowerment by upper-class women who have nothing but contempt for working class women.

One Response to Police-walli Spy | FEMINISTANIAT

  1. ThanksForTheCancer on Jan 2017 at 7:40 AM

    This article gave me cancer

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