With an estimated population of 23.5 million people, Karachi is Pakistan's most populated city and the third largest city in the world (by population within city limits), trailing Shanghai and Beijing. It boasts a very intimidating level of crime as the most dangerous mega-city with a murder rate of 12.3 per 100,00 residents. Needless to say, Syeda Ghazala, the new head of a police station in a Karachi suburb has her work cut out for her.
Her appointment as head is a clear move by Pakistani authorities to encourage more women to join the police force, which is currently training its first class of 44 female commandos. It reflects a continuing shift in the perception of women. Via AP:
"The mindset of people is changing gradually, and now they (have) started to consider women in leading roles. My husband opposed my decision to join the police force 20 years ago," said the 44-year-old mother of four. But by the time this job rolled around, he had come full circle and encouraged her to go for it. "It was a big challenge. I was a little bit hesitant to accept it."
While she did face some sexist naysayers, Ghazala says that most have been supportive of her new role.
Ghazala's new post is located in Clifton, an affluent suburb of Karachi, but it's not exactly a walk in the park. She still deals with a cocktail of crime that includes muggings, jihadist terrorism threats, and murder on a daily basis. It should be interesting to see how she fares—in a city as dense as Karachi with crime rates so high, it's certain that police practice a spectrum of involvement in crime and enforcement of the law, whether they simply turn a blind eye or are more actively complicit.
Still, Ghazala's new appointment remains groundbreaking: it's great to see an accomplished woman rewarded for her dedication and it's also great to see a movement towards more female representation.
Image via AP.