A woman police officer made history in Pakistan by becoming the country’s first-ever additional Inspector General of Police.
In Pakistan’s conservative society, it is difficult for a woman to achieve a high rank in her profession. The police is particularly a male-dominant service. Therefore, the elevation of women police officers to a high rank in the police department is exceptional.
However, Helena Saeed made headlines in Pakistani press last week after authorities appointed her additional Inspector General (IG) of police, even though an official notification of her promotion is yet to be issued.
News of her promotion to the rank of additional IG spread across Pakistan. People took to the social media to send congratulatory messages on her promotion.
A lady Sahirah Rizwan tweeted: “Congratulations to Pakistani women Helena Saeed becomes the 1st ever Woman to B promoted as AIG Police (Bps-21) in the history of the Pakistan Police. Helena is from Baluchistan & is the highest ranking female officer of the PSP. Excellent. She is a motivation for our women”.
Pakistan Political Awareness Forum also sent out a message on Twittter congratulating Helena Saeed over her promotion. “Congratulations to Helena Saeed who becomes the 1st ever woman to be promoted as AIG Police (Bps-21) in the history of the Pakistan Police. Helena is from Baluchistan and is the highest ranking female officer of the PSP. She is a motivation for our women.”
Helena is taking the mission of her husband ASP Rizwan Khan Tareen forward, who was martyred fighting militants on April 24, 1995. Helena is currently posted at National Police Bureau, Islamabad.
Women constitute only 0.86 percent of the total strength of law enforcement agencies in Pakistan and there are only 3,734 women employed in this sector as compared to 425,631 men serving at different levels. Helena Saeed is the only woman police officer who was earlier promoted to the ranks of Deputy inspector General (in 2016).
Working in the police department for 27 years, she has taken part in several operations and has solved many complicated cases. She was also the first woman to join police force as Assistant Police Officer (ASP), thus setting a precedent for educated women to join a law enforcement agency that was deemed fit only for men.
Now that educated women are following in her footsteps by joining police force as ASPs, the enhanced role of women police in Pakistan is no longer an exceptional occurrence.
Muhammad Tahir, commandant of National police Academy Islamabad, told Al Arabiya English that more women are joining the police force as ASPs now. “There are excellent opportunities for women in police department. We are glad that more women are pursuing career in police which is need of the hour”.
Still authorities need to do a lot more to attract women to join the police department. Last year, a report of Pakistan’s National Police Bureau revealed that the percentage of women in police remains below two per cent.
According to report compiled by the National Police Bureau (NPB), there are a total of 391,364 police personnel across the country, of which only 5,731 are women. As per standards, women’s participation in the police department should be at least 10 percent.