Rest in peace Islam Bibi

Today the very sad news was confirmed that senior female police officer Islam Bibi from Helmond, Afghanistan was dead. She was murdered yesterday on her way to work after receiving numerous death threats from her brother as well as the Taliban.

She was such a dedicated and brave woman, that she defied them and continued working under the most difficult circumstances.

I didn’t have the chance and honor to meet Bibi while I was in Afghanistan. I did however do a story on the female police in Pakistan. As you surely aware, Pakistan and Afghanistan are very similar in this way. Bibi’s struggle to work from outside the home is typical of the problems many women in conservative, rural areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan face.

The female police officers are as brave and as necessary to help. They take the same risks and have to defy many people who see things differently then they do and would prefer them to stay home.

Lady police inspector Anila Unar of the West Karachi Police Station (Picture top row left) told me that in Pakistan there is little respect for the female police and they get treated differently then their male counterparts. ‘Even though I’m in a good position, often we are assigned duties outside Karachi like guarding the grave of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. If they would give us the authority to lodge an F.I.R. (First information rapport) it would already make a big difference. Women come in our police station to start an investigation, but I can’t do anything because I’m not authorized to do so.’

And even though they might not always be able to do the job they are supposed to, the mere fact that they are working and are trying to make a change is very important.

Rest in peace Islam Bibi!

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen









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2 thoughts on “Rest in peace Islam Bibi

  1. hqas says:

    What a nice coverage related to police force and women, RIP brave lady, Afghanistan lost a brave lioness. Yes, there is similarity between Afghanistan and Pakistan in terms of women police but there are stark differences, Women police in Pakistan became on the scene 1988 whereas in Afghanistan the Afghan National Police only inducts women since 2001.
    Most their problems however remain same, I have done stories with women officers from Motorway, City Police officers and gender plays a huge obstacle, not only men are threatened by women in power, they face stigma and non serious attitude from all walks of society including civilian women drivers, passengers on roads.
    Sadly, when women come to them and report incidents of rape or assault, sometimes the female police officers do not take those complaints seriously and on other hand, their male counterparts are totally domineering and exhibit unacceptable behavior.

  2. Irum Zahra says:

    I believe there are so many reforms taking place in Pakistan regarding the new women protection bill and new reforms in Police to make them more empowered, more trained. Change is a hard way to go to, but we are getting there!

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