Daily Times

Home | Archives | Contact Us | Friday, April 08, 2005 

Main News
National
Briefs
Foreign
Editorial
Business
Sport
Infotainment
Sunday Magazine
Advertise
Sunday Magazine
Site Search


Dukandar - The Merchant from Pakistan

  E-Mail this article to a friendPrinter Friendly Version

AT HOME ABROAD: The boys in blue —Angela Williams

My 22-year-old servant was recently tortured by the Lahore police. Everyone regarded me with apparent pity for my na´vetÚ and foreign over-sensitivity, reminding me that I was living in Pakistan and should not be shocked at such occurrences, which are commonplace here. They are commonplace in Britain too, and I still insist on being shocked

Joke: A keen young schoolteacher was instructing her class of 6-year-olds in the slums of London on the role of the police in the community. “The police are our friends; if we are lost, a policeman will always help us to find our way home. If bad people steal our money, the police will catch those bad people and give our money back.” She then showed the class lots of colourful pictures of kind policemen, bobbies on the beat helping old ladies across the road and directing traffic with a cheery smile.

The 6-year-olds then wrote all they had learnt about the police, and drew and coloured a picture of a bobby.

Everyone produced the expected piece of work except one child, Joey, who wrote only three words: “police is b******s.”

The young teacher was shocked at the entrenched prejudice of the child, and determined to renew her efforts to enlighten him. The following week, she arranged for a visit by the police to the school playground, where the young constables duly endeared themselves by allowing the 6-year-olds to wear their helmets, blow their whistles and have rides in the police car, sounding the siren. Ice cream cones were given to the children as the smiling coppers waved good-bye.

Thrilled and glowing accounts of the visit were produced by all the children except one: Joey’s composition now consisted of 4 words: “police is cunning b******s.”

Joey was not daft. And he was referring not to a corrupt Third World police force but to the British Metropolitan police, pride of the capital, part of the first modern police force to come into being in the 19th century, introduced by Sir Robert Peel, (hence ‘bobbies’ and ‘peelers’.)

Joey knew that the stalwart lads in blue, for all their polite and friendly demeanour, are lackeys of the state, and exist to preserve the status quo, to ensure that the rich remain rich and that the poor are kept in their place, with violence if necessary.

I am prompted to write this by the reaction of many friends and acquaintances to my narration of the ordeal undergone by my 22-year-old servant who was recently tortured by the Lahore police. Everyone regarded me with apparent pity for my na´vetÚ and foreign over-sensitivity, reminding me that I was living in Pakistan and should not be shocked at such occurrences, which are commonplace here. They are commonplace in Britain too, and I still insist on being shocked.

Stephen Lawrence, a young black student was waiting at a bus stop in southeast London one evening in April 1993 when he was knifed to death by a gang of white youths. This unprovoked, racist attack occurred 12 years ago and the Lawrence family is still waiting for someone to be brought to justice for Stephen’s murder. One of the main suspects is the son of a police chief.

Daniel Morgan, a 37-year-old father of two was found in a south London pub car park 17 years ago with an axe in his face, according to British journal Private Eye. Four police investigations — the last of which concluded only last year — have failed to bring anyone to account for the murder. Last year, in their book Untouchables, Michael Gillard and Laurie Flynn suggested that the victim had been about to expose major police corruption.

Mr Morgan’s family’s anxieties have increased with every flawed police investigation into his gruesome murder. Their concerns, particularly about the former Metropolitan police sergeant Sid Fillery, who initially played a key role in the investigations into the murder, but who was subsequently accused of being involved in it, have never been addressed.

At the 1988 inquest into Morgan’s death, a bookkeeper made a sensational claim that Morgan’s business partner, Jonathan Rees, and Met officers including Fillery, had planned the murder and arranged for officers from Catford CID to be involved in it and in the subsequent cover-up. Fillery was one of the Catford officers who played a crucial role in the vital first four days of the murder inquiry. He had conducted the first interview with the prime suspect, Rees (his friend) and he had had the opportunity to take possession of key documents, including Morgan’s diary, which has never, subsequently been found. Fillery was taken off the case after his friendship with Rees became known.

Rees was subsequently jailed for arranging to plant drugs on an innocent woman. Fillery was sentenced to community rehabilitation after admitting 13 counts of making indecent images of children.

In December 2004, Hazel Blears, Tony Bliar’s minister for policing, wrote to the Morgan family’s London lawyers, saying that an enquiry was not in the public interest. She had found, she stated, “no plausible evidence of police corruption”.

No, dear. Of course you didn’t. Now, what was little Joey saying?

The writer is the Academic Co-ordinator and a founder of Bloomfield Hall Schools. She has been teaching in Lahore for the past 20 years and has directed numerous highly acclaimed stage plays

Home | Editorial

 
EDITORIAL: Misplaced zealotry
VIEW: The president and major political issues —Dr Hasan-Askari Rizvi
VIEW: A low-profile visit —Nazir Naji
LETTER FROM LONDON: A turbulent priest —Irfan Husain
DELHI DURBAR: The Manmohan Doctrine —C Raja Mohan
AT HOME ABROAD: The boys in blue —Angela Williams
LETTERS:
ZAHOOR'S CARTOON:
 
Daily Times - All Rights Reserved
Site developed and hosted by WorldCALL Internet Solutions