Why honest policemen can’t survive under the existing Sindh set-up

 Published: May 24, 2017

Since the past six months, it has become very difficult for me to work, Sindh IG tells court. PHOTO: ONLINE

The following is an old joke about the police in Karachi.
The police chiefs of London, Tokyo and Karachi were discussing how they tackle crime in their cities. The London police chief said,
“When a robbery occurs in my city, we solve the crime within 24 hours.”
The Tokyo police chief said,
“We catch the thieves within 12 hours.”
The Karachi police chief responded with,
“We cannot arrest anyone, as it’s our policemen who commit most of the crimes in Karachi.”
In 1984, I visited a police station in Karachi to see someone who had been arrested. As we were talking, the phone rang and the SHO picked it up.
“Yes, sir, we’ll do as you say, don’t worry, I’ll personally look after the boy. Sir.”
Then he said to me,
“That was a prominent politician, his friend’s son has been arrested for robbery and he wants me to make sure the boy is given VVIP treatment until he’s released on bail. And he orders me to do this even before the arrested man has been brought to my police station!”
Those who have had the misfortune of interacting with Karachi’s police officers say it is a harrowing experience. The policemen working in Karachi are not interested in preventing crimes; they are on the hunt for fast cash – a few million rupees by the end of the month would do nicely. Which is why, instead of stopping and searching the vehicles of criminals, they harass innocent motorists (particularly women, or those men who are accompanied by their wives and children).

So, rather than go to the police to report cases of theft and cell phone robberies, people prefer to remain quiet, because almost always the police are involved in criminal activities. The irony is that those police officers who are trained and capable of tackling criminals are used to protect the politicians who rule over the city like feudal lords. You can see at least a dozen mobile police vans guarding their palatial houses in the posh localities of Karachi, and holding up traffic when they or their sons are driven on the city’s roads at high speeds.

Obviously, scores of policemen in Sindh are activists of the political party which is misgoverning Sindh, a party whose leaders don’t care that the city is going to the dogs. What they don’t realise is that unless they improve law and order in the province, they may be voted out next year.

Therefore, it is necessary to have a police chief who is honest, efficient and determined to reform the police force. Such a man (A D Khwaja) was given to the province by the federal government, and he set about the task efficiently, beginning with appointing only those who were qualified and capable. 

Naturally, this was not liked by those in power, who want that only their favourites should be given jobs in government departments (which is why quite a few police officers in Karachi are former dacoits). So, without wasting time, the chief minister told IGP Khwaja to go home, and appointed someone else in his place, someone who would undoubtedly do what he is told, such as protecting the province’s criminals instead of arresting them.

The Sindh High Court has restrained the provincial government from removing Khwaja, but since no one likes to work in a place where he is not wanted, Mr Khwaja has asked the court to be relieved.

I know there is no sense asking the head honcho of the province why he is bent upon not having an honest police chief, but I would like to ask Mr Bilawal Zardari the following,

“Don’t you want Sindh to be a well-governed place where there is no crime and the people are happy? If you do, and if you believe that it’s the duty of the government to maintain law and order, why don’t you raise your voice against the removal of Mr Khwaja?”

Engineer, former visiting lecturer at NED Engineering College, industrialist, associated with petroleum/chemical industries for many years. Loves writing, and (in the opinion of most of those who know him), mentally unbalanced. He tweets @shakirlakhani (

If Jinnah never asked Ruttie to change her name to Maryam, why did you, Pakistan?
By Shakir Lakhani Published: May 19, 2017

Rattanbai "Ruttie" Petit.

Those of us who were born before Partition know that Muhammad Ali Jinnah could not speak Urdu, except perhaps a few broken sentences. His speeches were always in English, sometimes with a translator to make the crowds understand what he was saying. But sometime in the 1980s, the government dubbed all his speeches in Urdu, apparently under pressure from those who thought a highly westernised Jinnah would make today’s youth doubt that he wanted an Islamic state.
One result of this is that an entire generation of Pakistanis have grown up believing that Jinnah was fluent in Urdu, and always dressed in a sherwani instead of the western clothes he always wore. Even our currency notes show him wearing a sherwani, which he donned on very few occasions after independence.

This is, of course, all due to the fear among the so-called defenders of the country’s ideology that somehow our people will stop believing that the country’s founder looked, dressed and spoke like an Englishman. Of course, these same defenders of the country’s ideology belong to those religious parties which strenuously opposed the creation of Pakistan and even used to call Mr Jinnah ‘Kafir e Azam’. Fortunately, Mr Jinnah was always clean-shaven, but that will not deter these elements from pasting a beard on his photos anytime soon, seeing how rapidly the country’s youth is being radicalised.

But these hardliners were not satisfied with just changing the image of the country’s founder. They saw that his wife, Ruttie Jinnah, was highly westernised as well. Hence they thought of making her appear as a pious Muslim and the first thing they did was change her name to Maryam.
This was supposed to have happened after her conversion to Islam at the time of her marriage to Jinnah. They thought if young people today knew that Jinnah did not get his wife’s name changed to a Muslim name at the time of their marriage, they would think he could not have been a staunch Muslim. So they got this piece of disinformation (about Ruttie’s name being changed to Maryam) inserted in Wikipedia and our school textbooks, again making a whole generation of Pakistanis believing another lie.

Ruttie Jinnah. Photo: AFP

For those who may not know, the name change has to be done before marriage, so that the new name is recorded in the marriage documents. In the 1960s, a Muslim woman married the scion of a well-known Hindu family in Karachi. Before the marriage was solemnised, the man was converted and given a Muslim name, after which the nikkah was performed. In Ruttie’s case, this was not necessary because her name (meaning jewel) was common amongst Gujrati Muslims of those times.

Marriage certificate. Photo: Raheelq WordPress

But apparently, our ideologues did not know this, and decided to give her what they thought was a good Muslim name. And because she already had a Muslim name, Mr Jinnah did not think it necessary to ask her to change her name when he married her. Which is why in his marriage certificate, the name of the bride is stated to be Ratanbai.
For the record, this changing of Ruttie’s name has not been mentioned in any newspaper or periodical published at the time, neither has it been verified or authenticated by any credible source. Moreover, she always signed her letters “Ruttie”, and in one of her letters which she wrote to Jinnah four months before her death, she ends with the words,
“Darling goodnight and goodbye. Ruttie”


Ruttie’s letter to Jinnah. Photo: Miraqsam WordPress

Finally, the most authentic piece of evidence that Ruttie did not change her name is her tombstone, which has the name Ratanbai engraved on it. Jinnah frequently visited her grave and the last time he did so was just before the Partition (19 years after her death). Surely he would have gotten the name on the tombstone changed to Maryam if that was her name. The fact that he did not do so proves that there was no change of name, and his wife lived and died as Ruttie Jinnah.

Ruttie Jinnah’s tombstone. Photo:

Shakir Lakhani

Engineer, former visiting lecturer at NED Engineering College, industrialist, associated with petroleum/chemical industries for many years. Loves writing, and (in the opinion of most of those who know him), mentally unbalanced. He tweets @shakirlakhani (