The tale of the Chinese and the Pakistani Police
MAY 9, 2018
Khanewal is one of those places very few people in Pakistan have visited. It is familiar only to those who travel by rail from Karachi to Lahore and beyond. One notable person it has produced is the famous religious scholar Maulana Tariq Jamil, whose sermons are very popular among the people. He has been able to make a few celebrities turn into deeply religious Muslims. He is also very popular among those worthy citizens who have huge undeclared properties abroad and for whose benefit the recent tax amnesty has been announced.
Many years ago, perhaps in 1965, a couple of Pakistanis got into a scuffle with a British national in Karachi. One of the locals said something about the Brit being an educated man who should refrain from jumping the queue, to which the Brit said something abusive.
The two Pakistanis reacted and started beating up the white man, while his wife sat screaming in their car. A crowd gathered and succeeded in rescuing the Englishman. At the time, I thought the locals should not have reacted so violently. Most of those assembled there, however supported the locals. Unfortunately this is the way our people have been brought up.
What does this incident have to do with Khanewal? Recently local cops were involved in a clash with Chinese workers who were building a road in the area. It seemed as if the Chinese wanted to go away from their quarters but the police insisted on accompanying them. This, according to the cops, was because they were responsible for the security of the Chinese workers.
It remains unclear who started the fight. The police say the Chinese attacked them, and they had no choice but to retaliate. One Chinese man is seen standing on a police mobile van in a video. Another video shows the Chinese workers being thrashed by the cops. I cannot say who is to blame, but it is abundantly clear that our cops are not equipped to deal with these situations.
In fact, policemen should not be given the task of protecting the Chinese. If there is one thing we know for sure, it is that our policemen are absolutely useless in maintaining law and order. The courts have asked the government to arrest Khadim Hussain Rizvi, and the man is roaming freely nowadays in Lahore, yet the police dare not approach him.
Compare this with what happened on March 25, 1971, when army personnel drove through the streets of Dacca which were packed with hostile crowds and arrested Sheikh Mujeebur Rahman from his residence.
Only military personnel could have successfully dealt with the Chinese, without any violence occurring. Policemen in Pakistan are usually workers of political parties and in many cases they have paid the right people to get jobs. In Karachi, due to the failure of the police to control street crimes, the task has been given to the Rangers. Our cops spend their working lives extracting money from poor helpless people so they can collect enough to get posted to more lucrative places where they can make even more money.
As expected, almost everyone in the country blamed the Chinese. Here are some comments from online newspaper readers.
“This is atrocious. Pakistani policemen being beaten up by the Chinese engineers only because they were stopped for security reasons. Will Chinese do such a thing in their own country? They will kick army men also tomorrow. Only because Pakistan is allowing them to build CPEC on their own land, China should not treat local Pakistani as their slaves. Pakistani junta must protest this behavior with a heavy hand or tomorrow Chinese will start treating Pakistan as their captured country”
Here is another one:
“Chinese workers that did this must be immediately repatriated back to China. We have a duty to safe guard our people and police services. The Chinese should either stay subservient to the local law or be thrown out. This is exactly what any other self-respecting country would do. No one can come to our country and beat up our people, as a mob, irrespective of who started it.”
Of course, we should have expected the ending. Khanewal District Police Officer (DPO) Rizwan Umar Gondal, a day after the clash between staff of a Chinese company and the Special Protection Unit of police, recommended to the Punjab government deportation of five officials including the country project manager of the foreign company. Even though the Chinese workers apologised, they were still deported.
There is, however, more to this story. Everyone seems to have missed this report: “According to police officials, Chinese engineers and other officials wanted to leave their camp in Khanewal and visit a “red-light” area on Tuesday night. They resorted to agitation when denied permission to leave the camp without being accompanied by security officials.”
A red-light area? In the Islamic Republic of Pakistan? And in the very place where Maulana Tariq Jamil was born? We know what happens in such red light areas, and we can say with certainty that the Chinese did not want to go there to play games like Scrabble or Ludo or Monopoly with the good women there.
We also know that in almost all cities such areas exist where people indulge in what is known as the oldest profession in the world. But this fact is never mentioned, especially by policemen, who pay huge sums to get posted to such localities to earn their fortunes.
Again, if the DPO and other police officers had ensured that no red light area existed in their jurisdiction, the Chinese would never have heard of the place and the scuffle would never have taken place.
So the government of Shehbaz Sharif should first sack the DPO and other police officers for this gross negligence. If he does not, perhaps the Chief Justice can take suo moto notice and do what is required.