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Pakistan Person of the Year, 2009

Posted on December 29, 2009
Filed Under >Adil Najam, >Owais Mughal, About ATP, Law & Justice, People
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Adil Najam and Owais Mughal

The faces of 2009 have been, for most part, sad faces.

There have been a few exceptions – like that of Shahid Afridi raising his hands after Pakistan’s T20 victory – but the exceptions have been few and far between. The faces that stand out in the images from Pakistan in 2009 are the faces of resilient judges, of thick-skinned politicians, of all-knowing media mavens, of courageous soldiers, and, indeed, also the faces of murdering suicide bombers.

But the faces that represent the reality of Pakistan in 2009 more than any other, are the faces of the Pakistani police. That feelings of angst, that feelings of living on the edge, that feeling of not knowing what might happen next, but, above all, that feeling of grit and a defiant resolve to keep standing no matter what the odds, are all captured in the faces of the Pakistani police that we have see too many times in 2009 as they battle on the front-line, one bombing after the other.

In gratitude, and in respect, we at All Things Pakistan feel that a most worthy choice for the Pakistan Person of the Year 2009 is the Pakistani Policeman.

All too often we, including on this blog, focus on the lighter side of the Pakistani policeman. The Pakistani cop is an all too familiar figure, one who does not often get the respect he deserves, and when the light-hearted comments are made out of fondness, it is all too easy to forget just how difficult their job is and just how under-resourced and under-appreciated the Pakistani policeman really is.

This has always been true, but was never more true than in 2009. All too often in this murderous year, the Pakistani policeman’s life – very literally – was the only thing between a suicide bomber and his would-be victims. 2009 saw too many Pakistani policemen paying the ultimate price in valor, in duty, and in courage. Today, we wish to salute all of them. Today, we proudly salute the Pakistani policeman who has stood – and who continues to stand – in defence of all of the rest of us. In a war where the front-line is every street and ever neighborhood, the Pakistani policeman guards the front-line.

Today, we wish to register our gratitude to the Pakistani policeman. Today, we wish to thank the Pakistani policeman. Even as we continue to pray for him!

50 Comments on “Pakistan Person of the Year, 2009”

  1. HarOON says:
    December 29th, 2009 1:04 am

    What an inspired choice. Bravo to ATP for giving credit where it is due.
    The ordinary Pakistani policeman is in fact the first line of defence.
    A good choice for the Person of the Year in Pakistan.

  2. Junaid says:
    December 29th, 2009 1:21 am

    Pakistan Police zndabad.

    This is very timely because recently I have been thinking the same. Everytime I pass a police security check I think of how dangerous a job they are doing when the Taliban are targeting them every day.

  3. Bushra says:
    December 29th, 2009 1:32 am

    I think this year belongs to both the police and the army jawans who are doing the hard work against the enemies of Pakistan.

  4. December 29th, 2009 1:35 am

    Excellent choice – well deserved. Very recently, I heard Inspector General of Police in NWFP saying on television (probably GEO Tv) that in 2009, the number of desersions from police across NWFP significantly declined; job applications have increased; and most insightfully police officials deputed in dangerous areas are not requesting for transfers to ‘safe areas’- an indication of resilience and courage. Hopefully, federal as well as provincial governments in Pakistan will invest more in law enforcement organizations.

  5. ASAD says:
    December 29th, 2009 1:41 am

    I also think this is an excellent choice. As a nation we all need to show our policemen that we understand and appreciate the risks they are taking on themselves. I think the police itself has come stronger from this turmoil.

    Imagine a Pakistan where, after the judiciary, the police also becomes a strong institution. Just how many good things will automatically follow.

  6. Mohammed Wasim says:
    December 29th, 2009 1:47 am

    Must say I was surprised to see this choice.

    My first instinct would have been to name Chaudhry Iftikhar for his comeback, or Zardari for being a survivor, or maybe Shahid Afridi for cricket, or a media person.

    But in thinking about it, I think you have a brilliant choice. The ordinary policewalla. The one who stands guards at buildings and at check points, he is the one who has shown bravery even without resources. I also salute them today.

  7. Zaheer says:
    December 29th, 2009 1:54 am

    Your choice has really made us sit up and think.

    I you had asked me who should be Pakistan’s person of the year for 2009, this is probably not the answer I would have come up with. But now that you make the case, I cannot think of anyone better than the Pakistani police walla for this honor.

    Thank you ATP and thank you Pakistan Police.

  8. Saba Ali says:
    December 29th, 2009 2:00 am

    It has been a sad year and I think we al need to respect and honor our policeman for all the bravery they have showed. Good choice.

  9. Talib Haider says:
    December 29th, 2009 2:10 am

    Wonderful choice.

    I would also like to pay a tribute to the Pakistan rangers who work with the police. Especially the ranger who has reduced the number of deaths by a large number in the Ashura procession.

  10. SH says:
    December 29th, 2009 2:47 am

    Great choice! It’s really unfortunate that they have to “serve and protect” with such meager resources. Just standing at a checkpoint day in day out waiting for the next suicide bomber to approach is not the most ideal way to earn Rs. 10,000 a month.

  11. Haroon says:
    December 29th, 2009 3:37 am

    I pay tribute & salute to our Pak Forces (including Police) protecting our country and its citizens. Bravo! Pakistan Paindabad.

  12. Faraz Shams says:
    December 29th, 2009 4:02 am

    Great choice! Next time when any of you come across a policeman at a checkpost, remember to shake hands and say thank you. That is the least we can do.

  13. ARFEEN says:
    December 29th, 2009 4:11 am

    You have rightly selected the POLICEMEN as the PAKISTAN’s Person of 2009 ……they have always been the first to thwart all the terrorist’s designs and have always sacrificed themselves for PAKISTAN and its People…….

    SALUTE TO ALL POLICEMEN+ARMY SOLDIERS !

  14. December 29th, 2009 5:08 am

    Great choice! Bravo.

  15. Ahmad Farigh says:
    December 29th, 2009 6:11 am

    good choice..had we spent the farction of budget of Army on Police, it would have much better performance and a great asset to society.

  16. Sadia Hussain says:
    December 29th, 2009 7:00 am

    The nation salutes the Policemen’s, the soldiers and other members of the law enforcements for it’s is because of their heroic acts that we are able to carry out our daily affairs. Please do empathize with the police constable who stand alert and the checkpoints knowing that he might not be able to see the dawn. I strongly second the motion to celebrate 2009 as the year of policemen!!!! Pakistan Zindabad 

  17. sidhas says:
    December 29th, 2009 10:02 am

    Adil/Owias,

    You should send these posting via email to Pakistan’s Polices. Punjab and Sindh police have good websites. You can also send emails of affection to Pakistan Army for their heroic role and sacrifice.

    Question to all readers:

    Can we send donations to Pakistan Army and/or Pakistan Police from United States in such circumstances as ours?

    How would you send donations when you are a US citizen? legally.

  18. wYSe gy says:
    December 29th, 2009 10:12 am

    I need to be the fly in the ointment here.

    It is only this year when the Pakistani policeman, in his black and khakis has become the symbol of resistance against an unforgiving strain of fanaticism.

    Since my childhood in the ’80′s, the policeman has been a symbol of corruption in our society.

    SH bought up a good point about the low wages paid to all policeman.

    But let us not forget that corruption is and continues to be a harsh reality of Pakistani policemen.

    Obviously this reality has to change. The sad word to decribe sacrifice’s rendered by Pakistan’s policemen in the year of the lord 2009, is unwitting.

    They continue to give their lives to protect the public, but also to protect the public order.

    Declaring them Pakistan’s persons of the year for 2009 is probably the best and decent thing to do.

  19. wYSe Guy says:
    December 29th, 2009 10:16 am

    @ Sidhas & Owais/Adil

    If anybody wants to make a donation, I would recommend doing so instead to some school providing education to underprivileged children rather than to the police or armed forces.

    Education is more serious.

    And our schools are still being targetted in the NWFP.

  20. saeeduzzaman says:
    December 29th, 2009 10:28 am

    This is really what makes ATP such a special place and community.

    You say what is on everyone’s mind, but which still surprises us because no one else is saying this.

    Great choice.

    We have done injustice to police always and it is now time to make up.

    I love the suggestion of saying thank you to a policeman next time you see one.

  21. Mahmood says:
    December 29th, 2009 10:31 am

    Great Choice Gentlemen,

    Going up to them and shaking their hands should be a common occurrence, but it is not, lets be honest, most of the times we are just happy to have crossed the road block on our way to live our lives. Don’t get me wrong I think we should do so every chance we get, but maybe we can do more.
    I would like to suggest that we should do some sort of fundraising for these brave souls to show our appreciation. Just as we have ‘State Trooper Associations’ here in the US, there must be some sort of police welfare organization that takes care of the injured or provides support to the family of the martyred policemen. I hope to see this soon on ATP.

  22. December 29th, 2009 10:34 am

    I comment ATP for appreciating Pakistani Police. Borrowing words from Ayesha Siddiqa:

    “It is heartening to see lower-ranking police officials in Islamabad doing their duty in such tough times without the necessary wherewithal for their personal protection. These men don’t have bullet-proof jackets, sniffer-dogs, or explosive detection equipment.”

    Here are a few articles on Pakistan Police, which are consistent with the ATP’s choice of Pakistan’s Person of the Year 2009.

    http://criticalppp.org/lubp/archives/1703

  23. Muhammed Umer Farooq says:
    December 29th, 2009 10:51 am

    Great choice. At long last someone has thought of the sacrifices of the Pakistani Policeman.

    Pakistan Police zindabad!

  24. December 29th, 2009 11:31 am

    Dear Author, You may be generous in your decision but the policemen have been taking so much bribe. In Pakistan 99% policemen are corrupt, they are the root cause of almost half the ills in Pakistan.

    I as a Pakistani is still not impressed, they (Policemen) have to do more, much more to deserve this award / nomination.

    All the police in Pakistan must be disbanded and a new force must be recruited from scratch on merit.

  25. Farrukh says:
    December 29th, 2009 11:37 am

    Excellent choice.

    It also makes you have something to be proud of in a year that had so much heartache all round.

  26. Viqar Minai says:
    December 29th, 2009 11:37 am

    Very well put. A better choice than Pakistan police and rangers is unimaginable.

    I hope and pray that Pakistanis find unity in their common suffereing, and in the courage and sacrifices of their security personnel.

  27. Roshan says:
    December 29th, 2009 11:46 am

    Yes Paksitan Policeman is the person of the year. We salute their bravery and commitment. And we also need to salute the bereaved families of security personnel who lost their loved ones to protect us.

  28. Watan Aziz says:
    December 29th, 2009 12:28 pm

    “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” -Benjamin Franklin

    Good choice of “policewala”.

    Certainly, the Pakistani policeman, standing tall and protecting all and in the line of the fire deserves far more than mere few lines of kudos. They deserve better pay, better benefits and certainly better training. If I may add, they need “war time” benefits. It takes great courage to perform your duty knowing that between you and the madness, there is nothing!

    If the outward posture of Pakistan security is Sparta, the inward posture of Pakistan is a police state. Good, decent, hardworking Pakistanis are between rock and a hard place. That the outward is imposed due to historic belligerence of a neighbor is no reason to have imposed a police state on the ordinary law abiding citizenry.

    But to say that Pakistani police is under-resourced, or that the state of the police needs to become state-of-the-art of the police state, without a word of reforms, sends shudders down my spine.

    The executive in Pakistan is not an example of Jeffersonian principles that some of the posters have become accustomed to living in the US. Pakistani governments do not have any shadow of Washington. Jinnah is but a wall hanging and not to be followed either as an example of decency nor of intellectual reasoning. Pakistani are not read Miranda Rights but accorded with “Danda Might” where there is an encounter with the police.

    Not too long ago, a usurper had used an ordinary policewala to slap the Chief Justice of Pakistan; in public. The dignity of his wife was mishandled. (The claim, that Sultan Mushraff did not know, is the extent to which none of them seem to know the extent of the police state, because they are themselves abusing power.) No fault of the thoola, poor guy did what he was told. It was all within sight distance of the entire police power. If there was no shock to decency, then all senses of shock is lost. If the office of the Chief Justice is not safe from abuse of power, no one is protected.

    The rights of ordinary Pakistanis should not be part of this equation. To register FIR of the weak, the powerless, the distressed should not be the privilege but a right.

    I am with all for better security of Pakistan and Pakistanis. But those who are tripping over to praise police without the need for asking in balance the need for police reforms, are getting on a tiger they will not know how to get off. History shows that Hitlers are raised on the shoulders of SSs’.

    Better security will be achieved when there is not better perceived security but when there are better rights of the citizens. It is the ordinary citizens who will defeat failed ideas when they can get comfort from better ideals. Ideals of justice and equity. Ideals of Jinnah.

    The reforms of police should come with reforms for police. The high appreciation should come with low limits on use of police power.

  29. Giest4life says:
    December 29th, 2009 1:12 pm

    Pakistan has suffered much, much more than other countries have in America’s on going crusade to curb radical islamic militancy. No where is the damage greater then at the epicenter of the earthquake; we have been pulverized by the heedles American military, been under seige by absolutist Islamists, and we have bore the brunt of international strategic goals.

    There is no denying that Pakistan has suffered, and amid this suffering the Pakistani police has taken losses, too. But I would not make them the person of the year, far from it, I would not even nominate them. Don’t get me wrong, those in the force that have stood defianin the face of death and evil, deserve our love, our respect, and most importanlty, our aid. To say that the Pakistani police force is infiltrated with corruption is an understatement, it is overrun with it. Our police is a double edged sword, with one it seeks to slay our enemies, but the other edge has all too often ran across the throat of the innocent and spilled the blood of the helpless. No, the Police force of Pakistan does not deserve this award. But don’t ask me, I don’t know who does.

    This is not an award that we have to give, we can hold it, suspend it until we find someone truly worthy of the love of this great nation. Giving awards frivolously lowers it worth—such as Obama getting the Nobel Peace prize makes that gold worth no more then a base metal.

    Lastly, there are amongst us who look up to the American style of democracy, don’t. There are those who consider Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, Adams pillars of wisdom and farsight, do not engage in this fallacy. We do not have to look back, for the past is no better than the present. We have a tendency to remeber the “good ol’ days.” Well, those days are as a figment of our imagination as Disneyland–yes it exists, but we created it, it is not a natural manifestation. If Pakistan is to succeed, we have to be ushered in a new age of reason and thought, be inspired by the past but don’t aspire to it.

    Anyone who considers the leaders of the American revolution pertinent to our revival is deeply mistaken and that kind of thought leads only to chaos and more sorrow. I do not have all the answers, but let us start with shedding the archaic notion of a Muslim Ummah and creating a Muslim state. Let us keep our religion to the prayer mats and not bring it near the seats of power. It’s a start, but it will help.

  30. Faizan says:
    December 29th, 2009 7:28 pm

    Inspired choice, indeed.

    I am also like those who may not have thought of this choice, but now that yo make it am surprised why I had not thought of it.

    Nearly always we ridicule the police, yet even in ordinary times, they are essential to our security. It is about time that recognize this and honor them.

    Thank you ATP for making this choice.

  31. December 29th, 2009 7:40 pm

    Some comments from the ATP Facebook Page:

    - “Good choice. We owe much to them.”
    - “We should pay tribute to all martyres who lost their lives in war against terrorism & extresim at cost of our peace.”
    - “Nice (Y)”
    - “GOOD”
    - “agreed”
    - “It is high time Pakistan Police is recognized and given its due place in society it deserves. It needs financial support, but more than that it needs moral support and encouragement so that it could become a force to be recokned.
    It’s corruption, nepotism, will only go once it is recognized as a an important state institution, and not personal fiefdom.”
    - “agreed!!”
    - “A 1000 Salutations to the Front Line Warriors of Pakistan.”
    - “Khuda karay kay yeh Roshni Rahay !”

  32. Hussain says:
    December 29th, 2009 11:16 pm

    Excellent choice by ATP.

    And something that most Pakistanis usually miss. I join you in saluting the Pakistani policeman as the Person of the Year.

  33. Eidee Man says:
    December 29th, 2009 11:32 pm

    Excellent choice; could not agree with you more. While we have the luxury of debating and pontificating, projecting our own thoughts from the comfort and safety of our homes, these men are out there on the front lines, braving suicide bombers, fanatics, and extremists. In return for insultingly low salaries and subhuman working conditions, we expect them to fend off hardened terrorists, and put them in the lose-lose position of performing their duties while keeping their corrupt political superiors happy.

  34. Ghiasuddin says:
    December 30th, 2009 12:00 am

    Great Choice. ATP at its best.

    I salute our brave policemen who are taking the risks for all of us.

    I would suggest we all spread this post to other blogs asking them to also carry it and maybe also media so that the policemen themselves know that we appreciate their efforts and honor them.

  35. SJH says:
    December 30th, 2009 1:54 am

    Some may have differing viewpoints on whether a police force as corrupt as Pakistan’s deserves such recognition but I am of the opinion that they face so much real risk for so little gain that they should be respected for that alone. Furthermore, some level of “myth-building” is important for the self-image of a people so let’s build positive myths and positive models for the police in Pakistan. Last, recognizing an entire group rather than an individual sends a wonderful signal, that we should care less about leaders, personalities and hero-worship and more about the qualities of leadership which should be in every one of us.

  36. yaseen ch says:
    December 30th, 2009 2:11 am

    yes,government must work to better equip police in this worst terror situation .

  37. Natasha says:
    December 30th, 2009 6:34 am

    They’re finally earning respect!Heroes indeed.

  38. December 30th, 2009 10:57 am

    Some more comments from the ATP Facebook Page:

    - “A 1000 Salutations to the Front Line Warriors of Pakistan.”
    - “Khuda karay kay yeh Roshni Rahay !”
    - “they are our heros…..we sould be proud”
    - “exactly!”
    - “Agreed!”
    - “OH GOD, luk at the pic at left side. so many dead bodies,,,…great loss of PAkISTAN”
    - “in ki kurbaniu se hi aj pakistan zinda ha…….SUBHANALLAH”
    - “ae Allah i wish v all get united & pray 4a miracle dat spread hapiness n peace all over our pakistan…aamen”

  39. Zarrar Duraiz says:
    December 30th, 2009 12:06 pm

    There is no power on earth that can undo Pakistan. – Our father, the revered Muhammad Ali Jinnah

    I thank and pray for those who have come together and made A.T.P. We shall not stop working in any respect for the greatness of our country. Pakistan ZindaBaad!!

  40. Aqil says:
    December 30th, 2009 6:36 pm

    Excellent choice. I was just thinking that we need some initiatives for showing appreciation for the police

  41. Abdul Hai says:
    December 30th, 2009 7:02 pm

    I am wondering if it is a joke to name Policeman as the person of the year. Ask the father of the 12 year girl who was abducted and gang raped, and police did not register a FIR. For details see. Perhaps next year ATP will select the corrupt and greedy military generals as person of the year.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/national/young-girl-gang-raped,-killed

  42. Saqib says:
    December 30th, 2009 10:42 pm

    Excellent choice. Recognizing the policemen on security jobs who are the only thing between Taliban killers and us is a great idea. It is time we honored them.

  43. Finance says:
    December 30th, 2009 11:38 pm

    Nice post you have managed I salute to all the forces of Pakistan

  44. Fauzia says:
    December 31st, 2009 9:12 am

    Excellent choice. I think many Pakistanis are belatedly coming to this conclusion.

  45. Afzal says:
    December 31st, 2009 10:45 am

    Nice choice! Infact just thinking of them losing their lives in the line of duty made me somewhat emotional. but thinking on another perspective, it was high time the Police force had learnt their responsibilities. They had been sleeping altogether letting corruption root in them deep and letting themselves flow in the hands of corrupt to the core politicians. Its true they are underpaid and underesourced but the fact is that if they won’t demand for their rights they will not have them. The new police reforms is maybe a new beginning. but I still feel there are many more who deserve to be nominated this award. the people of Swat and Waziristan deserve this award if you ask me. Police is meant to fight criminals but it was the people of Swat and Waziristan who first handedly experienced the terror even though they were civilians. Bravery and valor is being shown by Police now and I hope and pray that we all including the brave police start realizing our duties as citizens of Pakistan! Words of the Late Mr. Ashfaq Ahmed come to mind ”May Allah help us in relieving our difficulties and also that Allah help us in helping others releive their difficulties”

  46. ZAFAR says:
    January 2nd, 2010 1:28 am

    Great Choice. I salute the Pakistan police for the courage they have been showing. May the new year bring them less danger and more respect from society.

  47. MB says:
    January 3rd, 2010 4:34 am

    Thanks GOD someone finally decided to give the credit to the ones who deserve most.

    At KMB i have been very consistently writing on the policemen being killed in security incidents.

    Well done ATP

  48. Ghiasuddin says:
    January 3rd, 2010 11:10 am

    Yes, an excellent choice. I join you in saluting the Pakistani policeman.

  49. January 3rd, 2010 9:08 pm

    Maulana Edhi should win the Nobel Peace Price.
    Long live Paki Police

  50. Zaheer Khan says:
    January 5th, 2010 12:19 pm

    Mr. Yusuf Raza Gilani should win The Person of the Year Award for 2009 – due to his accomplishments for holding the democratic traditions together – despite all odds.

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