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!