‘My family thought I was wasting time’
AISHA HAD TO DEFY THE ODDS TO BECOME THE FACE OF POLICE SERVICE
Aisha Butt defies the odds to become face of good policing
Ilove crime drama. Every part of a crime story is a fascinating facet of humanity that is dark, incomprehensible, twisted. The calculated ruthlessness of a perpetrator’s planning, execution, concealment, and at times, repetition of a crime, is riveting in its meticulousness to do the bad with the reckless certainty of invincibility.
Crime, and in particular, that in which a life is taken, has the human inevitability of being uncovered and punished. The human penchant for inflicting pain is a perpetual enigma to me, a part of being human that I find un-relatable and unacceptable in any form. The process of catching a criminal is ergo of immense importance to me, in real and reel life.
The ideal force
Police detective work that I see in TV shows, films and documentaries is my ideal of a police force. Formation of a case through a thorough process of forensic science, evidence-gathering, non-violent interrogation, testimonies, and finding the culprit. That to me is a real police force. Beyond the fundamental duties of maintenance of law and order and safety of citizens, they uncover crimes. Sometimes, it takes years. As a Pakistani, the word ‘police’ conjures up a montage of images. Most of them are erasable.
Pakistan’s police are jaded clichés in binaries of black and white. Indifference to common man’s pain, corruption, deference to money and power, coerced confessions, torture in lock-up, shoddy investigation and follow-up, trigger-happy, and experts of extrajudicial killings.
While all the bad is true, there has always been the untold story. Of much that is good and noble and selfless in the organisation whose existence is programmed to protect, and to do it without discrimination, without pressure, without making it look like a favour.
The idea of a good police officer has been reduced to the unidimensional ‘good guy’ who only makes sense in a TV
Our home environment was such that our neighbours didn’t know how many daughters my father had.”
Aisha Butt | Superintendent of police
serial or a film. Good police officers are not a rarity. They are just not ‘interesting’. They don’t shoot their guns in slowmo. There is no background music when they fight the bad guys. I thought of writing about some of them. Someone has to.
A story of courage
I noticed her on Twitter in November 2019 when she posted a photo in her official uniform conducting her official work while holding her baby.
The caption said: “It is difficult but not impossible.” Two months later, I got in touch with her to talk to her about her work in a profession that is so male-dominated and testosterone driven, a female officer is as rare a sight as sunlight in Antarctica. Superintendent of Police Aisha Butt of the Police Service of Pakistan. Daughter, wife, mother, police officer, boss, Aisha is many things, in no particular order. What is spectacular about Aisha: she is the face of the best of the Police Service of Pakistan.
Those who take their work seriously, those who care, those who do their best to make the world a better, a kinder place. Aisha’s story is an inspirational, feel-good celebration of the power of dreaming and turning the dream into a splendid reality.