Spending hours in a thana (police station) wasn’t my idea of a leisurely evening, but sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do. Upon receiving an emergency call from the driver that the car had been involved in an accident, the first reaction was to find out if he and the occupants of the other car were safe. They were, but he told me he was being taken to the nearby police station along with the other party to settle the matter.
With a deep sense of foreboding, I made my way there, not really knowing what to expect though prepared for the worst, going by the ‘horror stories’ one hears and reads about. Many hours later, when I came out, I had a completely different impression of the place, as well as the people running it.
Once at the police station, I saw both the cars and drew my own conclusions and then went in. We were ushered into a waiting room, where, so as not to get into an argument and counter argument, I asked the person on duty what had happened. He gave me a very concise account, and then I asked the other party what their intentions were. The man said he wanted the car repaired, and I agreed to get it done through the insurance. The policeman on duty asked me for the original registration book, which would be handed back once the insurance assessment was done.
As that had to be sent for from home, we waited it out and it was in this waiting period I observed how the police station functioned. Not once did I hear the crude language one has come to associate with the policemen, or boorish behavior. The person manning his post seemed efficient and totally clued in, handled the roster change, and communicated shift timings to his colleagues in a professional manner. This professionalism seemed to be a norm, and nothing that could be a ‘put on’ in the presence of ‘laddies’ in the room.
I saw two to three cases, of purse snatching, hit and run and another being handled in a most professional manner with the complainants leaving from there very satisfied. This was indeed a pleasant surprise; however, little did I know I was in for a bigger one. I was told that the ‘Sahib’ wanted to speak to me in his room, and I thought… oh oh… now what.
I went into the SHO’s room, where the pleasant young man asked me to sit, and said that he, and his people had determined that my driver was telling the truth, and the fault was the other driver’s who was drunk! Before I could get over that shock, he said he didn’t see why we should be getting his car repaired, even if it was through insurance, as he had committed an offense and action needed to be taken against him.
His request was for me to wait just a while more until they had him medically examined, and once it was officially proven that it was a case of drunken driving, he would be charged accordingly and we could leave without any paperwork.
Upon asking if I did anything, I told him I was a journalist, he wanted to know whether I blogged! I answered in the affirmative, and he wanted to know on which website, and when I answered Speak for Change, another young uniformed officer sitting in his room broke into a grin from ear to ear!
So here is a little thank you for the people at the Clifton Police station in Karachi, and a lesson not to go anywhere, or meet anyone with preconceived notions and a negative baggage, as there is good all around us after all! This is not denying all the negatives that are there as well, but one must acknowledge the good wherever it is found. Speaking up also sometimes becomes a catalyst for change.