TPL supporters pakistan protest
File image used for illustrative purposes: Supporters of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party gather in a protest march in Muridke, on October 24, 2021, during a march towards Islamabad demanding the release of their leader Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi, son of late Khadim Hussain Rizvi, founder of hardline religious political party Tehreek-e-Labbaik. Image Credit: AFP

They are everywhere. Invisible, yet everywhere. They keep us safe. They remain vulnerable for the duration of their lives. They protect our cities. They grow old without owning anything. Underpaid, overworked, flawed, demonized, their identities are reshaped into tiny nondescript pawns in political games, power struggles, institutional tugs-of-war. The faceless, nameless policeman of Pakistan. The aam aadmi of the Police Service of Pakistan. Rarely lauded, rarely promoted, rarely recognised as human—those who hurt, bleed, hope, dream, toil, break, and die. Unnoticed.

The change is imperceptible, but it is important. The faceless nameless policeman is still there—everywhere, invisible. But then one of them is martyred. That elicits a bit of attention. Then one more life is lost. And another. And another. And another. And another. Murmurs become loud voices to condemn the mayhem of killings, the injustice of the loss of the lives of policemen.

The October protest of the banned militant organisation Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) was powered by the demand to expel the serving French ambassador to Pakistan from Pakistan. Roads were blocked, properties were damaged, normal business of personal and professional lives was disrupted, incurring colossal losses to the national exchequer, and threats were issued, showing a black mirror to the state—those you create and enable and empower and ultimately appease to retain your power will destroy you. Slowly. Painfully.

And the irretrievable cost of the mayhem is the blood of those who stand between the violent perpetrators and us and our cities: the police of Pakistan.

In eleven days of a protest that continues, hundreds of policemen have been injured. Six of them lost their lives. The martyrs of the bloodied protest that is in negation of every teaching of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). No longer are these martyrs faceless nameless. Their lives were full—they had parents who loved them, wives with whom they built their homes, children who doted on them, siblings who adored them, relatives who respected them, friends who valued their presence in their lives. Their deaths are mourned. Deeply.

May the martyrs rest in eternal peace, may Allah bless their souls with His best, amen.

Head Constable Mohammad Ayub Shaheed

May 8, 1962-October 22, 2021

Belt number: 9831

Mohammad Ayub, a resident of Narang Mandi, tehsil Muridke, was the son of Sadiq Ali and Sakina Bibi, both deceased; brother of Mohammad Khalid (deceased), Mehboob Ali, Shehnaz Bibi, and Shama Bibi; husband of Amtal Bibi; and father of Anam Ayub, 28, Samina Bibi, 27, Gohar Ayub, 26, and Omar Ayub, 24.

Mohammad Ayub joined the police force at the age of 19. At the time of his shahdat, he was deployed at the Gawal Mandi police station in Lahore.

Head Constable Mohammad Ayub Shaheed
Head Constable Mohammad Ayub Shaheed Image Credit: Supplied

On October 22, Head Constable Ayub was on duty as part of a police contingent to maintain law and order at the TLP protest in front of the DCO office at the Lahore District Court. The TLP protesters, chanting their inflammatory slogans, attacked the police, injuring many; Constable Ayub was one of them. He died. On the spot.

I spoke to Mohammad Ayub’s older son, Gohar Ayub: “My father was always khush-ikhlaq (amiable) with everyone. A most loving father, I don’t remember him scolding any of us ever. He loved to read the Holy Quran with Urdu translation. In his free time, he liked to read books. To honour my father’s legacy of a principled service, I want to join the police force.”

Head Constable Mohammad Ayub Shaheed is buried in Narang Mandi, tehsil Muridke.

Constable Khalid Javed Shaheed

February 7, 1966-October 22, 2021

Belt No: 13072

Khalid Javed, a resident of Mowza Chowbara, tehsil Pasroor, district Sialkot, was the son of

Mohammad Hussain (deceased) and Shareefan Bibi; brother of Abdul Majeed, Mohammad Arif, Tariq Mahmood, Shehnaz Bibi, and Mumtaz Bibi; husband of Abida Perveen; and father of Gul Zeb Bibi, 24, Zarina Bibi, 22, Tahira Bibi, 20, Awais Omar, 18, Asia Bibi, 16, and Zainab Bibi, 14.

Constable Khalid Javed Shaheed
Constable Khalid Javed Shaheed Image Credit: Supplied

Khalid Javed joined the police force at the age of 24. At the time of his shahdat, he was deployed at Chowki Mayo Hospital, Gawal Mandi police station.

On October 22, Constable Javed was on duty as part of a police contingent to maintain law and order at the TLP protest in front of the DC Office at the Lahore District Court. The TLP protesters created havoc that resulted in the injuring of many police personnel; Constable Javed was one of them. Despite being rushed to Mayo hospital, Constable Javed could not survive his severe injuries.

I spoke to Constable Khalid Javed’s nephew Mohammad Akram: “My Chacha was a great human being, a devoted Muslim. I had never seen him lose his temper or get into a fight with anyone. Always going out of his way to help people, he was kind even to suspects in custody. So many people have called to condole, including those who were locked up under his watch.”

Constable Khalid Javed Shaheed is buried in Mowza Chowbara, Tehsil Pasroor.

Constable Adnan Ehsan Shaheed

August 2, 1982-October 26, 2021

Belt number: 748

Adnan Ehsan, a resident of Wahadat Colony, Chaman Shah Road, Gujranwala, was the son of Ehsanullah and Ameena Bibi; brother of Imran Ehsan, Rizwan Ehsan, Usman Ehsan, Maryam Asif, and Gulshan Faisal; husband of Komal Adnan, and father of Anaya Adnan, 6.

Adnan Ehsan joined the police force at the age of 24. At the time of his shahdat, he was deployed in general duty at Police Line, Gujranwala.

Constable Adnan Ehsan Shaheed
Constable Adnan Ehsan Shaheed Image Credit: Supplied

On October 26, Constable Adnan Ehsan was travelling from Gujranwala to do his duty of maintaining law and order at the TLP protest in Wazirabad. En route, the TLP protesters captured him, and subjected him to such severe violence he lost his life. They threw his torture-riddled body in a deserted area, from where it was found by the police of Wazirabad.

I spoke to Constable Adnan Ehsan’s wife Komal Adnan: “Adnan bahut hee accha tha—as a son, husband, father, brother, son-in-law. Once he was free from work, he spent all his time with his family. He loved watching crime shows and chatting with his friends.”

Constable Adnan Ehsan Shaheed is buried in the Chaman Shah graveyard in Gujranwala.

Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police Mohammad Akbar Shaheed

February 2, 1972-October 27, 2021

Belt number: 689

Mohammad Akbar, a resident of Awan Chak Number 39, district Kasur, was the son of Mohammad Hussain and Basheeran Bibi, both deceased; brother of Mohammad Arif, Mohammad Sadiq, Mohammad Yousaf, Mohammad Imran, Rubina Bibi and Nazia Bibi; husband of Irshad Bibi; and father of Aiza, 10.

Mohammad Akbar joined the police force at the age of 21. At the time of his shahdat, he was deployed at the Kanganpur police station.

Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police Mohammad Akbar Shaheed
Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police Mohammad Akbar Shaheed Image Credit: Supplied

On October 27, ASI Akbar was on duty as part of a contingent of police to maintain law and order at the TLP protest in Muridke, district Sheikhupura. The TLP protesters peppered their incendiary slogans with gunfire, injuring many policemen, ASI Akbar was one of them. He died. On the spot.

Being childless, ASI Akbar rejected the unpopular tradition of remarrying, and he and his wife adopted a baby girl. Today his daughter says, “Agar mere Baba zinda hain toh woh mujhe nazar kyon nahin aate?” (If my Baba is alive, why is he not visible to me?)

I spoke to ASI Mohammad Akbar’s brother Mohammad Yousaf: “My brother was truly good to everyone, he was always kind. He loved us like a father. Full of positivity, my brother recited the Darood all the time and believed in spreading hope. His empathy was such that he never even laid a hand on anyone during an interrogation. In Ramzan, he distributed many ration bags of food, bought with his own money. Our mother passed away recently, and now my brother is gone.”

ASI Mohammad Akbar Shaheed is buried in Peer Jahanian graveyard in Chunian.

Constable Ghulam Rasool Shaheed

May 3, 1983-October 28, 2021

Belt number: 123

Ghulam Rasool, a resident of Mohalla Haji Shah Sharif, Kasur, was the son of Mohammad Rafique (deceased) and Suraiya Bibi; brother of Ghulam Mustafa, Shagufta Bibi, Uzma Bibi and Tanzeela Bibi; husband of Rukhsana Bibi, and father of Mohammad Subhan, 12, Iman Fatima, 10, Muneeb-ur-Rehman, 8, and Aleesha, 4.

Ghulam Rasool joined the police force at the age of 20. At the time of his shahdat, he was deployed at the Saddar police station in Kasur.

Constable Ghulam Rasool Shaheed
Constable Ghulam Rasool Shaheed Image Credit: Supplied

On October 28, Constable Ghulam Rasool was on duty as part of a police contingent to monitor law and order at the TLP protest in Muridke, district Sheikhupura. The TLP protesters resorted to violence, injuring many policemen, Ghulam Rasool was one of them. Rushed to the DHQ Hospital Kasur, Ghulam Rasool succumbed to his injuries.

I spoke to Ghulam Rasool’s younger brother, Ghulam Mustafa: “My brother was an amazing human being who was kind to everyone, never raised his voice, and was a great friend. He never missed his prayers. Last night his friends held a dua for him. Our father passed away in December 2020. In June 2021, I lost my five-year-old son, Mohammad Zaayan, in a road accident. Now my brother is gone. I have aged years in the last ten months.”

Constable Ghulam Rasool Shaheed is buried at the Darbar Bulleh Shah graveyard in Kasur.

Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police Mohammad Abu Bakar Shaheed

February 8, 1970-November 1, 2021

Belt no:2895

Mohammad Abu Bakar, a resident of mohalla Bhawana, Circular Road, Jhang, was the son of Ghulam Hussain and Mumtaz Bibi, both deceased; brother of Omar Farooq, Humaira Bibi, Sameera Bibi, and Irum Bibi; husband of Sajida Bibi; and father of Aruba Abu Bakar, 15, and Shaheera Abu Bakar, 10.

Abu Bakar joined the police force at the age of 20. At the time of his shahdat, he was deployed as Assistant PSO to SP City Investigation, Lahore.

Date uncertain, ASI Abu Bakar was on duty as part of a police contingent to maintain law and order at the TLP protest in Muridke. TLP protesters’ rage erupted in violence, injuring many; ASI Abu Bakar was admitted in General Hospital, Lahore, but he did not survive his injuries.

I spoke to ASI Mohammad Abu Bakar’s sister-in-law Rimsha: “He was a wonderful son, husband, father, brother, brother-in-law, he was good to everyone. No words of praise would suffice to say what a gem of a person my brother-in-law was. The huge attendance at his funeral was a sign of love and respect people had for him.”

ASI Mohammad Abu Bakar Shaheed is buried in Dakkhana Khas Gamyana, Jhang.

The faceless nameless policeman is no longer invisible. He is every man. He is all of us. He is us.

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