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September 24, 2019

Staring by private guards irritate women


September 24, 2019

Islamabad :Despite satisfactory security situation, the number of private guards in Islamabad remains massive with many posted outside private homes starring every passer-by.

In some of the posh sectors like those falling under the E and F series, there is barely a house without a guard sitting outside. Clad usually in dark blue uniforms, for most of these men staring at women is a favourite pastime.

Having to perform long duties, at times up to 12 hours each day, there is little else for them to do but to watch and stare at everyone going past, especially the women.

The situation is worse in streets where offices, embassies, diplomatic residence and guesthouses have been set up that makes the movement of women quite troublesome. “No one likes being stared at, it is simply a disgusting thing,” remarked Fozia Shaheen, a housewife.

Fozia, a diabetes patient, used to walk regularly. “As advised by the doctor, I have to walk regularly but it has become a test with so many private guards around.”

After all illegally placed temporary guard rooms have been removed by the Capital Development Authority (CDA), these guards usually sit in open outside the gates. “Their gaze follows you from one side of the road to the other. I wonder why they are not trained to respect women or any passer-by,” said Fozia.

Another resident, a college student, Urooj Zia, even tried asking one of the guards the same question. “I was tired of this behaviour. So one day I asked one of them for staring at me. He never admitted that. It is not easy to report this kind of harassment,” said Urooj. She believes that it is a serious problem as it restricts the movement of women.

It is obvious that the growing numbers are clearly not going down well with women. “Security is everyone’s concern but the unprofessional manner in which the guards perform their duties and their gestures make us feel uncomfortable,” said workingwoman Shabana Ali.

She pointed out that the guards were actually a security threat for they shared information with their colleagues and house servants in the neighbourhood. “They would tell others what time a woman next door leaves for work and returns,” she said.

Another woman claimed that in the F/7/2 locality where she lives, the guards had given different names to women in her street. “This is simply insulting yet we can’t do a thing,” she lamented.

On the other hand the security guards have their own story to tell. Some of the guards The News spoke to instead of admitting their wrong asked why were they being singled out. “Everyone looks at women, you cannot put a person in jail for doing so,” said one guard posted in F-6/4 while another thought that it was their duty to keep an eye one everyone. As far as the guards are concerned, they are doing a good job!

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