Sindh Police Museum offers rare peeps into the making of Sindh police
Guns used in 1857, FIRs lodged 139 years ago and orders issued to maintain order during Muharram 175 years ago and a picture of the first kotwal of Lahore and a lot more is on display at the first Police Museum of Pakistan. It is located at the Police Headquarters in Karachi.
Sindh Police Museum curator Saud Mirza, a former Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) of Karachi, tells TNS the history of Sindh police is 170 years old. It was one of the most modern police force established in the subcontinent during that era (though Bombay, Madras and Bengal police are contemporaries). It was established on May 1, 1843 by Sir Charles Napier, the first British governor of Sindh.
Saud Mirza mentions that Sindh police enjoyed financial and administrative autonomy with the provision to be governed by its own officers. “It was an armed force that worked separately from the army at that time,” he elaborates.
He explains that Sindh Police comprised riverine, mounted, city and rural police and was based at Shikarpur, Karachi and Hyderabad. “As a result of its efficiency and its role in collecting information, Bombay Governor Sir Clerk ordered Bombay presidency in 1860 to follow in the Sindh Police’s footsteps,” he says.
A visitor can also see 175-year-old cannons of Talpur era. The museum comprises a photo gallery, Marston gallery, sections for artifacts and uniforms and an auditorium. In the photo gallery, one can see the visual history from 1843 till 1970. The gallery contains pictures of police officers of British era, policemen wearing uniforms of 18th and 19th century, pictures of first Muslim ASP and a 175-year-old portrait of first kotwal of Lahore. There is a picture of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah receiving the guard of honor by Sindh Police at the time of State Bank building’s inauguration. The gallery contains photos of historical significance and dignitaries.
A section for antiques showcases various police uniforms. Swords that were part of Sindh Police armoury for a long time were also on display.
A visitor can also see 175-year-old cannons of Talpur era. The museum comprises a photo gallery, Marston gallery, sections for artifacts and uniforms and an auditorium. In the photo gallery, one can see the visual history from 1843 till 1970.
Mirza also talks about police Puggies (Khoji) whose testimony in criminal cases was admissible. “A khoji was awarded up to Rs50 for assisting police in recovery of stolen articles or apprehension of offenders.”
The museum also has vintage telephone sets and other communication tools used by Sindh Police. It displays medals conferred on policemen for exemplary services. A significant medal displayed there was one issued at the time of coronation of Queen Elizabeth. Commemorative medals and ceremonial shields are also present. One can also see a photo of a 4-cylinder Ford vintage car along with the record of its purchase.
Asked how he managed to collect this treasure, Saud Mirza says he kept visiting the Sindh Archives Department daily for a year in order to collect historical documents. “I also got some of the stuff from judicial records and families of police officers,” he mentions.
Pictures of all former inspector generals of Sindh police from independence to date are also displayed. “Like Father, Like Son” section of the gallery showcases pictures of officers whose fathers had also served in Sindh Police.
On request, visitors can see historical police record as well. It contains secret police reports (intelligence abstracts) from its early days till Partition having description of all active political leaders of that era, including Gandhi and Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
Mirza says, “It is an endeavour to not only preserve history but also bridge the gap between the police and the common man. We plan to offer an internship to students as in future this place can fulfill the needs of historians and researchers. We are trying to expand it by establishing an audio/visual reference library and a portion for guns in the museum. We are also working on making documentaries on some prominent officers,” Mirza concludes.