Wednesday, June 07, 2006

"Kulsoom" & CPLC: Beating Harassment Together!

Yesterday, I finally got tired of getting those annoying missed and random calls from a certain number. I woke up to see several missed calls made in the night. I told the culprit mentally, “Well, sir, this is the end of me worrying what’s happening next. On your head be it!”

So I called him, and enquired what was the persisting matter now that I had explained on a call earlier received that I was indeed not Kulsoom the magnificent. As half expected, he replied in his barely educated tone, “I called Kulsoom.”

So who was Kulsoom, and by how many degrees of separation could she be related to me and my cell number? And why are you such a shameless person to make Kulsoom call you back – why not just give her a full-fledged call yourself? Keep aside, for a moment, that I am not Kulsoom. Tell me, why should Kulsoom call you back? And whoever this God forsaken Kulsoom is, has she got nothing better to do? Why, I am a little annoyed at this Kulsoom who must be somewhere within six degrees of my reach.

The man was apparently chuckling with a few buddies on the other side (who does that at 10.30 A.M.? – More jobs, Mr. Prime Minister! Or I’ll keep receiving the phone for Ms. Kulsoom.) I calmly told him that I work for the press, and justice was just a phone call away. I got a chuckle, and a, “Sir ji! Why are you angry!?”

Enough! I then used the power tool that basically dissects the intestines of most awara Pakistani men: accented English. I told him in cold British accent, borrowed from Simon Cowell and with as much “scowl”: “If you don’t stop doing this, I will tell the police.” I must say there was a significant pause in which the mind of the mobile marauder moved, only to come up with another oily, “Sir jiiii!”

That was it. Paa ji was going to have a bad day, and I had decided that before I gave him a last chance. I called up Rescue 115. The dispatcher on the other side was ready for gun & smoke action. He was disappointed at the report; but I persisted for help. He asked me to get to CPLC – Citizen Police Liaison Committee. I called 17 and got CPLC’s contact. Then I called CPLC – never getting tired of the trail.

The CPLC told me they indeed deal with matters of harassment, and the process was to make a written complaint. I got their web address, and got on to beat crime together. Using the contact form, I sent an email with accurate details (misreporting is serious, and just below ethics). Within about ten minutes, I got a call from a gentleman who surveyed the situation. He has told me to send in a written application which will be used to send a verified complaint to the cellular network of the harasser. We briefly discussed the harassment situation in general. He told me that in cases similar to mine, they would normally give a warning call from CPLC to the guilty party. Failing heed, the party’s phone would be blocked. If there was actual threat (i.e. the caller made a threat to life, honor, money, etc.) it would be dealt with accordingly. I didn’t press for details on this one.

Shortly afterwards, I got an apology on SMS: suddenly I was Dear Sister, and not Kulsoom. I replied that he must explain to the police who’d be very interested in the details. He called, and it was a near whimper that he pleaded in. It was not him, but his friend, he explained. I said it indeed sounded like he was chuckling in company at 10.30 AM and who on earth is up and harassing people at that hour in Karachi!

While by attending the phone I let the softer side of my heart hold sway for a minute, I know that I must not budge. Why? Because before I had decided to fight back, it was me with the shaking hands and the absolute dark worry. Let the good men amongst the readers know this: you might think it’s fun, but one has no idea that no matter what age or social class a woman is from, harassing gets to her. And if one has an idea and they persist, well then they deserve a good fight.

I have yet to fax, but I will do that and follow up the case and not rest until this man and his gang of number-swapping offender buddies are taught a lesson.

P.S. Check out the public safety downloads at Some very good tips once sent to me couple of years ago; some of which I have found useful after practice.


  1. hahaha - this is a such a you story! ;) and that's a compliment! :) nonetheless, good to know such things... afterall, we've all been there done that!

  2. Rock on sister. I just hate these dumb calls and the missed calls. It reall boils my blood. Good work.

  3. Bravo! I loved your read like a short story with a happy ending and everything. The villian gets his comeuppance in the end.

    Well done for standing up against such nonsensical behaviour. Most dont.

  4. I think this needs to be portrayed to the general public who have usually thought nothign can be done in cases of harrasemnt, with your permission can i quote/project this issue on Karachi Metroblogs.

  5. well done!!! hat's off to you being proactive about the issue! A number of my friends have complained about this incessant issue.. glad to know there's a way out of it now! Please allow teeth maestro to project this on Karachi Metroblogs... i myself will by posting a trackback to this article on my blog. We *need* to make the population aware of these services rendered by the CPLC!

  6. wow.
    wow wow wow.
    i normally would have just stopped attending the prank caller's calls.

    and err... aren't most people at work at 10.30am?

  7. So there is indeed some justice left in Pakistan, even for petty issues like cell phone harassment.

  8. Wow, I never knew all this.

    I rem some time back I used to get random calls. My method of dealing with it was to receive the call immediately and put my phone aside. After a while, the caller prob ran out of credit!!:D

    But thanks for sharing this story and the links!


  9. FHK,

    Never knew, as every1 says that something of this sort can be done...anywayz...really enjoyed reading...

    Attiyah Ina'am

  10. Insi, Checkmate, Omer, Dr. Awab, Mansoor, Madi, Kashif, Hasfa, Attiya... and those who may join later: thank you and Jazak Allah for your interest and comments.

    Please feel free to forward, trackback, cross-post, with my alias "The Prophetess" or "Prophecy."

    I will update with what happened, and share a few more stories - because I have been exchanging advice with many a young women lately.

  11. very funny and well written..

    thanks for the entertainment..


  12. "Dear Sister"
    Thanks for sharing this story, it was fun reading it and I am so glad someone actually took a step.

    Rock on.

  13. i've cross-posted this on KMB (with your permission ofcourse).
    Check it out here: