Cutting the fat: Pakistani police endorse a different kind of ‘regime’

A Pakistani police commander has ordered personnel not to allow their waistlines to exceed 38 inches. (Al Arabiya)

It may appear that these exercise drills are a compulsory part of a police training routine for these officers in Pakistan. 

But this session has been set up for a particular group of policemen: those who have been told they need to lose weight, if they want to keep their jobs.

In what local newspapers have dubbed “the battle of the bulge,” a Pakistani police commander has ordered tens of thousands of pot-bellied officers to diet or quit frontline duties.

“I think these new rules are right. I work out every day and so far I have lost 10 kilograms. This is better for our health and our appearance,” says one Pakistani officer. 

At least 50 percent of Punjab police are overweight, officials have said. The commander has ordered 175,000 personnel not to allow their waistlines to exceed 38 inches.

“Our approach is to reform them, to provide them [with] opportunities because their environment was like that; they were not answerable to all these things. There was no standard. But now we have set the standard; we have to reform them, provide them [with] the opportunity and the facilities,” a senior police official told Al Arabiya, while overseeing his team’s workout drills. 

The campaign has cracked down on all officers, even senior police officials have been encouraged to lose the belly.

“Before we didn’t have time to exercise, but now we do. Two weeks ago my waist measured 40 inches, and now it is 37,” another proud police officer said. 

The hope is that overweight police officers will now become more active, shed those extra pounds and be able to get stuck into intensive daily police duties.

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