Maria Kari

Maria Kari

The author is a lawyer and freelance journalist. She tweets as @mariakari1414 (twitter.com/mariakari1414)

You’re looking at Nawaz Sharif, but do you pay your taxes?

It is no secret that Panama, with its strictest financial secrecy rules on the planet, has been a long-time friend to crooks, dictators, corporations and the ridiculously rich. Turned into a tax and money-laundering haven in the 70s with the help of American banks, Panama’s financial laws remain extremely lax and welcoming. As a Panamanian lawyer put it in his 2014 VICE News interview, “When it comes to money laundering, we offer full service: rinse, wash, and dry. You can go to any law firm in the city, from the smallest to the biggest, and open up a shell company with no questions asked.” To ...

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Nawaz Sharif’s speech: It’s time the PM stops talking the talk and starts walking the walk

Following the March 27th Easter Day massacre of 72 people – mostly women and children – Sunni militant group Jamaatul Ahrar proudly claimed responsibility via this ominous tweet, “Let Nawaz Sharif know that this war has now come to the threshold of his home. The winners of this war will, God willing, be the righteous Mujahideen.” In turn, the PM appeared on live television with a comeback to remind these terrorists, “…that we are keeping count of every drop of blood of our martyrs (and) this account is being settled, and we will not rest till it is paid.” Within hours, reports poured in of the launch of an ...

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Protecting women is now an act of treason, CII? Really?

Pakistan’s efforts of six years at gender equality reached a fever pitch in the past two weeks. Late February the Punjab Assembly passed its Protection of Women Against Violence Bill 2015. Then last week Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy brought home her second Oscar for Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, a documentary highlighting the horrors of honour killing. Following an at-home screening of the film, the PM’s office took the unprecedented and impressive step of promising law reform. In response, several prominent clerics openly opposed and ridiculed the new law suggesting that not only was the new law against the spirit of Shariah but what is really needed is a ...

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The tale of our globetrotting PM: Are we getting our money’s worth?

Since coming into power in 2013, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has spent 185 days of his 940 days in office outside of the country. In other words, between June 2013 and February 2016, the PM has made 65 trips abroad. This is in laughably stark contrast to the number of times PM Sharif has visited the country’s sovereign legislative body, the National Assembly: a miserly 35 times. While a cash-strapped Pakistan continues on the path of bailouts and loans from international lenders, the PM’s foreign gallivanting has cost the national exchequer upwards of an eye-popping 63.82 crore rupees. One could argue that ...

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Sheraniland: Sharia law needs saving from Mr Sherani

In the past 15 years alone, Pakistan has made great strides by introducing numerous laws to help embolden and empower its womenfolk. Unfortunately, for Pakistan’s women, putting pen to paper only creates the law. It doesn’t actually implement that law. Nor does that law act as a shield against Pakistan’s powerful yet disillusioned institution of bearded clerics with an agenda. Take for example, the current chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Maulana Sherani, whose favourite pastime (when not fist fighting other maulanas) is undoing centuries of incremental change in women’s rights with a quick brandishing of the religious zealot’s favourite weapon: the mighty, all-encompassing and all too frequently misinterpreted torch of Sharia law. To be ...

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Fear the wrath of God

What do women seeking abortions, homosexuals in the US military, the animistic tribe of the Pakistani Kalash, and Christmas celebrating, non-vegetarians have in common? Apparently, God hates them and so we all have to put up with terrorists, strong winds and the earth splitting wide open. “Look what the Kalash have done now” In the wake of November’s 7.5 magnitude earthquake, a tragedy that left over 390 people dead, Pakistanis have descended into their favourite game; the blame game. It’s a familiar, age-old phenomenon. The wrath of God has been a sound explanation for the cruel, unusual, confusing and tragic since the inception of religion, and, perhaps, humankind. ...

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Pakistan has laws against rape and adultery, but what about incest?

Writing about the sexual abuse of a little girl is hard. Writing about the little girl’s incestuous relationship resulting in years of rape at the hands of her father is harder. In all the history of humankind, all societies have considered incest abhorrent, shameful and worthy of criminal sanction. But skirting around the uncomfortable topic of incest comes hand-in-hand with its social sanction. And in no place is incest slipped under the proverbial rug so eagerly as it is in the shame and honour based culture of Pakistan. This is because in a shame and honour based culture, the shameful action of one ...

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6 ways Jawani Phir Nahi Aani proves what’s past is prologue

This year witnessed Pakistani cinema step out of a murky and Bolly obsessed past into a well-choreographed, seductive, witty, and innuendo-filled cinematic future. For a country, now in its 69th year of independence, that once teemed with 1500 movie houses – it’s about time. The 2015 blockbuster, Jawani Phir Nahi Ani (JPNA), was the perfect culmination to a year of decent Lollywood films. Below are the venerable author’s six astute observations on the three hour Nadeem Baig comedy on the burdened life of three bachelors under the tyranny of their wives. 1. “What happens in Bangkok stays in Bangkok” Photo: Jawani Phir Nahi Ani ...

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Nigella Lawson: One of the many faces of domestic violence

According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report released this week, physical and sexual violence now affects a third of women worldwide. The consequences of this includes a myriad of health problems including broken bones, bruises, pregnancy complications and depression coupled with the harsh reality that many of these women may possibly spend their lifetime in such a relationship.  In the last year, a host of high-profile rape cases in India have helped shed the spotlight on the pandemic of sexual violence against women. Though we have a long way to go and much responsibility to bear, as a society, the immediate result ...

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Pakistan needs more men like Mirza Ali

In 1856 when Mount Everest was definitively identified as the world’s highest mountain what began was a series of early Everest expeditions, mostly led by the British, which, in 1933, included efforts to deploy the British Union Flag on top of the mountain by flying a formation of aircraft over the peak (an expedition funding by a British millionaires, Lady Houston) Since 1921 Everest has had over 4,500 climber visitors from over eighty nations. And while the first female ascent of the mountain was in 1975 by Japanese mountain-climber, Junko Tabei and the first Pakistani to scale the Everest was a ...

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