Pakistan isn’t the only country that bestows injustices to its transgender community

Pakistan isn’t the only country that bestows injustices onto minority groups residing in its country. We all are aware of the recent violent acts that have taken place against the transgender community, all thanks to social media for spreading awareness on the issue. Donald Trump’s win as the 45th president of the United States has brought about many conservative and anti-human rights thoughts, which seem to retract the liberal and more inclusive laws set in motion by the former democratic president of the United States, Barack Obama. Obama ordered public schools in May 2016 to allow transgender students to use bathrooms according to their chosen identity, further threatening to hold back federal funding if ...

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The child marriage legislation is a step in the right direction, but will it be implemented?

Marriages are big business in Pakistan. It is a time of hope, happiness, faith and love. Such a memorable event can easily turn sour when the parties getting married are underage. To curb this heinous act, legislation has been passed by the National Assembly, aimed to reduce child marriages by ramping up the severity of the punishment.  Instead of being imprisoned for up to three years, individuals involved in arranging child marriages face a 10-year imprisonment with a one million rupees fine. This new change in the law seems to be a serious effort on part of the government to tackle this insidious practice. Although on ...

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How will the Shariat court’s ruling on test tube babies help Pakistan?

On Tuesday, in a ruling that can only be lauded, Pakistan’s Federal Shariat Court (FSC) elated numerous childless couples all over the country by validating ‘test tube babies’. The method is more formally known as In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), which has been in use since the 70’s in other parts of the world and is now a common technique globally. Although it would be foolish to assume that IVF procedures were not taking place in Pakistan prior to this verdict, it is still heartening to know that couples will be able to seek alternative ways to have children with clear consciences and hopefully, a less judgmental society. In its ...

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Can someone in Pakistan please address the ever-growing elephant in the room?

The way a doctor needs to address a patient’s critical problems first, before evaluating the less threatening ones, a country too needs its public policy practitioners to tackle its grave issues before moving to its trivial ones. We can build all the roads, metro buses, and Orange lines as envisioned by the government ruling the centre, or we can start focusing on health and education as proposed by the opposition instead. However, there is absolutely no way to meet the needs of Pakistan’s people if the population continues to grow as it has been for the past seven decades. According to the 1951 census, West Pakistan had a ...

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I support the Compulsory Education of Arabic Bill 2015

Recently, a friend asked me if I had seen the movie ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. Being averse to things I have no real interest in, I told him I see it every day. Surprised, he asked me what I meant, to which I replied,  “In Pakistan, we are all to some level masochistic. Either that or we are just plain servile. How can we be bombed, killed, raped and beaten into submission every day and just go on with our lives as if nothing is happening?” Pakistan has a history of insurgency and violence, which reached its peak during the ‘War ...

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Should Pakistan accept the criminally degenerate from other countries?

News emerged last week that a group of men convicted of committing horrific child sex abuse against underage girls in Rochdale, UK, were denied their appeals against deportation to Pakistan. The accused in question had dual British-Pakistani citizenship, and acquired their British passports through naturalisation.  The purpose behind the deportation is to punish those who pursue vile criminal acts in the UK and then hide behind the human rights guaranteed to them through their British nationality. Although the case will still be protracted and significant time will pass before they return to Pakistan, it is still an embarrassing prospect to deal with. Let’s not ...

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Hina Shahnawaz was powerful and financially independent, so patriarchy killed her

News of honour killings, or karo-kari, is not new to Pakistan. Almost a thousand women are killed in Pakistan every year for allegedly bringing “shame” to their families. In a society that feeds off hyper masculinity, a woman’s autonomy and independence of any sort is seen as a threat to the Pakistani culture as a whole. Last year, a renowned social media celebrity, Qandeel Baloch, was murdered by her brother in the name of honour, because of her financial and social independence gained from practicing what she preached – self-love and personal power. Although honour killings were (and still are) very common, this incident in particular is what led the government ...

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Is this martyrdom? No, it’s massacre

Oh our land of pure, How much shall you endure? How many shall you allure? To your depths so demure, When will your thirst be quenched? Of blood and sweat and gore. Jamaatul Ahrar, a faction of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for a deadly bomb attack that shook the cultural capital of the country yesterday. The senseless killing of 15 people, including decorated police officials DIG Capt (retd) Ahmad Mubeen and SSP Zahid Ikram Godal, has left the nation in mourning. How many more such attacks shall we mourn as a nation? The reverberating sound of explosions, shrapnel-ridden limbs scattered on roads and the air thick ...

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Why does the state structure and narrative unfairly favour Punjab?

The selective way of presenting history in Pakistan conveniently ignores the fact that at the time of the country’s creation, there were two large movements which were sometimes contrasting and sometimes overlapping. The first was primarily centred on the Muslim identity and tried to actually bargain a better position for its bearers. This movement though ended up in carving a separate homeland for the Muslims but did not have a strong separatist thrust, at least in the beginning. However, the Islamic identity itself was not the only identity taken up by the Muslims as strong ethnic nationalist tendencies existed particularly in ...

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Does post-crime insanity have any legal value in Shariah?

Recently, the Supreme Court of Pakistan maintained the death sentence awarded by lower courts to Imdad Ali – a schizophrenic man placed under trial for murder. This decision sparked controversy among civil society members. In their view, to punish an offender with a severe mental disorder is an extremely unjust decision. Although the court has agreed to revisit the verdict and many have presented their views on the issue, no one has yet approached the problem from the Islamic law perspective despite the significant role it plays in our legal system. Indeed, the case of post-crime insanity has been greatly debated and discussed in ...

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