Stories about human rights

Anti-honour killing and acid attacks bills: More laws to be buried in the graveyard of good intentions?

This past week, the Sindh Assembly passed two laws against honour killing and acid attacks. It is a commendable initiative and the first such act against honour killings in all four provinces and territories. The laws are adequately severe with stipulations such as no blood money is allowed to be granted, acid attacks are unbailable offences and suggesting that the capital offence may be given to those killing in the name of honour. Furthermore, they are reflective of a humanistic mind-set and the architects of it will have to do far more than merely draft it and push it through the red tape of senates and assemblies to receive accolades ...

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After all, Kabul is no Manchester, and the media and world’s reaction proved it

At some level, I do understand why no Facebook profile picture filters appeared or why no hashtags dominated the social media landscape after a bombing in Kabul or Baghdad. It is assumed that cities like these must be acclimatised to the reign of terror; to towering plumes of smoke; to children’s blood being spilled on the city’s pavements; and to mangled corpses strewn on the dirty streets. It is assumed that they must be used to mothers wailing in a strange cacophony; to rundown ambulances whirring past shocked onlookers, who in turn are used to their unacknowledged existence; and used to the ...

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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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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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Moving towards a trans-friendly Pakistan, finally

What a feeling it is when you just be yourself without having to be self-conscious about it. There’s not an iota of concern there. “I am who I am, I wear whatever I please and I express myself however I chose to,” thinks the person. I am not going to be shamed or persecuted by anyone, or entertain any fears about that happening. For many, a transgender, man or woman, it is but an idealised notion that is not always realised but is perhaps trending in the right direction now. In Peshawar, Pakistan, there was a birthday party for a 40-year-old transgender woman by the ...

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Why is it so easy to kidnap a child?

Imagine going through an abusive marriage while holding up to be an inspiration to your daughter simultaneously. Imagine your three-year-old daughter, your angel, being kidnapped by your very own husband and taken away to a country across the globe. Imagine doing everything you can in your power to get her back, yet failing at every turn. Imagine living for months without hearing any news of her, without knowing if she’s okay and being taken care of. Imagine her continuously crying profusely for her mother yet you’re unable to hold her in your arms and soothe her. This is what my friend, Nadia ...

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If a Trump and a Muslim American can put aside their differences, why can’t we?

Recently, the Huffington Post covered an incident where a Muslim American comedian, Mohammed Amer, sat next to Eric Trump on a flight. A fellow passenger warned, “I wouldn’t even sit next to him if I were you.” Mr Amer, ignoring the advice, took a seat and had a pleasant exchange with the son of the future POTUS, even when they discussed immigration and the proposed ban on Muslims. Amer said, “I just know we had a good, decent conversation, and I think that proves that we can talk to each other, and I think that’s what’s most important.” He concluded, “We need to…work through the problems and find the solutions… (and not ...

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Why are these members of authority and celebrities silent over the Kashmir issue?

We had been seeing pictures of kids as young as four being admitted in hospitals, their faces mutilated with pellets. Young Kashmiris, some sportsman and some students losing their dreams as their vision was taken away with what the Indian forces described as ‘non-lethal weapons.’ On top of that, Facebook had the audacity to censor these stories in the name of ‘Community Standards.’ We wanted to do a campaign against the use of pellets. Narendra Modi was an obvious choice as he is the prime minister. Sonia Gandhi was chosen because her ally, Omar Abdullah, sanctioned the use of these guns in 2010. It ...

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Is Hamza Ali Abbasi the only one brave enough to broach the ‘Ahmadi question’ on TV?

Pakistan has a complicated relationship with one of its most bankable stars, Hamza Ali Abbasi. For we might love putting him in the line of fire for his over-emphatic, often ill-informed, posts on Facebook; the TV serials he stars in climb up the TRP charts like a pro. Courting controversy is then Hamza’s forte, after all, they say no publicity is bad publicity and Hamza’s getting his share aplenty. Often pointed out for his extreme ideas, borderline hypocrisy and “liberal bashing” on his very active Facebook page, Hamza has circled himself with a group of like-minded people online; most dwelling upon ...

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