Sharmeen Khan

A corporate lawyer who works in the private sector in Karachi.

Invisible citizens: recognising Pakistan’s adopted children

Six months ago, a friend of mine had to take her daughter to a child cardiologist, two days after her birth. When the doctor asked her if the child’s birth was natural or caesarian, she informed him that she did not know. He looked at her perplexedly and asked if the father might confirm. She said, promptly, as if this was rehearsed, “I do not know her father.” The fact is, my friend does not know her daughter’s father. She has never met him. Ditto her child’s biological mother. Her child’s genes are a mystery to her. Regardless, she ...

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Chronicles of blasphemy

The British Raj criminalized blasphemy in 1860 and till 1986, the maximum punishment for the crime was ten years in prison. An amendment in 1986 created penalties of life imprisonment and death. This makes the Pakistani blasphemy laws the harshest in the world. Section 295 C awards the the death penalty for innuendo or insinuation. Words which, by very definition, are subjective. Our criminal system can put a person to death for vague terms. Here is an example: Muhammad Mehboob (alias Booba) was accused of putting ishtihars on the main gate of his local mosque which were allegedly against the dignity of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and hence ...

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