Stories published in December, 2019

Can Pakistan rid itself of the doctrine of necessity?

The doctrine of necessity was shown the light of day by two English jurists named William Blackstone (1773-1868) and Henry de Bracton (1210-1268). The doctrine pertains to the principle of making lawful by necessity that which is otherwise unlawful. Hence, allowing the state to legitimately act in ways that would otherwise be illegal and unconstitutional. While the doctrine remains unimplemented in England, which successfully recognised Blackstone’s celebration of the common law of England as glorifying the past, the government and the judiciary of Pakistan have repeatedly hidden behind this doctrine when abusing the longstanding principle of separation of powers. One would ...

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We are fighting to protect India’s soul from a majoritarian regime

There were many question marks surrounding Narendra Modi when he was making a bid to become prime minister of India back in 2014. Would he be able to devote his attention towards the development of the country? Would his slogan ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’ (together with all and development for all) translate into a reality? At the time, many went against their instincts and voted for him, confident that his past would not hinder the construction of a new beginning in Delhi. But few could have foreseen the dark turn the Modi regime would take in the years to come. Sometimes our worst fears really become a reality, and India today ...

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How can local MSMEs tap into the international market?

Although the importance of micro small medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) cannot be overstated, one is also forced to admit that creating an enterprise that contributes to the export potential of a country is a daunting task, especially for individuals. The prevalent culture involves importing goods from China and selling them locally at a premium price. Selling imported products in the local market is an easy and safe option primarily because foreign countries are facilitating the export of their goods through logistical support and secure payment mechanisms. Therefore, foreign goods are practically delivered at the doorstep of Pakistani businesses at ...

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The BISP purge: A much-needed review or an assault on the poor?

Pakistan does not have an illustrious track record of managing successful social protection programmes. Most of the initiatives have historically been conceived, and financed, by bilateral and multilateral international donors and can therefore, at times, be void of any connection with Pakistan’s ground realities and the actual needs of the masses. If ever an organic social protection programme is initiated, it is often cut short by changes in the government and the subsequent petty politics. The Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), however, is unique in that not only is it a local initiative, but it has also stood the ...

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Is climate change impacting our mental health?

Numerous studies have been conducted in an attempt to gauge the adverse effects of climate on human development. One of the many unfortunate facets of climate change that are currently being explored is the impact it has on mental health, particularly with respect to that of our children and future generations. Over the past decade, there has been a noticeable increase in natural disasters, owing to rapid climate change. A non-profit organisation, Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, looked at numerous studies and determined that there was a clear pattern which demonstrated climate change had resulted in weather related disasters becoming far ...

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How the obstacles to women’s mobility are crippling Pakistan

While the gender disparity which plagues Pakistan is by no means undocumented, perhaps the true extent of this gulf escapes us on a daily basis. The disparity becomes particularly stark when it is placed in a global context, as illustrated in the recently released report by the World Economic Forum titled the ‘Global Gender Gap Index 2018.’ According to the report, Pakistan is the second-worst country in the world when it comes to gender disparity, a title which should make it apparent that drastic reforms are needed in the country if we truly wish to become a nation which provides ...

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Corruption in Pakistan is not limited to politicians

In our society, corruption is commonly understood to be the giving or taking of money to commit an illegal act which furthers the interests of the payer and lines the pockets of the payee. It is also usually implicit that such interests are furthered at the expense of someone else’s or the state’s benefit. The bribe can be conveyed in the form of cash or an object of significant monetary value. Another generally accepted feature of financial corruption is that the recipients of bribes are persons in authority such as government functionaries or office bearers in non-government organisations or ...

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How effectively is Pakistan tackling the climate crisis?  

As Pakistan continues to grapple with the climate crisis, it is increasingly important that we as a nation turn our sights towards the future. As environmental lawyer Sara Hayat informed me, “Planting trees has huge benefits for the soil, air pollution, livelihoods of people. However, the tree tsunami must be supplemented by policy measures that curb global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at the source. Carbon sinks are useless if no mitigation measures are being prioritised. Furthermore, Pakistan has the highest deforestation rate in the world per a Lahore High Court judgment. Don’t plant trees if you’re going to keep cutting them ...

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Has Rana Sanaullah fallen prey to political victimisation?

The incumbent government, formed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has failed miserably in providing economic relief to the masses and therefore seems to have resorted to persecuting its political opponents in an attempt to convince people that it is clamping down hard on alleged corruption. However, if the persecution of political opponents was an effective way of dealing with economic turmoil, then Adolf Hitler would have gone down in history as a one of the world’s greatest economists. Perhaps the PTI government and Prime Minister Imran Khan are aware that they will not get a chance to rule again as it is ...

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The enduring legacy of Parveen Shakir’s poetry

Parveen Shakir (1952-94) was a poet and a civil servant in Pakistan who enjoyed immense fame before her untimely death in an automobile accident, 25 years ago today. Her first book of poems, ‘Khushboo’ (Fragrance), was published when she was just 24. Yet it seems that her early death has only added to her mystique. Her use of feminine tropes in the ghazal tradition marked her as an innovator in the form; for example, she is considered t o be a pioneer for her usage of the term ‘khushboo’, and for referring to the protagonist of the ghazal as ‘larki’ (girl). ...

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