Farogh Naseem: The indispensable law minister?

In a move which raised many eyebrows, Farogh Naseem resigned as the federal law minister last week so that he could appear before the Supreme Court in an attempt to ensure that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa received the three year extension which Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) desperately want him to have. After the verdict, which passed the matter onto parliament, Naseem was swiftly reinstated as the law minister by President Arif Alvi, leaving many scratching their heads for several reasons. Was the constitutional crisis that shook the nation not of Naseem’s own making? Why was he allowed to take ...

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Why does the government continue to increase electricity prices?

The price hike for electricity recently announced by the government was neither surprising nor unexpected. However, there are some key questions related to this decision that need to be addressed. Why was this done? What does it mean for ordinary citizens? And, what can we expect in the future? Why another power tariff hike? Let’s begin with why the decision was taken. To increase social welfare and allay price pressure, governments provide subsidies to different segments of the population. Subsidies are designed to help people buy products and services they cannot otherwise afford. With the recent decision to raise the electricity ...

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The extension fiasco: Who won, who lost?

On Thursday, the nerve-wracking court proceedings regarding the extension of the tenure of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa finally concluded. The comedy of errors unleashed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) legal team meant that the government almost shot itself in the foot, insisting on committing blunder after blunder. From the simple clerical mistakes in the drafts presented in court to not being able to convince the court as to why Bajwa’s extension was essential, the antics which ensued have surely left PTI red-faced. The court has provided Bajwa with a temporary lease by giving him a six month extension ...

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The ban on political activities in UoB underscores the importance of the Students Solidarity March

On November 26th, a notification issued by the governor’s secretariat in Balochistan called for a plenary ban on all political activities and gatherings inside the University of Balochistan (UoB) campus in order to ensure a “conducive environment” for teaching. Such a demand is ludicrous and is a blatant attempt to try and negate the work being done by students who are trying to raise a voice against the injustices they have to encounter and flies in the face of the growing demand to hold educational institutions accountable for their actions. What makes this statement even harder to digest is the fact that UoB has been at ...

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Where does PTI stand on the Musharraf treason case?

Former dictator Pervez Musharraf, who abrogated the constitution twice, has been facing treason charges in the courts. However, it seems that having been a military dictator he still enjoys support in several powerful quarters of the country. A few days before the special court listening to his treason case was due to announce its verdict, the Interior Ministry submitted a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to set aside a special court reserved judgment against Musharraf. The petition filed in the IHC maintains that the Federal Government had sacked the previous prosecution team on October 24th and that the Interior Ministry was not given time to ...

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Understanding Pakistan’s sexual harassment law – Part II

This article is part of a series which will try to answer several questions surrounding the law on sexual harassment in Pakistan. The aim is to allow people to understand what the legal regime on this issue is, how it works, and what needs to change. Read part one here. ~ In my previous article in this series I wrote about how section 509 of the Pakistan Penal Code makes sexual harassment a criminal offence. However, as I argued, structural patriarchy in terms of the court system and the police pose obstacles for victims of sexual harassment from coming forward. To conclude ...

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As we bid farewell to Nawaz, what fate awaits Zardari?

As expected, Nawaz Sharif finally flew abroad today on his own conditions after getting permission from the Lahore High Court (LHC). His illness, as mentioned in my previous piece, led to a reworking of the nation’s political chessboard. Not only did it bring the issue of political victimisation at the hands of the incumbent government into the limelight but it also forced Pakistan’s powerful quarters to tell the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government that enough with the accountability narrative, get to work on fixing the economy and other governance issues. Furthermore, the change in the tone of the PTI allies, both Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) ...

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The problem with labour laws in Sindh

As the Pakistan economy continues to battle its way through these trying times, the repercussions of such economic uncertainty have to be shouldered by the masses. However, the rising financial insecurity is not simply a product of increasing prices and has been exacerbated by increasing unemployment. On the occasion of an unforeseen dismissal from one’s job, it is customary that one would presume the law would come to their rescue. However, the laws in Sindh governing the rights of white-collared employees and labourers alike fall short of any such expectations. Hence, various corporations in the country take undue advantage of these legal shortcomings. Recently, a leading automobile manufacturing company ...

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Will imported tomatoes help tackle rising prices?

In an attempt to tackle the rising prices of vegetables and fruits in Pakistan, the government finally caved in on Wednesday and allowed for tomatoes to be imported from Iran. The Pakistani masses have been bearing the brunt of the nation’s economic woes, but that burden has been worsened recently after the prices of tomatoes began to rise due to faulty economic polices and bad weather which adversely impacted harvests. But perhaps this desperate reaction to reach to Iran for some much needed tomatoes was the result of Abdul Hafeez Shaikh’s, the prime minister’s financial adviser, much ridiculed gaffe earlier in the week. One ...

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For PTI, the Nawaz Sharif nightmare continues

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has proven time and time again that it is lacking in both political acumen and the ability to rise above petty politics. When Nawaz Sharif was given bail by the courts and allowed to receive medical treatment, it was a blunder on part of the PTI to link the removal of Nawaz’s name from the exit control list (ECL) with a surety bond. While some are attempting to dilute Nawaz’s illness down to a political stunt which has been carefully crafted so that he can escape abroad, the fact remains that Nawaz is in a critical situation and if ...

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