Does a loophole in Pakistan’s constitution allow foreigners to contest elections?

Pakistani citizens who hold foreign passports are not allowed to hold seats in either the national or provincial assemblies and are also barred from becoming members of the senate. However, the incumbent government is looking to change this, citing the contribution of overseas Pakistanis to the local economy as sufficient reason to do so. The first step towards enacting this proposal was taken by the cabinet in July 2019 when it approved the contesting of elections by dual-nationals. However, from a legal standpoint, it is important to remember that if the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) actually intends on successfully following ...

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How democratic are Pakistan’s democrats?

Dēmokratiā, a system of government invented by the Athenians in around 508 BC, simply means “rule by the people”; demos (people) and kratos (rule). On the other hand, the word politics means the “science of government”, which gets its connotation from the name of Aristotle’s book, “Ta Politika”. However, it appears that our elected representatives have redefined these terms, because of which a vacuum persists in our democratic system, leaving it both vulnerable and weak. In today’s Pakistan, politics connotes the appeasement of one’s party leadership; the more vocal and aggressive one is in rebutting a point asserted by a political opponent, ...

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Has the NAB Ordinance 2019 eased the process of accountability or hindered it?

A long overdue National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Amendment Ordinance was enacted by the government on the 27th of December, 2019.  As expected, it became the most discussed topic in the coming week. The promulgation of the ordinance was followed by a flood of misinformation regarding its contents and the nature of the amendments. The media and the opposition strongly criticised it, using a plethora of derogatory terms, none more so than the Pakistan People’s Party which termed it the “mother of all NROs” insinuating that it had essentially axed the accountability drive. On the other hand, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf ...

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Salman Sufi vs the Govt of Pakistan: The fight to safeguard our privacy

A series of disturbing incidents related to the invasion of people’s privacy have recently come to light. In some cases  like the Balochistan University incident, students were blackmailed after compromising footage was recorded through concealed CCTV cameras installed in the bathrooms. If this was not bad enough, the latest victims of a breach of privacy were unsuspecting women in Sheikhupura who were secretly video recorded while they were giving birth. The hospital staff then used the videos to blackmail the women. Thankfully the hospital was sealed and all the videos were taken into custody along with prominent staff.   Such incidents really force one to ponder ...

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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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Chief Justice Khosa: A legacy of valiant verdicts and judicial moderation

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa took oath as the 26th Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) after former CJP Mian Saqib Nisar’s retirement. Khosa, who was born in Dera Ghazi Khan in 1954, obtained his LLM from Queens College at Cambridge in 1978. After a lengthy legal practice, he was appointed as a judge of the Lahore High Court in May 21, 1998. When Musharraf imposed an emergency in 2007, Khosa was among the judges who refused to take oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO). By the time he was elevated to the Supreme Court as a judge in February 2010, ...

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Understanding Pakistan’s sexual harassment law – Part III

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 and part two here. ~ It took far too long but in 2010 Parliament passed the ‘Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act, 2010.’ Initially operating solely as a federal law, it was subsequently adopted as a provincial enactment through legislation such as the ‘Punjab Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace ...

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Has dynastic politics damaged democracy in Pakistan?

Strong electoral competition is imperative for a functioning democracy and it only increases if every individual has an equal right to contest and participate in politics. Theoretically and constitutionally, this right exists for every citizen, however, practically, this may not be the case. Among other socio-economic and political factors, the presence of dynasties in politics serves as an impediment in the quest for increased electoral competition. Political dynasties undermine the right of an individual to contest in an election on equal footing with other candidates. Dynastic politics is palpable across sectors, strata, and classes in rural and urban Pakistan. ...

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Will Pakistan’s lawyers get away with murder?

A lawyer, in essence, is an officer of the law and is therefore, bound by a solemn duty to adhere to a strict set of standards and ethics defined by the canon of professional conduct and etiquette of advocates. Additionally, lawyers are also expected to follow the rules and guidelines that are mentioned in the legal practitioners’ and bar councils’ rules. In short, they are that expected to exhibit behaviour congruent with someone who has been designated to uphold and protect the rule of law. However, I admit with a heavy heart that the actions of the legal fraternity on ...

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Should we pretend to be surprised at Zardari’s release?

Former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) supremo, Asif Ali Zardari has been granted bail by the Islamabad High Court (IHC). A two member bench of the IHC, which comprised of Justice Athar Minhullah and Justice Amir Farooq, granted bail to Zardari on medical grounds. Zardari, who was taken into custody by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) earlier in July, had already been admitted to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences previously where he was under treatment for diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Zardari’s bail did not come as a surprise, especially after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was given bail on ...

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