Stories about capital punishment

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will not let Harry Potter fans down

When I first heard about a Harry Potter spin off prequel, I was a bit sceptical about whether any other wizarding fantasy could fill up the wizarding cloaks left behind by Harry and the gang. But little did I know that JK Rowling has some more dazzling magic left for us muggles (or no-maj if you are American). From the get go, this imagination-tickling flick nostalgically took me back to the magical world of wizards and witches with James Newton Howard’s famed title theme and the symbolic silver fonts used in the opening title. Fantastic Beasts and Where to ...

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Of dirty politics, Cyril Almeida, Lal Masjid and Asia Bibi

The Supreme Court’s adjournment of Asia Bibi’s final hearing, the Lal Masjid warning of dire consequences of her release and Cyril Almeida, Dawn’s prominent columnist and purported inheritor of Ardeshir Cowasjee’s mantle, figuring on the Exit Control List, have all converged to test Pakistan’s status as a civil society based on the rule of law, equal protection of minorities, free speech and an independent press. The issue of Asia Bibi has no doubt inserted the government of Pakistan between a rock and a hard place, but it is precisely from where the present government can emerge with credibility or merely ...

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Would justice be served if Waseem is eventually executed? Maybe, not.

One of Qandeel Baloch’s most important legacies will remain her defiant and glamorous take down of patriarchy through her bold and feisty performances. In the aftermath of her brutal murder, there has been renewed debate around the law against honour killing and its intersection with the laws of Qisas and Diyat. Many Pakistanis are deeply concerned about laws that bypass legal process for a problematic and potentially arbitrary settlement (and that too) for the most heinous of all crimes – murder or a murder for honour. Even more so, people are concerned that this case will hit trial, will end ...

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Why I will not celebrate Mumtaz Qadri’s execution

The rumours had been floating around since the beginning of the year, but not many outside a close-knit group really knew when it would happen, if at all. Then, before his crusaders could get a whiff of what was on the cards, his family was called in one last time, and at some ungodly hour before dawn on Monday, the patron saint of religious violence – Mumtaz Qadri – was hung at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. As a recap for those of you who don’t know (and I suspect there will not be many): the man in question killed Salmaan Taseer – the Governor of ...

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Five legal milestones from 2015 that Pakistan should take pride in

With the Pakistan Protection Act, cybercrime bills and the 21st Amendment, it’s been a tough year for human rights. Yet our courts have been actively making progressive human rights decisions which require a more in depth consideration.  Here are five cases which represent good law: 1) Mumtaz Qadri versus The State Judgment by Asif Saeed Khan Khosa Supreme Court The Supreme Court’s judgment in Mumtaz Qadri’s case held that statements made by Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, though unsubstantiated, were criticisms of the blasphemy law, which is not blasphemy itself. Taseer had made allusions to it being a “Black Law” amended by an unrepresentative military dictator that had ...

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Salahuddin Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mujahid hangings: A case of ‘judicial murder’?

Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, a senior opposition leader and former minister in Khaleda Zia’s government, and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid of the Jamaat-e-Islami party were sent to the gallows last Sunday. The state of Bangladesh held them accountable for war crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence. The state’s actions have received widespread criticism from opposition parties and international human rights groups – not for their alleged war crimes, but in the way the entire trial was conducted. The defendants were not given a fair opportunity to produce their witnesses for their defence. The International Crimes Tribunal had awarded capital punishment to Chowdhury and Mujahid in October 2013. The Supreme Court of Bangladesh, ...

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Is Pakistan bold enough to give sex-offenders the death penalty?

A recent verdict of the Lahore High Court (LHC) has laid appropriate emphasis on the award of both criminal and civil compensation for rape victims. In the contemporary judgment of Nadeem Masood vs The State, Justice Anwarul Haq, while invoking Section 376 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), not only sentenced the convict to 20 years of imprisonment but also ordered the offender to pay compensation of Rs0.1 million to the victim and another one million rupees to the child born out of the rape. This judgement, however, comprises part of the population of less than five per cent of Pakistan’s rape cases that actually ...

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Is Morsi going to be Egypt’s Bhutto?

Egypt and Pakistan may not have much in common when it comes to culture, cuisine, and heritage, but when you look at their political landscape, a lot of commonalities spring up. My political alignment is exactly the opposite of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, but I admire him as a great public orator and a tactical politician. He was a rarity amongst the political circle of our country, so much so that the biggest political party of Pakistan is still banking on his legacy to lure in voters. In regard to his personal charisma, I think Imran Khan is the only one who comes close to his ranks. ...

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Saudi Arabia: Holy hypocrites

I was born in Saudi Arabia and am very closely accustomed to the grossly odd laws that exist within the nation, namely, and perhaps most famously, that women are not allowed to drive, that women have to don the black abaya when in public and that there is strict segregation between men and women most stringently enforced by the muttawas or religious police.  I distinctly remember a muttawa once giving my mother a religious lecture over how she should contain her eight-year-old daughter and stop her from running around in case she attracted men. A complete absurdity indeed but my mother ...

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K-P schools, taking ‘guns’ into their own hands

It is almost been a month since December 16, 2014. A new year has begun, the political diatribes are proceeding in full swing, the civil-military nexus is repeatedly flashed across screens, the debates on military courts and capital punishments are continuing, and this week, the schools have now reopened across Pakistan. However, parents are asking the question: Are our children safe? It is a terrible thing to ask that question. You are not sending your child to war; you are sending them to school. To sit and wonder whether terrorists will barge into your child’s school and indiscriminately kill innocent young human beings, to ...

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