Stories about constitution

Mr President, make a choice

We should appreciate the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) decision in President Asif Ali Zardari’s dual office case. And, we should hope that the president accepts LHC’s verdict, if he aims to end national conflicts and boost public confidence in the political leadership of the country. LHC ordered to restrict President  Zardari from conducting political activities at the Presidency.  The four-member bench headed by the LHC Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry mentioned in its 35-page decision that a president should be neutral. The verdict further declared that the presidency could not be used for political activities. Our political leaders need to understand that democracy ...

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My days as a manual labourer

Many of my friends don’t know this but I worked as a manual labourer in my early teenage years. I used to work several hours a day for just Rs20.  There weren’t any weekly off days nor were there any extra benefits. If you got sick or were unable to come to work for some reason you couldn’t imagine getting paid those days. In fact, you would end up spending money on a visit to the doctor just so you could get back to your life of servitude. I can only describe those working hours as restless, endless stress. Sometimes, it would be so hard that ...

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Small provinces have big dreams

Over the past few years people across the country have joined the debate on establishing smaller provinces. But there are constitutional, economic, ethnic and political problems with turning these dreams into realities. The ideas came to the fore after the renaming of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa started the debate about the creation of smaller provinces. The Hazara province The basis for this demand was purely ethnic as people claimed they were happy with the old name NWFP.  Protests on the streets for a new Hazara province claimed seven lives. But a deep look into the social, ethnic and political set up of the Hazara Division ...

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What does the future hold for Egypt?

While I do not want to detract from the amazing achievement of the Egyptian people, their future is still uncertain. Who will fill the power vacuum? Omar Suleiman is not a favourite Touted as a replacement by Mubarak and tacitly supported by the US, Omar Suleiman clearly isn’t popular. This is hardly a surprise, given that he was head of Egypt’s intelligence agency (you know, the one that allegedly tortures lots of people) and, according to Wikileaks, told Israel (who love him very much) that he’d like “Gaza to go hungry, but not starve”. Not exactly a hero. Who is Mohamed ElBaradei? ...

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After Taseer: The birth of a liberal movement

After Salmaan Taseer’s assassination, a clear line of distinction was drawn between the liberals and conservatives of Pakistan. This assassination will change the course of Pakistan’s history, and this is not an exaggeration. The outspoken Governor had flaws, but hypocrisy was not one of them. He made a promise to the minorities of Pakistan and fought for it till his last breath. Whether his demand was legitimate according to the constitution of Pakistan or the Islamic law is beyond the scope of this article. Taseer has become a symbol for the liberals and Mumtaz Qadri for the rightists. The rightists ...

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Pakistan’s mullahpoly: My way or the highway

In Pakistan, it seems as though religious clerics have acquired a copyright over Islam, and are exercising this right in its full capacity, including its publication, adaptation, distribution and interpretation. I can safely say that most of us believe that Islam is a religion for all humanity and everyone has a right to learn and practice it. However, the custodians of Islam in this country like to follow and impose their self proclaimed rule. If “Islam Incorporated” was a company than religious fanatics would be the management. The creditors (Islamic sects) loan its goods and services; shareholders (madrassah owners) invest their ...

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Where is the suo moto notice for Aasia?

Our honourable Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has enough time to visit the Supreme Court at midnight to conduct meetings pertaining to hearsay reports on the government’s attempts to take down the judiciary, but he has not had the time to take notice (for days now) of a glaring issue in his own judicial system: the death sentence awarded to Aasia Bibi for blasphemy. I would like the Chief Justice to answer why he is hesitant to take suo moto notice on this rather critical issue which Amnesty International has lambasted, the Pope has appealed on and our own President ...

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Religious debate has muddied land reforms

It seems that for every step we take forward, we take two steps back. Pakistan has been unsuccessfully struggling with the concept of land reform for decades. As other Muslim societies move forward, ours is still debating whether or not the concept is Islamic. The Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan’s recent condemnation of the MQM land reform bill is unsurprising, but frustrating. Keeping in mind that our constitution is not secular and religious hurdles to legislation will always be present, religious debates over certain issues have outlasted our tolerance for them. As long as our religious parties are populated mostly by political stakeholders, rather ...

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Musharraf’s vain rhetoric

On October 1st the former president of Pakistan General (retd) Pervez Musharraf launched his political party ‘All Pakistan Muslim League’. According to him his 300,000 fans gave him the strength to return to Pakistan. Musharraf while talking to media apologized for his mistakes that he made in the last years of his rule. He launched his party in London, which on first instance gave an impression as he was planning to run his political business from overseas like a self-exiled MQM leader, Altaf Hussain. Musharraf asserted that due to threats to his life he couldn’t hold the launch in ...

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In defense of the status quo

Right now, news of a possible regime change is dominating the mainstream media. Active enthusiasm in some quarters shows that euphoria after the elections of  February 18, 2008 has fully subsided and has been replaced by plain disgust. If the demographics of the wary public are to be taken into consideration, it is again some sections of the affluent middle class which are pressing for the regime change and are ready to support even unconstitutional means. However, this time the buck does not seem to stop at regime change as a sizeable number either wants democracy to be completely purged or at least temporarily ...

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