Stories about corruption

When the Okara police made a father and son rape each other

It was one of those foreboding nights; the power had gone out and I was sitting on the roof on my charpai. With the atmosphere already grim from stories of jinn possessions and cannibal witches, my cousin launched into a narrative about the increasing number of violent crimes in the area and the complete and utter ineffectiveness of the police, who seemed more and more interested in exacting bribes and satisfying their sadistic tendencies. As the discussion grew heated, I discovered the true extent of the latter. Police in our area had become notorious for brutalising their captives no matter what the crime or proof of ...

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Capital punishment in Pakistan’s legal system: Where is the justice?

During 2007-2012, Pakistan executed 171 death penalties and sentenced 1,497 prisoners to death. We compete with countries like Iraq and Iran; both countries do not principally champion human rights. We only have China to beat. If it offers any comfort, there is a great deal of ground to cover. In 2008, the president of Pakistan announced a moratorium. After that, death sentences were given but not executed. Last year Muhammad Husain’s execution in Mianwali Jail brought an end to the restraint the government had observed. At present, Pakistan hands down capital punishment for 27 different crimes. The code of conduct of the Bar of England ...

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Why Karachi police fails to convict its criminals

Karachi is at siege by an array of criminals such as the Taliban and from splinter groups with political support. Over 2,200 people were victims of homicide in the city last year – the highest number in nearly two decades. Yet relatively only a few of those killings were successfully investigated and prosecuted. Ali Sher Jakhrani, a legal advisor to the police, says that over the last few years, about 23% of murder investigations led to a conviction.  A 2011 report by Pakistan’s Human Right Commission put the number as low as 10%. The upsurge of violence in the city has led ...

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Why do pickpockets go scot-free?

Embarking on an assignment to investigate a crime, I became the victim of a pickpocket. These days, the twin cities are in the grip of this age-old social evil plaguing our society, especially the poor vulnerable class using public transport. Though I have had the experience of falling victim to pickpockets many a times, this time it was coupled with embarrassment. More often than not, it is old men, women, pensioners, careless youth and the salaried passengers who become the target of the expert pickpockets. The last time, they had taken away all the cash I had on me, my cell ...

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SITE: When industrialists are forced to work in a ‘pigsty’

Ironically, the largest sty in the world is located in Pakistan. In fact it is in Karachi, known as Sindh Industrial Trading Estate (SITE) Karachi. It is an industrial estate with over 3,000 industries, shops and warehouses. SITE is managed by a quasi-government organisation called SITE Ltd while the ‘tenants’ are represented by SITE Association of Industry. But why is this estate that contributes approximately 28% to the nation’s treasury dubbed as a mere ‘sty’? The answer lies in the tour of this 4,500-acre estate. I once wrote a satirical letter to editor that USA was looking for Osama bin Laden (OBL) ...

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Echoes of a ‘Naya Pakistan’

You burnt my house, but I stood still and said nothing, You raped my sister and murdered my brothers, but my lips remained numb, You starved my family, slowly and painfully, but I stayed silent.   Bullets were my grain and blood my water, it was the way, and I followed you mutely, You built golden palaces upon bones and ashes, and I laboured away for you, I watched my father die, cut by cut, his honesty reducing him to a beggar, but I said nothing.   My son was shot last night; his blood still flows on broken streets, but I remained silent, I watched as you ...

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I was asked to rig the ballot as a polling officer in 2008

In the general elections of 2008, I was assigned the duty of managing a polling station. It was the first time that I was summoned (of course unwillingly) to conduct polling in a remote village area. I knew this job was not a piece of cake and I prepared myself for anything unexpected. Since I did not have any strong connections, I was obliged to do the job. One day before the polling, I was called in court to collect the polling material and meet with the rest of the staff members. My court orders clearly mentioned that I had the ...

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What the Islamabad police did to me and my friend …

I am not a regular blogger and I don’t usually write. This is the first time that I’m using this platform to get my point across and I hope it works. My message is for a wider audience, for it to be helpful to many citizens, especially naïve teenagers.   Last Friday at around 10pm, I was standing with one of my female friends on Margalla Road in sector F-6. We were munching on crisps while standing and chatting when out of nowhere an Islamabad Police patrol vehicle stopped by. Three police guys, two from the Elite Force in their skin tight black ...

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No lamination paper, thus no passports for any Pakistani citizen

“May I help you?” asked the lady behind the counter.  “Yes, I’m here to renew my driver’s license,” said my husband candidly.    “May I see your passport and proof of your legal residence in the United States?” “Yes, here they are.” The lady glanced at my husband’s passport which had expired in March but still had a valid visa on it. My husband had applied for the renewal of his passport way back in January and by mid-April, we still had no news about it, except that our government had run out of lamination paper – seriously, it’s true. His passport was stamped ...

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Agro farm issues: Pakistan’s very own political FarmVille

Around the world, banks, leasing agencies and recovery firms are despised for the swiftness with which they come to collect on unpaid loans or breaches of contract. People complain about how their unique circumstances were not considered by the agencies when they appeal for leniency. Yet, at the end of the day, this is what keeps those companies ticking over. Plus, ‘borrowing’ something with no intention of giving it back is a form of fraud. Fortunately, so is providing loans to people who cannot pay them off. Unfortunately, while poor borrowers get punished, predatory lenders usually get off scot free. In December, ...

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