Stories about court

Why I believe the jirga system should stay

We, as people, are very quick to jump to conclusions, form opinions, and criticise what we hear and see in the news. It may be something as trivial as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) holding talks with Tahirul Qadri, or the supposedly fake video that went viral showing the Taliban handing down 50 lashes to a girl in Swat who was found to be in violation of the Shariah law by the Taliban jirga. Very recently when a jirga in Balochistan declared 13 girls vani to settle a tribal feud, soon after television and social media were inundated with extreme views, some slammed the jirga system as ‘barbaric’, ‘medieval’ and an ...

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Bench strength

For litigants in the capital, the absence of a couple of judges has been deeply unsettling. The crisis at the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has left several plaintiffs in trouble. As such, the crisis is only a couple of months old, because the court has functioned smoothly since its establishment in 2010. On November 20, 2012, the terms of both Justice Noorul Haq N Qureshi and Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui expired. However, President Asif Ali Zardari did not confirm two additional judges for the court. So there are currently only three judges serving the Islamabad High Court, including Chief Justice Iqbal ...

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Baba Jan’s detention may be lawful but it is not right

One should read the story of Baba Jan Hunzai, if they’re still wary of claims that public administration in Pakistan, particularly away from Punjab and urban Sindh, is colonial in nature. Baba Jan is a rights activist and leader of the Progressive Youth Front (PYF). He and two more youth activists are detained in Gilgit-Baltistan jail for almost a year now; two others were only recently released on bail. Their crime is agitation against the police for killings of a man and his son at a demonstration in August 2011. This was to demand due compensation for the affected families of ...

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Husain Haqqani’s story

Perhaps no individual in Pakistan has had a rise as steep as Husain Haqqani. As an ordinary journalist, he climbed the ladder of success to become first a respected academic and then Pakistan’s envoy to the United States within a couple of decades. Before becoming an ambassador, he was a staunch critic of the Pakistan Army and its US support. His books, opinion pieces and articles in various newspapers are ample evidence of his pro-democratic mindset. The notorious Memogate scandal, accusing Haqqani of seeking US help against the Pakistan military unfolded in a very strange and unbelievable way. As a ...

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The insignificance of judicial commissions

Yesterday was the first death anniversary of Osama bin Laden. Pakistanis assumed the role of victims following his killing due to the unprecedented incursion launched by foreign troops on our soil. But what remains a matter of concern is the knowledge that we were host to the world’s most wanted person. The incident jolted the world, but Pakistan in particular, because it added yet another feather to the capful of bad impressions Pakistan leaves on the world community. A judicial commission was formed to determine if negligence led to the national embarrassment. A year later, the commission has not finalised anything ...

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It’s the law, stupid!

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s conviction for refusing to reopen a corruption investigation against the president consequently made him the first serving prime minister in Pakistan’s history to be convicted by a court. In a country like Pakistan, the list of firsts seems never ending. Regrettably, most firsts don’t give our people an opportunity to gloat. And yet yesterday, the Supreme Court gave us a first we can, or let me rephrase, we should take pride in. Some would question my assertion of believing that we have good reason to revel in our prime minister’s conviction. But this is bigger than ...

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A reporter’s eye: Inside the Supreme Court

Among heavy contingents of law enforcement agencies and hovering helicopters, a horde of people marched towards the Supreme Court yesterday. As they crossed countless walk-through security gates with special entry cards in their hands, they looked excited about catching a glimpse of the soon-to-be-convicted prime minister. While it is totally in keeping with local tradition to create such a scene, at the contempt hearing yesterday, goras (foreigners) too joined us at the forefront. Inside courtroom number 4, the environment was electric. All seats in the courtroom were filled hours before the proceedings began. Besides lawyers, the room was packed with federal ...

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Prime Minister Gilani: Gone in 30 seconds

The pictures were baffling. Once a verdict is announced and the gavel comes pounding down, a convict is supposed to be handcuffed and bullied away by a team of hardnosed officers. This one was waving his unrestrained hands and ushered into safety by his colleagues. Those guilty of serious crimes serve endless sentences languishing behind bars, gripping them as if they were the only ones listening. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani served his in the air conditioned comfort of courtroom number four between the moments when Justice Nasirul Mulk uttered the short order and seven pattaywalas (court ushers) in starched white uniforms ...

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Did you buy Mohammad Amir’s story?

I want to. I really want to. I want to believe that Mohammad Amir is an innocent 18-year-old boy who was set up by his friend and captain – his fixer. But I can’t. There are a lot of things about Mohammad Amir’s interview that are bothering me. I feel like we are being told a story that is not true. I feel like we, Pakistani cricket fans, are being lied to… again. Since the interview aired, I’ve heard a wide variety of thoughts from the general public and Twitterati. One section feels sorry for the kid and believes that he was truly ...

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Missing prisoners: Skeletons with urine bags

For many the media is a watchdog, but some want to make it a scapegoat to achieve their short-term personal goals. The prevailing crises in the country have also increased the challenges for the media to maintain its credibility and impartiality. I have no words to highlight the threats made to media people by the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, or certain terrorist groups. But today I still have something to say. One of the country’s top lawyers, defending the prime minister in a contempt of court case, also accused the media of negatively portraying the issue. “Don’t get into this controversy, they are ...

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