Stories about jail

The endless fascination of a window

Windows are fascinating. Many adventures have started with a gaze, a deep alley, a train station, or an intriguing stranger. We all share the secret hope that there is something better, across the river or over the hill. A universal wish, that we were out there somewhere, and not on this side of the window. Yes, windows are fascinating. Why else do we, as schoolchildren, stare out at the sky, yearning for the bell signalling the end of class? Cradling our chins in our pulpy hands, we looked out a pane of glass and let our imagination drift as we awaited the ...

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When Pakistan’s political drama overshadowed its tragedy, again

The anti-climactic landing of deposed premier Nawaz Sharif in Lahore stood in strong contrast to the scores of supporters usurping the provincial capital in order to welcome him. Funnily enough, none of the leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) made it to the airport, or even near it. Their entire show of power to ‘welcome’ Nawaz was solely to flaunt their supporters and exhibit to the country that PML-N still holds strength in Punjab. Nawaz and daughter Maryam Nawaz both arrived in Lahore at around 8:48pm last night, and videos from fellow passengers were being played on repeat on ...

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Jibran Nasir’s defiance of power and the proverbial slap heard all across Pakistan

A slap is the ultimate insult. It demeans a person; humiliates them. While it’s physically not as painful, the psychological and emotional wounds are much deeper and agonising. The manner in which Mohammad Jibran Nisar was dragged, slapped and bundled in the police van yesterday, on the orders of a Sindh High Court judge for “not giving way” to his vehicle, is symptomatic of the fascism our society has faced for thousands of years in one form, shape or the other. The CCTV footage should be made public to verify what @MJibranNasir is saying & to punish the errant protocol officer of #SHC ...

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Sanju is not the best film by Rajkumar Hirani but it is still definitely worth a watch!

There aren’t many films that you want to review after watching the teaser. When I was approached about reviewing Sanju, in my head I was saying, “Are you kidding me, of course I’ll do it!” Also, in my head, I was sure it was going to set the box office on fire and define new benchmarks of how to make a biopic. And I was not the only one. Yes, there aren’t many films that carry as many expectations as Rajkumar Hirani’s Sanju did. The challenge for someone like Hirani is how to surpass what he has already made and how ...

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If you want to survive in Pakistan, don’t stop at the red light!

A few years back, I stopped at a red light and my car was hit in the rear by a taxi driver. A crowd soon gathered and a traffic policeman came over and blamed me for the accident. “You’re not supposed to stop at traffic signals, even if the light is red,” he said. “You should slow down, look left and right and go across without getting hit, or hitting another car.” “But what about the traffic rules?” I protested. He laughed contemptuously. “Rules are made to be broken. If everyone followed the rules, the country would collapse.” By this time, the crowd was baying for ...

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Lessons from Nelson Mandela

“I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” This historic roadmap  refers to the most celebrated statesman and visionary leader of the preceding century – Nelson Mandela. He is recognised both nationally and globally as an archetype of the utmost endurance and a man who showed unprecedented ...

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A bus ride with a convict, a drug dealer and an old lady

Travelling can help an individual understand different aspects of society and it also gives one a clearer perspective about the world. Having said as much, when I left Lahore to visit my home town Sialkot, I did not have the faintest idea as to what was in store for me! I reached the terminal, just in time to board a bus leaving for Sialkot. The weather was pleasant, so I decided to travel in a non-air conditioned bus. Although I had never been in a non-air conditioned bus before, I thought that this would save me money and perhaps, I could enjoy the weather ...

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Sanaullah’s murder and a reminder of how our people have gone mad

Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah Ranjay assaulted by a cashiered Indian soldier in Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail on Friday, a day after Indian death row convict Sarabjit Singh breathed his last in Lahore, is dead. 52-year-old Sanaullah, who was in deep coma and on life-support system, died in a hospital in Chandigarh this morning. In an apparent retaliation to the death of Sarabjit Singh, who had been savagely beaten to sodden pulp by his fellow jail inmates a week before, Sanaullah was attacked allegedly by a pickaxe by Vinod Kumar, an Indian Army man sentenced to life in a murder case by a ...

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Sarabjit and Sanaullah: Politics over murders

The murder of Indian spy Sarabjit Singh inside Kot Lakhpat jail in Pakistan, the dastardly attack on Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah inside a Jammu jail and the foul manner in which the politicians of the two countries and especially electronic media whipped up the rhetoric, calling for the two nuclear armed countries to snap the ties after Sarabjit died, is a matter of grave concern and speaks a lot about the fragility of peace. More than just baying for each other’s blood -which has become a pattern for patriotism driven, hyper-nationalistic people- these two incidents reflect the existential threat posed by ...

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The innocent prisoners of Pakistan

Every few months, we hear more bad news coming out of a local jail. Inmates have been injured due to negligence on the part of the jail administration, and some have even lost their lives due to the jail staff’s apathy. Those that survive live in squalid conditions and are often victims of abuse at the hands of visitors to the jail. Even the most dangerous killers in the jail are afraid of visitors, cowering in fear at the sight of dozens of wide-eyed spectators, many of whom are armed with sticks and stones. Yet, the government takes no action against ...

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