Stories about judiciary

Does judicial bias really favour women who cover themselves?

The tendency to judge others is a widely prevalent phenomenon in humans. Unfortunately, judicial bias may have significant consequences for the alleged perpetrator, especially in sexual assault cases. After all, neutrality and impartiality are of utmost importance in such cases in order to ensure a fair trial. The Supreme Court of Pakistan defined bias in Asif Ali Zardari’s case, reported as Pakistan Legal Decisions (PLD) 2001 SC 568, as: “‘Bias’ has been held synonymous with ‘partiality’, and strictly to be distinguished from ‘prejudice’. Under particular circumstances, the word has been described as a condition of mind, and has been held to ...

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70 years of Pakistan and two successful elected governments – should we celebrate democracy?

Democracy is a system of procedural consistency, which is perhaps why the reason Pakistan has failed to strengthen its democracy over the past few decades is because it has been marred by inconsistencies. As the government fulfils its five-year tenure once again, we see the emergence of a new dawn, something unimaginable even a decade ago. For the first time in our 70-year history, two democratic governments have successfully completed their entire five-year terms and engaged in a smooth transition. It has become a common habit for people to criticise our “desi democratic principles”. And why not, they ask? ...

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In the absence of proper governance, is Chief Justice Saqib Nisar Pakistan’s ‘saviour’?

Pakistanis are an opinionated people; from fruit vendors to domestic workers, all are as articulate in politics as any academic or political analyst. But these opinions vary, and they vary drastically on almost every major issue confronting the country. Be it Malala Yousafzai, Imran Khan or even kite flying, we hold extreme, polar opposite views on each matter.  The recent judicial activism of the Supreme Court, demonstrated by the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar, is no exception. There are, as usual, two sides – one fervently supports the actions of the Chief Justice, while at the other end ...

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Public execution only kills the rapist, not the problem

The Senate Standing Committee on Interior has proposed an amendment in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) to publicly hang convicts found guilty of kidnapping, murdering or raping children less than 14 years of age. The Criminal Law Amendment Act 2018, if passed, would amend the PPC’s Section 364-A (kidnapping or abducting a person under the age of 14), which currently states, “Whoever kidnaps or abducts any person under the [age of 14] in order that such person may be murdered or subjected to grievous hurt… or to the lust of any person [sic] shall be punished with death.” If amended, the words “by hanging publicly” ...

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There could only be one Asma Jahangir, Pakistan’s valiant moral compass

Last year, I wrote an article praising a person who I consider to be my most favourite Pakistani, Ms Asma Jahangir. In that article, I wrote how courageous she was and how she had taken principled liberal stances throughout her life. Due to this, her support for any political party or institution was not constant. She supported the judiciary during the lawyers’ movement and was its fiercest critics later on when she found out that judiciary under former Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Chaudhry was overstepping its constitutional authority. She supported Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) point of view ...

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As PPP dries up in Punjab, Firdous Awan looks towards PTI’s (hypocritical) greener pastures

In a recent development, the former Member of National Assembly (MNA) from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Ms Firdous Ashiq Awan has joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). This is not the first time Awan has changed her loyalties, as she had originally been elected on the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) ticket in 2002 and then joined PPP in 2008 just before the elections. Her most recent switch indicates two things. First, the claims of PTI of representing something new and of being a harbinger of change have little truth in them. Second, PPP’s fortunes in Punjab are grim and it is doubtful that it is going to make any impact in ...

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Is IG Sindh trying to promote gun culture by rewarding a man for killing a criminal?

Some days ago, Sindh Inspector General (IG) AD Khawaja lauded and rewarded a Karachi resident for killing a robber. This seemed like an old West Hollywood movie where bounty hunters get rewarded for killing criminals. He further stated that citizens should possess weapons to defend themselves. I wonder if this statement depicts how weak our judiciary is or how helpless those whose job is to defend us are. Moreover, this statement comes at a time following a recent incident that shook people with horror – Karachi residents beat a street robber until he was unconscious and then dumped him in a sewerage hole to ...

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Nawaz Sharif going once.. going twice!

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was recently put on sale on eBay by one frustrated Pakistani who was sick of all the nuisances cluttering up his life. The move was applauded by many world over but mostly in Pakistan, and it occurred to me that this ‘spring-cleaning’ of our country should continue well beyond the realm of prime ministers that have time and again failed to deliver. Here are ‘for sale’ advertisements for other aspects of Pakistan: 1. The judiciary Sindh High CourtPhoto: Online The corrupt judiciary is only good for long marches and works with a special starter key of either monetary or political clout. ...

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Why did PML-N let Musharraf go?

Those who had anticipated the former military dictator lingering behind bars, for monopolising power through unlawful acts for nearly a decade, are reminded of Manto’s masterpiece, Naya Qanoon. The story was written during the British rule in India in the midst of the promise of limited government under the Indian Act of 1935. Ustad Mangu, an ordinary, disillusioned tonga driver in Lahore attempted to test the new law by responding to racial discrimination. Mangu was arrested for beating an English man but kept screaming, “New constitution, Naya Qanoon!” The police retorted, “What nonsense are you talking? What Naya Qanoon? It’s the same old constitution, you fool.” Mangu was ...

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Why Tort Law needs to be implemented in Pakistan

Tort law is a civil wrong that one commits towards another which results in legal liability regardless of a contractual relationship. So, for example, if a restaurant serves their customer expired food, they can face legal liability since they have a “duty of care” to all those who consume food on their premises. In fact every single law student will be well-versed in Donaghue v Stevenson (1932), a case which harks back to before World War II. The seminal case laid the basic foundations for negligence law all thanks to a dead slug in a ginger beer bottle. Two friends met ...

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