Stories about justice

Battered and silenced for standing up for education

Munir*, a young man from a poor village of Southern Punjab, is lost in the flow of his erratic thoughts while being bedridden for the last two months now. He starts telling his story, carrying a reminiscent look on his face,  “I decided to join my father after graduating, to help him run the only school in the village. The thing that brought me back was my father’s commitment to the cause of education – which he had been doing so all by himself for so many years.” Munir hails from a shabby village called Akbar Sahu, 216 miles south of Islamabad, ...

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Is mob justice the only option left?

“Robbers beaten up by people in xyz area,” “Police save and arrest robbers caught and beaten up badly by the people of the neighbourhood they were robbing,” “One robber dead and others badly injured when angry mob caught them running away after looting a house.” These are just a few of the headlines that I have come across on various news channels. Mob justice seems to have become the latest method of justice being meted out across Pakistan; I hadn’t realised how prevalent it was in Karachi until very recently. My initial reaction to mob justice was always a shake of the ...

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My beautiful boys, my murderers

“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.” – Carl Sagan “We killed our mother because she was supporting them.” Read those words. Read them again. In fact, keep on reading them until you can find even the slightest hint of humanity in them. After all, they are the words from a son about his own mother. I have been doing that, in a desperate attempt to find at least some common ground between myself and these people. This was the line that ...

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When will the barbarity of beheading end in Saudi Arabia?

Savagery and barbarity still exists in the present era of enlightenment; where the days of ignorance of Arabia and the dark ages of Europe and the Roman era still lurk in the shadows of today. It is when a state sponsored beheading rears its ugly head that we are reminded of the remnants of brutality seen during the dark ages gone by, that we seem to have adopted today. In 2011, at least 82 executions were carried out in Saudi Arabia; more than triple the figure of at least 27 executions in 2010. In 2012, a similar number of people were executed. The ...

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Did Haider do justice to Shakespeare’s Hamlet?

William Shakespeare, in one way or another, is an inspiration for every writer. In Bollywood, there is only one director, Vishal Bhardwaj, who has always done justice to Shakespeare’s plots and has done exceptionally well in entertaining the audience. Omkara and Maqbool are good examples of this. This time again, Bhardwaj, along with Basharat Peer (a Kashmiri journalist), has penned down an adaptation of Shakespeare’s most ambitious play, Hamlet. After R… Rajkumar and Phata Poster Nikla Hero (the masala entertainers), Shahid Kapoor was offered perhaps the most complicated role of his acting career; a role that needed thorough understanding of the character, ...

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When a rape victim is ‘Outlawed in Pakistan’

Outlawed in Pakistan won an Emmy this year for Pakistan and this is a triumph that must be celebrated on many levels. Pulitzer Centre grantees Habiba Nosheen and Hilke Schellmann spent five years in making this 45-minute-long short film, exposing the inherently flawed justice system of Pakistan. It’s another addition to the success spree of alternate filmmaking in Pakistan, two years after Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy won an Academy award for her documentary. It’s also an endeavour to bring forth the severe violation of women rights and how women, from extremely opposite social and economic backgrounds, work together to empower women all ...

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Arjumand Hussain: Brave but lucky

If you go through the video of Rehman Malik being kicked off the plane, the following lines will resonate in your mind for a while. “We have taken it for 68 years. Are we going to take it for another 68 years?” If you were a passenger on the flight in question, your answer would probably be ‘no’. If you are the employers of Arjumand Hussain, the man who shot the video, then your answer would probably be different. Or at least that is the message the common man gets once he finds out that Hussain was fired a couple of days ago. As ...

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Yes, Senator Rehman Malik, you deserved to be booted off that plane!

There are times when something you dream of actually happens, like Senator Rehman Malik getting booted off that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight. Had anyone else been booted off this way it might not have had the same impact, but with Rehman Malik… it’s like being presented with a large, a very large, box of chocolates, a complete set of Harry Potter books (which are amazingly yet to be read), and a tonne of ice cream all at one go! Oh joy! My salams to the gentleman who took that stand. May you live long in a genuinely better Pakistan, with my prayers for ...

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Cut from the same cloth: Of Javed Hashmi and Imran Khan

“The army is behind Imran Khan”, said Makhdoom Javed Hashmi – one of Pakistan’s most celebrated politicians and a living saint to thousands of his followers. On September 2, Hashmi came out with startling revelations that Khan, the leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaaf (PTI), was allegedly acting on the military’s behalf. The proclamation sent shockwaves across the country as the realisation set in that one of Pakistan’s most popular politicians’ is an army errand boy. Hashmi became an unlikely saviour for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan’s deeply flawed democratic system, currently being challenged by Khan. Protests against the government have rocked ...

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Is Imran Khan being ‘democratically correct’?

The political storm that has stirred in Islamabad has left many stunned and reeling to see what lies ahead. Among this intricately complex political dilemma, many senior politicians have put on their mediation caps and tried to return to more chartered waters. But despite all efforts, the emboldened and resilient figure of Imran Khan has stood in the way, reiterating his poetic calls for justice and reform. Delivering those highly charged speeches, come rain or shine, he has shown his commitment to his cause that surpasses the usual, disengaged approach of most politicians. Apart from his individual qualities, his recent political decisions have ...

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