Stories about laws

To eat or not to eat: If you support the ban on eating publically in Ramazan, your faith is weak

Ramazan is a one of the holiest months known to all Muslims. In fact, fasting in Ramazan stands as one of the five most important pillars of Islam; it is an essential act which makes up the religion. There are some very clear guidelines on how to act during this month in order for a person’s fast to be accepted and counted as successful. It is believed that during the fast, one should abstain from all bad deeds. A person fasting should not indulge in arguments and disputes nor use obscene language; should not show bad temper, should be ...

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Why Taimoor Raza’s death sentence does not come as a surprise in Pakistan

Last week, an anti-terrorism court in Bahawalpur gave 30-year-old Taimoor Raza a death sentence for allegedly blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) on social media. The verdict left many stunned since it was the first time a death sentence has been given to someone for their actions online. Yet, despite it being a shocking legal decision, it was not a surprising one. At least not for those of us who have been keeping up with the country’s constantly evolving crackdown on its citizens’ cyberspace activities. For years now, activists, politicians, and journalists have bemoaned the many ways that Pakistan’s antiquated blasphemy laws can be abused. Whether it is ...

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Legally speaking, Shafqat Hussain can be executed

The case of Shafqat Hussain has been in the lime light for many days now; much has been written about the circumstances surrounding it. If we browse through social media regarding this issue, conflicting opinions are found, ranging from the very typical “propaganda by foreign funded NGOs” to the more realistic “Shafqat killed a child so he should be hanged too” and many in between. But most people seem to be confused about how the juvenile justice system in Pakistan works. Things are virtually the same on electronic media; some are calling for a retrial on the plea of juvenility over the allegedly forced confession through torture ...

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Interfaith gestures: Moral placebos or progress?

On November 14, 2014, Muslims prayed at the National Cathedral in Washington DC. South Africa’s US Ambassador, Ebrahim Rasool, gave a sermon and declared that, “never again must there be intolerance towards Christians or any other faith,” and media observers heralded this breakthrough in interfaith relations, though not all cheered. The prayers were interrupted by a heckler screaming that America was “founded on Christian principles”. Reverend Franklin Graham described the event as “sad”. Dr Sebastian Gorka at Breitbart.com accused the Muslim Brotherhood of taking over the cathedral, inexplicably bringing in the Armenian genocide during the Ottoman Empire; all this in the ...

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Shameful but true: Pakistan laws remain those of our British overlords

It sounds like something out of ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’. Pakistan, in the scheme of things, is a young country. But the laws which govern it are old. Very old. Consider, for example, the country’s criminal law known as the Pakistan Penal Code. It was enacted in 1860 by the British Raj, Lord Macaulay. It was earlier known as the Indian Penal Code but was renamed after the partition in 1947. It was considered as the Code of Criminal Procedure, the regulation which regulates the functioning of all criminal courts in Pakistan, which was enacted in 1898. Other laws include –           The ...

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Death sentences for rape in India, ‘cutting grass’ for rapists in Kenya?

In the wake of the tragic Delhi rape incident last year, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had stated, “Violence against women must never be accepted, never excused, never tolerated. Every girl and woman has the right to be respected, valued and protected.” These proved to be shallow words as the story of Kenyan gang rape victim surfaced last month. ‘Liz’ the victim was gang raped by six men, three of whom were students at schools near her own. Brutalised and unconscious, they threw her into a pit-latrine 12 feet deep. She had broken her back but still managed to crawl up ...

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Skimpy clothing in Saudi Arabia? If you’re in a compound, sure!

I remember watching a movie a couple of years ago, called Kingdom, the plot of which centred around an armed assault on a Saudi Aramco housing compound. For those who are not aware of the oil and gas industry, Saudi Aramco is a Saudi Arabian state-owned oil company, which has exclusive rights of oil extraction in the country. At the moment, Saudi Aramco is the biggest oil exporter in the world. The movie Kingdom was released in 2007 and that was my first exposure to the life-style followed in the housing compounds of this company. Last week I got a chance to actually visit a ...

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Prayer leader tries to rape 3-year-old: Just another day in Pakistan

We have all read the headlines:  a neighbour held for child rape in Faisalabad, two teenage girls raped and shot dead in Gujranwala and the latest in the never-ending list of gruesome crimes – the horrific attempt of a prayer leader to rape and kill a three-year-old child while she was at a seminary to study. Such revolting treatment of children in our homeland certainly makes everyone feel sick to their stomachs but one wonders what allowed such a shameful rape culture to prevail? There have been 2,713 rape cases registered since January 2012 according to research by the Awaz Foundation Centre ...

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Dubai: Look beyond the glitter to see the sorrow of migrant workers

Dubai has undergone a massive transformation, from a fishing and pearl diving centre on the shores of the gulf, to an ultra-modern city-state of today in a matter of just a few decades. Modern Dubai is a cosmopolitan society with a wide range of attractions. Its architecture is entering the realms of impossible construction and the sort of life of great opulence and grandeur it offers seems almost unrivaled. Dubai wished to undertake extremely interesting and intriguing projects in the past couple of years: Dubai Land – a vast landscape of leisure; Hydropolis – an underwater hotel; The Cloud – a city built ...

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Justice for the tribals of Fata

The latest trend on Twitter has been to tweet about the plight of the tribals. This came about as a result of the death of 17 locals (five of them were from one household and many of whom were children), who died in a rescue operation in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Following this, the tribals brought their bodies to Peshawar, to stage a protest in front of the Governor House. Hoping to stage a quiet, peaceful protest like the one witnessed in Quetta, to the shock of the protesters, instead of negotiating with them, the provincial government officials opened fire on them and unleashed ...

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