Stories about lawyers

Remembering Asma Jahangir: A democrat in a country that loved dictators

“Pakistan cannot live in isolation. We cannot remain shackled while other women progress.” – Asma Jahangir A year ago, when the news came in that Jahangir had passed away, I felt like I no longer recognised the legal system I had worked so hard to become a part of. To understand why, let me tell you a little bit about who Jahangir was. Jahangir was a woman who was born a democrat in a country that loved dictators. The Convent of Jesus and Mary may have been the first to discover this. The Convent had a system for selecting their head girl ...

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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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Who is atop the chain of command?

There wasn’t any challenge they could not surpass, The best of the breed, at the top of their class, Who knew the importance of hard, honest toil; Didn’t waste their time, burned the midnight oil. They went on to excel as professionals, engineers, Doctors and lawyers with promising careers.   While those who were ordinary, average at best, Graduated and did well in the civil service test, To eventually become the heady bureaucrats, Who catch all the smart professionals like gnats. In a web of paper work to drive them insane, And control their existence with utmost disdain.   The clique of students who in the same class, Despite family influence just managed to ...

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Law schools in Pakistan may be operational but they are not good enough to produce good lawyers

It would be no exaggeration to state that the legal profession is one of the oldest and most prestigious professions around the world. Most of the world leaders who have dominated the political scene belong to the legal profession, whether it is Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Mahatama Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, or others. From this, we can understand that it is no coincidence that most of the world leaders acquired a legal education without knowing its significance. The importance of a legal education can also be gauged from the fact that it acts as a supply as well as fuel to the legal profession and the state ...

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Today, Jinnah and Allama Iqbal’s noble profession is being held hostage by rogue elements

The practice of law is considered a noble profession in every society, pursued by those for whom reading, writing and interpreting sentences, words and even punctuation marks is second nature. Lawyers breathe life into the sacrosanct Constitution and other legislated statutes, construing them in different ways when presenting their cases before judges. The reverence for legal practice lies precisely within this sophistication. Today, the profession of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal is being held hostage by a few rogue elements that have slowly crept into the system. Misbehaving with judges and locking them up in their chambers is now a ...

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Series 7: Dada Baba and me Part 3 ‘The downward spiral’

Dada Baba’s funeral was carried out with immense honour and respect. I still do not remember clearly who did all the arrangements, where the money came from, who did what and why. All I was aware of was the fact that, for the first time in my life, I was alone. The only person whose life and presence I took for granted, the person of immense grit and strength, my father, my best friend, my mentor, and practically speaking ‘my entire life’ had left me alone. In between a large gathering of black suits, white shalwar kameez, flowing tears, distant whispers, heavy hearts, and ...

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Be Pakistani, support the Pakistan Protection Ordinance

Leadership has never been our strong suit. When it’s time to step up to the challenge and rally the nation on a certain path, our leadership crashes; it always falls short of selling an idea and forming a narrative. Similar is the case with the Pakistan Protection Ordinance (PPO), which has fallen victim to proponents on the left who argue that the ordinance violates human rights and may be a prelude to governmental tyranny. Sure, point taken that it represents such implications. But this ordinance was made to bypass the parliament not because Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is in the process of ...

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What next for our men in black?

Rarely has a man in Pakistan polarised opinion so regularly. To his supporters, he is a superhero who steps in every time things start to fall apart in Pakistan. To his critics, he is power hungry and has overstepped his authority multiple times. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is set to retire on December 11, 2013. Or at least that is what the plan is so far. In a country like Pakistan, plans seem to fall apart more often than not. However if all sense prevails, Iftikhar Chaudhry will sleep on the night of December 11, 2013, knowing that he won’t need ...

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Why Karachi police fails to convict its criminals

Karachi is at siege by an array of criminals such as the Taliban and from splinter groups with political support. Over 2,200 people were victims of homicide in the city last year – the highest number in nearly two decades. Yet relatively only a few of those killings were successfully investigated and prosecuted. Ali Sher Jakhrani, a legal advisor to the police, says that over the last few years, about 23% of murder investigations led to a conviction.  A 2011 report by Pakistan’s Human Right Commission put the number as low as 10%. The upsurge of violence in the city has led ...

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Lawless lawyers:From heroes to hoodlums

The black coats have been Musharraf’s most potent opponents since his return, just as they were during his time in office. And while it is admirable that they have taken the initiative when others seemed somewhat hesitant, the ugly scenes witnessed in Rawalpindi on Tuesday would suggest that they have gone a step, or several, too far. Musharraf’s supporters had reportedly turned up in large numbers as he appeared before a court in connection with the Benazir Bhutto murder case. Lawyers were also present, although they claim not in the same numbers. After some sloganeering, a melee broke out between the two ...

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