Stories about legal system

An open letter to CJP Saqib Nisar: If a prime minister can be put behind bars, why not Rao Anwar?

Respected Mr Saqib Nisar, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Supreme Court, During the last few years, the Supreme Court has sprouted as the only ray of hope for the people of Pakistan. The dismal state of daily affairs has been going unnoticed for decades but the current Supreme Court’s swift responses have truly won people over and given all of us hope. Suo moto action taken in cases that were not heading anywhere or taken when something truly important happened is an indication of our justice system improving. There are a number of instances that are truly worth mentioning and deserve massive ...

Read Full Post

Miscarriage of justice: For Khadija Siddiqui, justice was delayed and denied

Shah Hussain’s May 25th ‘acquittal’ in the Khadija Siddiqui case has led to public outrage. People’s faith in the criminal justice system seems to be shattered yet again. In 2016, Khadija was attacked by a helmet adorned assailant multiple times, 23 times to be precise, with a knife. On July 29, 2017, a magistrates’ court convicted Shah, her classmate at law school, of attempted murder and criminal hurt (Sections 324 and 337 of the Pakistan Penal Code) and sentenced him to seven years in prison. In March, 2018, a session’s court reduced the sentence to five years, and last week, the Lahore ...

Read Full Post

Salman Haider cares more about Pakistan than any of his critics do!

Pakistan is in the international spotlight and once again for all the wrong reasons. Three weeks have passed and yet there has been no news of the whereabouts of the abducted liberal bloggers. What’s been making the news instead, is the vicious campaign against those bloggers and those supporting it. The main weapon is the allegation of ‘blasphemy’ which is now hurled at activists like Jibran Nasir as well. Charges of blasphemy are supplemented with accusations of treason against the state. These bloggers have so far not been brought to court despite the fact that there are laws governing the ‘crimes’ ...

Read Full Post

Today I have been recognised, not as a Hindu in Pakistan, but as a Pakistani Hindu

The delayed Hindu Marriage Bill has passed and as anticipated it will bring a shelter of lee and glimmer of hope for many Hindu couples confronted by matrimonial issues. In its absence young, innocent women have been forcibly converted to Islam, widows have led unprivileged lives and there is no way of proving their marriage to claim their inheritance, married couples have faced harassment since they have no certificate proving their nuptials, and newly wedded couples have endured separation waiting for difficult documentation required to apply for immigration. Why is the registration of Hindu marriages important? First and foremost it establishes that Hindus enjoy ...

Read Full Post

Raping a 14-year-old and then refusing abortion, well done, India

Every 20 minutes, a woman in India is raped. India has the third highest instance of rape in the world (the first is United States). While this seems to be a scary statistic, there’s something even more poignant that can be taken from these numbers – people are reporting rape. The countries that fall under the top ranks of rapes ‘reported’ are developed countries such as Sweden, Belgium and Canada. A lot of countries are missing, not because rape does not occur there, but because rapes go unreported in those countries. It must be noted and clarified repeatedly that human rights and women protection laws are ...

Read Full Post

If our police force is above the system, then why have laws at all?

When a law enforcer killed a lawyer, a citizen of Pakistan, he did not just kill a human being, he also injured the already burnt and bruised body of the sick and dying ‘rule of law’. When the lawyers reacted by destroying state property and thrashing several individuals for they were colleagues of the culprit, they added insult to that injury. Yes there was a better, saner, less violent way to register their protest. But they weren’t protesting, they were venting out frustration and anger. They weren’t protesting against the murderer, who is an individual; they were expressing their contempt and ...

Read Full Post

Civil disobedience in Hong Kong: A lesson for Imran Khan

Hong Kong has recently seen a wave of peaceful protests organised by pro-democracy activists. These protests have been countered by the pro-Beijing rally, which demonstrated how divided the city is over this issue. In order to understand how this protest came about, one needs to step back and assess Hong Kong’s history with China. One country, two systems Hong Kong was a former British colony that was handed over to China in 1997. Since then, China has governed Hong Kong under the principle of ‘one country, two systems’, where Hong Kong – defined as a Special Administrative Region of China – is given a ...

Read Full Post

He killed her son, she spared his life

It was recently reported in The Guardian that during a public execution in Iran, 20-year-old Balal, who was convicted of killing his 18-year-old friend Abdollah Hosseinzadeh, had the noose around his neck when Abdollah’s mother stormed up to him, slapped him and then forgave him for murdering her son, halting the execution and saving his life. Photo: AFP Photo: Reuters As quoted by The Guardian, Balal’s mother hugged the grieving mother of the man her son had killed. The two women sobbed in each other’s arms – one because she had lost her son, the other because hers had ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

Man dead for falling in love: Parachinar is taking us back to the stone ages

A couple of weeks ago I read a blog post which delved into the rich prospects of the jirga system, its history and advantage to those who don’t have quick and easy access to the legal system in Pakistan. A couple of weeks ago, it made me ponder over my inflexibility towards accepting it as a system of justice – today I hold a strong stance against it. Having practiced in the courts of Pakistan, I understand first-hand the issues that the common man would face in his quest for legal justice; acute delays, unending legal costs and corruption within the ...

Read Full Post