Stories about rule of law

Is Nawaz Sharif trying to prove he is above and beyond the law?

Last year’s Panama Paper leaks not only exposed the truth behind the corrupt and swindling ways of Nawaz Sharif but also the person he really is. It turns out that behind his false facade of being a selfless father, husband and brother, Nawaz is really nothing more than a self-involved actor who took our country for a ride. Furthermore, he claims to love nothing more than his countrymen and is quick to rise from the ashes like a phoenix (despite being ousted repeatedly), when this is anything but true. Last week, in a great twist of irony, Nawaz finally decided to take us on ...

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Religion? Kinship? Personal affinity? Money? – A conceptual understanding of how Pakistanis choose their leaders

Pakistan’s democratic fabric has been majorly impaired due to four military generals who systemised their totalitarian rule for over 40 years. This resulted in the corrosion of citizens’ civil and political liberties and rights and more so, to the deterioration of public institutions. Since Pakistan’s independence in 1947, state institutions have been meddling in governing processes and this involvement has raised serious questions about electoral competition, rule of law, the judiciary’s independence and accountability mechanisms. Military interventions and a lack of political organisations have majorly influenced the elections and citizens’ voting behaviour in the past as well. However, according to the limited election related scholarly work, there are a sundry of other social, cultural and political determinants that ...

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Why is Section 144 only shunning PTI’s voice?

On Thursday evening, during a peaceful protest held in Islamabad, the police stormed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) youth convention in Islamabad and arrested party workers. This has raised some serious legal questions, specifically in regard to the administrative powers of the state. Section 144 of The Criminal Procedure Code is: “Power to issue order absolute at once in urgent cases of nuisance or apprehended danger.” This was first introduced in 1861; the sole purpose was to curb any native, Indian nationalist uprising against the British Sovereign. During the time of the British Raj, we see that this law wasn’t used to uphold the individual rights rather as a tool by ...

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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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Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s despotic zeal: Shameful day for free press in Turkey

The virtual control he already has of a majority of Turkey’s newspapers and TV stations apparently isn’t enough for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. On Friday, with the zeal of its despotic leader, his government seized my paper, Today’s Zaman, and its parent, the Turkish-language Zaman, which is the highest-circulating daily in the country. Together, these titles were two of the few remaining independent voices inside Turkey — and Today’s Zaman, in particular, was a reliable English-language news source for diplomats, academics and expatriates. On Friday, a government-controlled court appointed trustees to take over the newspapers in what amounts to a politically motivated assault. At midnight, protesters faced tear ...

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There is no PTI or PML-N, there is just Pakistan

Imran Khan’s protest began against alleged rigging in general elections, transformed into a march and sit-in against the prime minister, and has blossomed into one of the firmest stances against status quo in the history of Pakistan. It is not just the number of people, but the kind and class of people in his sit-in that speaks volumes about the strength of his stance. These are people who were never seen in political gatherings or protests. The upper-middle and upper-class; educated people, professionals, women and children, have taken over the space that was once occupied mostly by simpletons, who were nothing but ...

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Rapist doctor arrested in Brazil, what would Pakistan do?

I recently came across an utterly horrendous news story. In Paraguay, a 70-year-old doctor was sentenced for raping and sexually abusing 39 of his female patients who came to his fertility clinic in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Roger Abdelmassih has been sentenced to 278 years in prison. What is even more disturbing is that this doctor was a well-known practitioner in his city and had also treated many Brazilian celebrities. He was well off, had a wife and kids, and was living a supposedly happy life. Yet he reduced himself to this. Though I was glad that he finally got punished, the news ...

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Rallying behind Imran Khan

I believe we can all agree that Pakistan needs, above all else, strong state institutions and the rule of law. These are the only way in which a proper modern country can function. They are necessary to ensure the social stability necessary for a functioning democracy and a prosperous market economy. But when powerful individuals can sway the institutions of the state to serve themselves, when they can bend the rule of law and use the mechanisms of the state for private gain, then that can no longer be called a modern state. When there are individuals, business leaders or politicians ...

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Shahzeb Khan: We did win!

So Shahzeb Kahn’s parents have decided to pardon Shahrukh Jatoi and his accomplices “fi sabillillah” (“In the way of God”).   Social and electronic media is in an uproar. TV channels are working themselves into a frenzy reporting on details of an alleged deal (worth Rs30 to Rs80 crores depending on what time you turn the TV on). Footage of a smug Shahrukh Jatoi flashing a victory sign as he leaves the court after being sentenced to death is being aired hundreds of times a day. Articles are being written saying things like “Shahzeb was shot a year ago, but he ...

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Jamshed Dasti: We get it, you are powerful.

I wrote my first blog for The Express Tribune about two years ago. I wrote it with high expectations, wrote it with all my heart and wrote it with the hope that the readers would feel it resonate with their daily lives. The comments surprised me to no end. How could the average man think that people in power deserve privileges that defy the norms of decency? Maybe it is just the first instinct of every reader to say, “No, you’re wrong, here’s what I think and clearly my opinion is better and your blog deserves a place in the lowest rungs of ...

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