Stories about suo moto

509 Hazaras killed in five years and Pakistan is still not ready to wake up

According to a report, released in March 2018, by the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), around 509 people from the Hazara community have been killed and 627 have been injured in Quetta during the last five years. The Shia and Sunni sectarian rift started in Pakistan by the then military dictator General Ziaul Haq in a bid to legitimise his martial law. Pakistan has since been facing ethnic and sect-based wars between Shia and Sunni Muslims. Members of the Hazara community are easily recognisable due to their distinct features that separate them from other communities. The banned Sunni outfits, mostly backed ...

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The Mashal Khan case verdict brings victory, hope and a lesson for Pakistan

The dawn of April 13, 2017 saw the might of a monster that was long nurtured in Pakistan. A monster of hate, intolerance, violence and one who misuses the blasphemy law as a tool of vengeance. This time the prey was Mashal Khan, a 23-year-old, mass communications student at Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). The ghastly lynching done as a ‘great service’ to Islam was a manifestation that human beings are capable of carrying unimaginable proportions of barbarity, if they are driven by religious conviction and self-righteousness. The investigation that followed soon revealed that the allegation of blasphemy against Mashal was, in ...

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The curse of nepotism and kinship in Pakistan

If I come for you, you come for me. If I stand for you, you stand for me. If I give you comfort and security against a flock of bloodthirsty hyenas from another tribe/caste/village, then you will do as I wish. Maybe submit your right to vote to me? This tit-for-tat espouses what we call a ‘strong sense of community’, one which takes pride in its people, its power in numbers, the idea of stability and of course coming to another’s aid in adversity. Obviously, one must be of a crude heart not to applaud such a social setting in a globalised world jostling ...

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The 24th amendment does not benefit anyone but Nawaz Sharif

A few days ago, a blog published on this website argued that the proposed 24th amendment by the government was the correct political and legal step in the current environment. Firstly, the author claimed that due to the exceptionally high stakes in the current Panama leaks proceedings, it is necessary that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is allowed a chance to appeal in the case of an unfavourable decision. Secondly, it was asserted that the 24th amendment, all political considerations aside, was a legal necessity to ensure that the requirements of justice and a fair trial were guaranteed. I respectfully disagree on both accounts. It is pertinent ...

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Maligning Islam in the name of blasphemy

Charred remains of two human bodies become a question mark on our humanity. Smoke that rises from their ashes is denser than one that clouds our judgment. It will not vanish into the air; it will instead taunt our silence forever. What burnt was not bodies, but the very fabric of our society. In the presence of the rule of law – as demanded by the Holy Quran and our constitution – blasphemy would be dealt with by the aggrieved party registering a case against the accused under relevant sections of the Pakistan Penal Code. A free and fair trial in a ...

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Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, our man of vision and courage

The time for Mr Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), has come to an end. Like him or loathe him, the fact remains that the CJP has managed to stay in the news constantly since 2007 and he has managed to create quite a following for himself. He is, after all, the same man who went into a room with an army general and refused to resign when he was asked to do so on March 9, 2007. Instead he stuck by his guns and what followed was the beginning of the movement for the freedom of judiciary which ...

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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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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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The Supreme Court is the ‘apex’ court not the ‘only’ court!

The perception of the Supreme Court as an all-encompassing court is leading to a fundamental misunderstanding of the judicial system. Just recently, Sharmila Farooqui, a prominent politician who holds a Masters Degree in Law, mocked Imran Khan and Shaukat Khanum for not going to the Supreme Court for their defamation suit against Khawaja Asif. Such statements were not only in poor taste but were legally erroneous as the Defamation Ordinance reserves jurisdiction for defamation cases to the District Courts with the High Courts being empowered to hear appeal on such cases. Sharmila Farooqui’s poor understanding of the law exhibits a ...

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The devil’s workshop and justice undone

Justice is supposedly blind, and in the case of Lal Masjid, it is also mute. According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, treason is: The crime of doing something that could cause danger to your country, such as helping its enemies during a war. Given, some members of the world community look at Pakistan as being a country full of radicals and terrorist-sympathisers, but I would like to believe that is largely untrue. Eyewitness testimony says our troops were fired upon while they were still outside the mosque, which according to military protocol is cause enough to breach the complex. So forget helping ...

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