08 September 2022

Pakistan’s Call for Climate Reparations

Torrential monsoon rains have triggered Pakistan’s worst floods this century. So far, at least 1,300 people have been killed and a third of the country is under flood waters. Entire villages have been washed away and an estimated three million children are in need of humanitarian assistance. Against this backdrop, Pakistan’s minister for climate change has called for rich nations to pay reparations to developing States suffering climate loss and damage. In this blog post, I will put the claims for climate reparations in an international law context. Continue reading >>
05 August 2022

An Uncounted Confidence Vote

On 22 July, the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province, convened to elect a new Chief Minister. Punjab’s political turmoil is the first trial run of the Court’s drastic reconfiguration of Pakistan’s political regime with a judgement this May that completely eliminates legislators’ ability to vote against the party line in confidence matters. Departing from essential principles of parliamentarism, the Court has incorporated the notion of executives remaining in office without the confidence of the House into Pakistan’s constitutional framework. The difficulties that already have arisen from working this party-centric parliamentarism demonstrate its dangers for democratic consolidation and underline the need for the Court to reconsider its position. Continue reading >>
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12 April 2022

A Bold Defence of Parliamentarism

At midnight on 10 April 2022, Pakistan’s National Assembly voted to pass a motion of no-confidence in Prime Minister Imran Khan, ousting his populist Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party from power three and a half years after its controversial election. The civilian government went to great lengths to stay in power, using allies in nominally impartial state offices to unconstitutionally dismiss the no-confidence motion and call snap elections. This attempt, however, failed - largely due to the country’s Supreme Court, which in a ruling on 7 April 2022 intervened decisively to protect the National Assembly from dissolution and order the vote to go ahead. Continue reading >>
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31 März 2022

Global Inequities in Algorithms

Algorithms can seem like esoteric subjects, often relegated to the realm of engineers and technology companies, given the technical nature of algorithmic design. Algorithms, when applied, take on a social character that invites us into peer beneath the hood to understand both their function and application. Given the growing ubiquitousness of algorithms in our daily lives, policymakers are looking to capture algorithms within regulatory mechanisms. This article seeks to understand the inequalities that undergird algorithmic applications, in order to understand how to regulate these systems. Continue reading >>
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09 April 2021
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Democratic Deficits of COVID-19 Crisis in Pakistan

The ‘lives versus livelihood’ conundrum in Pakistan is emblematic of the difficulties that accompany the balancing of conflicting rights in transitioning democracies. From testing the ability of various tiers of the government machinery to work together to keeping the economy afloat as the country faced lockdowns, Pakistan deeply felt the onset of the burden of disease. The country’s journey through the pandemic was shrouded in deep political contestations over power struggle between the provinces and the centre. As the crisis deepened in mid-2020, the social policies for pandemic response became the site for centralising authority; where trade-offs were made between fundamental rights and well-being of citizens to draw political mileage and cementing the narrative of the centre. Continue reading >>
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26 Februar 2019

To Catch a Spy: India v. Pakistan at the ICJ

Does the right to consular access also apply to imprisoned spies abroad? The International Court of Justice in The Hague will decide. Continue reading >>
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05 November 2018

Murder in the Name of Allah: Asia Bibi and Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law

The Pakistani Supreme Court’s release of Asia Naureen, a mother of five from Pakistan’s shrinking Christian community who was imprisoned nine years ago on trumped-up blasphemy charges, has riled up the religious right and spiralled into scorching new waves of violence. The Supreme Court, however, had no qualms with mandatory death sentences for insults against the Prophet. Continue reading >>
17 September 2018

Mango Scented Sovereignty: Pakistan’s Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and Baba-justice

Politicization of the judiciary is a global trend. Pakistan’s Supreme Court is a particularly worrying example. With an ad-campaign, the Court is currently collecting donations for an ambitious dam project to resolve Pakistan’s looming water crises. Chief Justice Saqib Nisar would certainly prefer, as he convincingly repeats, a more pliant courtly existence. But the catastrophic shortcomings of the executive and legislature force him to take on big infrastructure projects – the failures have also pushed him to tackle school curriculums, fees for private medical school, pension of bank employees, random quality-checks in hospitals, surprise inspections of lower courts and ordering the arrest of a high ranking police officer who shared indecent images of his estranged wife on Facebook. Continue reading >>
03 Juli 2018

FATA’s fate in Pakistan 

On May 25th 2018, Pakistan’s senate passed a constitutional amendment that merges the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) – a patch of mountainous land snaking along parts of the Afghan border – with Khyber Pakhtun Khwa, a province that sandwiches it. This means that for the first time the constitution’s jurisdiction stretches all the way to the frontier region. In popular culture FATA mostly pops up as a lawless abode where thugs and criminals hide to avoid detention. Continue reading >>
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06 März 2018

Pakistan’s Supreme Court to Purify Parliamentarians

Only a good Muslim makes a parliamentarian. That seems to be the line the Pakistani Supreme Court has taken in disqualifying the disgraced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as president of his own party and person entitled to nominate candidates for the upcoming Senate elections. Continue reading >>
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27 April 2017

Pakistan’s Reluctant Constitutionalism

On 20 April 2017, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled in one of the greatest cases in its turbulent history: the impeachment of the prime minister for involvements in shady financial dealings that bubbled up after the Panama Papers. Nothing happened; the court only showed Nawaz Sharif the yellow card. But while Pakistan narrowly missed her constitutional moment by a single judge’s vote, the court’s ruling displayed tremendous democratic maturity. Continue reading >>
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