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Pakistan: Accidental Justice

1 minute read

The bus strike began in Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province, then spread throughout most of the country, shutting down public transportation for a week. The drivers were griping not about low wages but about a new law that imposed severe punishment for fatal accidents. Following an interpretation of Shariat, a code of Islamic laws, the guilty driver would be forced to pay a fine of $8,000 to the family of the deceased and serve up to 10 years in jail.

Last week the new government of Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, which had promised to institute a legal system based on Shariat law, decided to seek a new interpretation of the law from Islamic scholars. Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, a federal minister, announced that the strikers’ “misgivings” would be remedied by a “simpler and befitting interpretation” of the law. Nawaz Sharif is learning that imposing Islamic codes is far tougher than campaigning on the issue.

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