Yearly Archives: 2009

Whither mental health law?

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

OCTOBER 10 was World Mental Health Day and the occasion provided health professionals with an opportunity to draw attention to this very crucial area of human well-being. This is a subject many do not want to talk about, so strong is the stigma attached to it.

Yet it has relevance for the lives of a large number of people. Research shows that nearly 10 per cent of the population suffers from mental illness at one stage or another in life. Given the insecurity and conflict that grip Pakistan today, it is likely that the `burden of mental disorders`, to use the World Health Organisation`s terminology, is greater in the country than is believed to be.
Continue reading Whither mental health law?

Disabled by society

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

New thinking in the last century has radically changed political concepts that determine relations between the state and its citizens, and between society and its members. New rights are now being defined although the ground realities have yet to change.

Take the case of persons with disabilities. Until recently, providing them with care was perceived as charity. Today, they can legally claim respect for their dignity, inclusiveness in society, non-discrimination and equality of opportunity as a matter of right.

Disability is being redefined in a social rather than a physiological context. Sociologists and human rights activists now place the onus on society to make the necessary structural changes for enabling persons with disabilities to realise their full potential and make a contribution to the state.
Continue reading Disabled by society

Our armament concerns

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

NUCLEAR arms have had vocal advocates in contemporary times. Knowledge of the horrors of the atom bomb, as witnessed in Hiroshima, has not deterred them.

In its latest issue, the American magazine Newsweek (Sept 7) advises the US president to learn to love the bomb, sending shockwaves through peace lobbies around the world. This at a time when President Obama has been speaking out for a nuclear weapons-free world.
Continue reading Our armament concerns

Lessons from Lockerbie

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

Remember Lockerbie? Yes the Scottish town that made headlines when a PanAm aircraft exploded in mid-air in 1988 killing 270 people.

It was said to have been blown up by a bomb planted in a passenger`s luggage. Lockerbie is making news again. Last Thursday the Libyan convicted of planting that fateful bomb, Abdel baset Ali al-Megrahi, was released from a Scottish prison and sent home to die. This was done ostensibly on compassionate grounds as the man has terminal cancer and doctors believe he has just three months to live.
Continue reading Lessons from Lockerbie

A plea for Sarabjit Singh

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

At an informal meeting between a group of Indians and Pakistanis in the Swiss village of Caux, the venue of the second forum of human security in July 2009, one suggestion put forward was for the governments in New Delhi and Islamabad to abolish capital punishment.

It was argued that it would help improve relations between the two neighbours. Yes it would, if this suggestion were to be taken seriously.
Continue reading A plea for Sarabjit Singh

Fighting Kidney Tourism in Pakistan

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: The WIP

A few years ago, Pakistan’s newspapers and magazines were awash with pictures of shirtless men displaying scars on their torsos indicating they were organ donors. There were villages where practically every male adult claimed to have sold a kidney to earn extra money to repay his debts.