Pakistan — the world’s fifth most populous country — is reeling from the worst economic crisis since its formation in 1947, with backbreaking inflation, a plummeting currency and precariously low foreign reserves. It has become nearly impossible for its citizens to make ends meet.
The arrest of a former prime minister is not a new phenomenon in Pakistan, but the violent and chaotic events that continue to unfold across the country after Imran Khan’s dramatic arrest earlier this week have been unprecedented.
In 2010, Asia Bibi became the first woman in Pakistan to be sentenced to death under the country's controversial blasphemy laws, in a case that sparked global outrage. After eight years on death row, she escaped to Canada in 2019 following her acquittal. She tells New Lines how she has since lived a life of poverty in exile.
Since the demise of Pakistan’s former president and military dictator Pervez Musharraf, both admirers and critics have used a peculiar adjective to describe him: “liberal.” In reality, Musharraf’s actions and policies suggested otherwise, exposing a “liberal Pakistan” facade created by the political circumstances of the time.
The popularity of the Indian film “Gangubai Kathiawadi” — the story of a sex worker turned brothel madam in Pakistan highlighted the gaps in the representation of sex workers in its pop culture. While “courtesans” are glamorized for representing an old-world charm, the reality of sex work in the country is different.
The recent suicide attack in Peshawar serves as a cruel reminder of terrorism’s resurgence and heralds a new phase of asymmetric conflict in Pakistan, placing its counterterrorism campaign at a crossroads.
While Nawaz Sharif’s premature exit as Pakistan’s prime minister led him to confront the military leadership, it is Imran Khan’s departure that has seen anti-army sentiment explode across the country.