Letters To The Editor

"Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you." –Nathaniel Hawthorne

Does death penalty deter crime?

Death or capital punishment is the highest penalty awardable to an accused. Courts have been granted a great deal of discretion in the award of the death penalty and it is not awarded except in extremely severe cases where murders have been committed in cold-blooded, pre-planned or barbaric fashion. This discretion is not unbridled and has to be exercised judiciously in accordance with well recognised judicial principles keeping in view the aggravating or mitigating circumstances of any particular case. Deterrence is the objective behind the death penalty. But death has been abolished as a form of punishment in most of the developed countries as they believe that death has been prescribed as a punishment for murder still, murders continue unabated. Death has been prescribed in rape cases still, rapes continue to happen and in fact, the brutality of rapes has increased manifold. This compels one to think if the death penalty is an effective deterrent to crime. Yet Pakistan still retains the same as it is believed that allowing criminals guilty of having committed intentional, cold-blooded, deliberate and brutal murders to escape with a lesser punishment will deprive the law of its effectiveness and result in travesty of justice. Criminologists and socialists have for long been demanding abolition of the death penalty in our country. Despite that, the country is still awaiting the execution of many criminals, including murderers and rapists. The inordinate delay in the execution of death penalty has taken the sting out of the punishment and now the families of the victims only want justice; whether it’s death penalty or life imprisonment. However, to my mind, it’s not the severity, but the certainty of punishment which can act as a deterrent.

Khizer Ahmed,

Decoding moral policing culture at school level

Education is an important part of everyone’s life. School is the only educational institution where an average person spends most of their time. It is a place where children learn their first subjects, how to write, do basic mathematics and it is also the same place where they grow up and get prepared for college. Our school leaves a lasting impact on our overall mentality and behaviour. Gender roles are often taught at school. Girls’ bodies are subjected to moral policing, shamed and treated as a distraction for boys. Often dress codes are imposed on girls and their privacy is violated in the name of checking the dress code. Dress codes include not having long nails, not wearing nail paint, wearing a dupatta till a certain length, wearing hair in a certain way and a lot more. Girls start to face moral policing for talking to male classmates often making them believe that they are a distraction to boys. Things that are associated with their gender are often looked down upon in school level. Often teachers are doing most of the policing due to their pre-existing notions. Teachers need to educate themselves and help in breaking this cycle of moral policing. This can be expected from them as they are the ones who can fix things. Teachers need to stop imposing gender roles of their children, understand that every child is an individual who will grow in their own ways. Policing girls’ bodies is not going to help anyone neither will imposing masculine ideals on men. It might take a decade or two to add such teachings in the teaching curriculum but it will help in the betterment of the students’ community and eventually in the betterment of the society as a whole.

Arooba Elahi,