By Muhammad Junaid
The year 2018 winds to a close tonight and for Pakistan it was a roller-coaster ride that saw various events and happenings deciding the course of action for Pakistanis.
1. Election Year
The conduct of 11th General Election in July and subsequently the transfer of power from one elected government to the other was undoubtedly the most significant event of the departing year.
Following Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) landmark victory in July 25 general elections, Imran Khan took oath as Pakistan’s 22nd Prime Minister on August 18.
2. Nawaz Sharif’s Jail Yatra
The outgoing year also saw ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s back to back convictions in the Avenfield properties and Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference.
On July 6, the accountability court sentenced Nawaz to 10 years in prison, handing his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar seven and one years in jail respectively in the Avenfield properties reference. However, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) suspended the sentences and released the members of Sharif family on bail. But, this was not proved a long-term relief for the former premier as he was sent back to jail after being convicted in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference in the last month of 2018.
3. Zainab rape case
The rape and murder of seven-year old minor from Kasur Zainab Ansari was the incident that left a horrific mark on 2018. She was subjected to rape and captivity before being strangled to death. Her body was found from a garbage heap on January 9. Her murderer Imran was hanged in October.
4. Pakistan’s #MeToo moment
The year 2018 saw more women speaking up against sexual harassment and crimes. The #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns gained momentum in Pakistan as it saw cases of women sharing their stories and ousting sex offenders. One such high profile case is of Meesha Shafi against Ali Zafar that shook the film industry.
5. The acquittal of the year
On October 31, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered immediate release of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was given death sentence over blasphemy charges. The judgment was welcomed by human rights advocates, but sparked countrywide protests by religo-political groups.
6. The blessed man
2018 proved the most successful year for leg-spinner Yasir Shah when he broke an 82-year-old record by becoming the fastest cricketer to bag 200 Test wickets.
May the new year bring happiness for all