T

he legal profession in Pakistan is considered an exemplary occupation and the lawyers take credit of creation of Pakistan, as they say the idea of Pakistan was envisioned & executed owing to the endeavours by a renowned lawyer of the Sub-Continent Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the first Governor General of Pakistan. The idea of a separate homeland is said to be conceived by another lawyer Allama Muhammad Iqbal. After creation of Pakistan, there was another lawyer Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, who theorised and enacted the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973, after its drafting by another lawyer Abdul Hafeez Peerzada, which was unanimously adopted by the National Assembly of Pakistan. So, even, all the major players of partition including Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Dr. Iqbal, Muhammad Ali Bogra, and on other side of the border including Mohandas Karam Chand Gandhi, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Sardar Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru and others too belonged to lawyers’ community. Earlier, the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms were also introduced by the people of law including Edwin Samuel Montagu, then Secretary of State for India and Lord Chelmsford, Viceroy of India between 1916 and 1921 and other members of the reforms commission belonged to the field of law. On 3rd June, 1947, again the Law Lords on the behest of the Parliament of the United Kingdom finalised the idea of partition into two independent dominions of India and Pakistan. Therefore, keeping in view the sensitive job of law, a counsel of the legal profession needs to have practical knowledge of the constitution, laws, rules, statutes, acts of different departments and the laws of the land to solve public problems in efficient ways. Besides having private practice as lawyer, solicitors, counsel, lawyers usually aspire to obtain the position in a society of an assistant district attorney, district attorney, additional attorney general, advocate general of a province and finally attorney general of the state. Basically, the political or even the military-led governments usually appoint their likeminded lawyers on key positions as public prosecutors, government counsels, judges, arbitrators, professors of law and even the lawyers in accordance with their likeminded political parties adopt the profession of politician and lead the country with different ministerial portfolios.

An eminent Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan Advocate Safdar Shaheen Peerzada expressed these thoughts during a brief chat on legal profession and constitutional reforms in the country with this scribe a couple of days back in his office located at The Mall, Lahore. Hailing from a historical primitive town of the Indus Valley, Narowal District, Shaheen Peerzada also joined multiple professions including magistrate, civil judge, teaching and many more. While sitting on right side of main gate of the Quaid-e-Azam Library in Lahore, he enjoyed intellectual asylum in conducive learning atmosphere where he first prepared & equipped himself for competitive exams and later he got prepared many more his pupils for the same exams and consequently his several students are working on top bureaucratic slots in different government departments. After enjoying his life, Peerzada entered the practical field of law and became example for many promising lawyers. Peerzada believed that nowadays legal profession has become one of the most saturated profession in Pakistan. “Approximately 150,0000 lawyers are registered with different bar associations of the country, and interestingly the ratio of lawyers is increasing with each passing day, asserted Peerzada. This phenomenal growth is the outcome of easy way to obtain law degree as one can become a law graduate in Pakistan even without attending regular classes because of the ‘blessing’ of mushroom growth of private colleges spread across the country. However, Peerzada was the lawyer who challenged the writ of private colleges and pleaded the case before the former strong Chief Justice of Pakistan Honourable Justice Mr. Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary who himself constituted a committee which inspected the legalities of the Law College of Narowal owned by Peerzada and later the incumbent Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr. Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has announced certain fixed criteria for a private college to ensure the sanctity of the legal profession and to produce energetic lawyers. “The private colleges have become the factories responsible for production of nonprofessional law graduate with harmful raw effects for society having their non-serious practical approach in the field of law”, he added. Due to his passion for teaching, Safdar Shaheen Peerzada established another college for women in Pattoki to provide quality education to deprived females of the area. He further has established a non-profit organisation namely Health, Education, Legal Assistance, Medical Assistance and Skills (HELMS) in order to provide legal assistance in multiple fields to public.

Peerzada believed the clients usually are inclined to hire a lawyer with low fee to fight their case, which ultimately becomes complicated with the passage of time and the client finally losses the case. It’s not the lawyer but the client who loses the case ultimately. “In western countries the legal profession is one of the most highly paid professions and the clients who pay higher fees get good relief from the courts because seniors lawyers have to work hard to not only win their cases but they have to do so in order to maintain their reputation in legal circles as well,” he said, adding the people-cum-clients in Pakistan engage lawyers who charge low fees but in return the clients are given semi-professional services, which ultimately damage the merits of the case. To a query, Peerzada says he does the same. While quoting an example of a famous case of promotion of former Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) retired Maj. Mubashir who headed a police training institute in Lahore and could not attend a promotional course in the National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) but, Peerzada said, the police officer was promoted owing to the case of which historic verdict was announced by the then Honourable Justice Lahore High Court Mr. Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhary. Being his friends, former Inspector General of Police (IG) Khawaja Khalid Farooq, former IG & DG FIA Tehsin Anwar Shah, former IG Ghulam Shabbir, former IG Sindh and current senator Rana Maqbool and former Additional IG Police Sarmad Saeed Khan are dear to Safdar Shaheen Peerzada.

 

The writer is a PhD Scholar with a Lahore-based University.

 jamsajjadhussain@gmail.com