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It's difficult but not impossible to attempt to be lawyer like Jinnah

01 November, 2011

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(Barrister Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Quaid e Azam and founder of Pakistan (1875-1948).

Barrister Amjad Malik's paper read & published during his Pakistan visit for the young lawyers and law students of Pakistan


Post 9th March 2007 whilst lawyers of Pakistan gathered storm in support of a victim Chief Justice and received nation's appreciation all around, at the same time a few emerged as devil's advocate on the national scene too. In adversarial system its common that you have a brief, either for or against and one has to lose the case too and accepting the defeat graciously and winning honourably is the key to close a transaction. However its opposite in Pakistan. No one wins or loses perpetually, and war goes on but you have the key to cap that argument.  


As you hold the key to the future of the profession, then let me say that besides learning legislation, case law precedents and mastering the oratory to subdue your opponent and or impress the judge, your primary role is also to balance the ethical side of a lawyer. Bread and butter is an important consideration but 'best interest of your client', in time assessment of the merits of the case, appropriate quotation of your fee and keeping your client informed of all the steps from start to finish is a primary duty of any lawyer who aspires to run a clean practice. That includes picking up conflict of interest (not advising or acting both sides) and or financial incentives overriding your primary objective of winning your client's case.

Everyday several lawyers lose their right to practice for misconduct, appropriation of client's funds and or failing to follow the regulations under which lawyers are expected to practice either set by bar Council and or law society. Fair disposition of complaints and earlier disciplinary action reform the system and gives a strong message that regulators protect quality and address the anxiety of lay clients where not many forums available for redress.

We see many are complained but walk free with impunity as in Pakistan anyone who holds a status considers himself above the law, but let me remind you your Quaid e Azam never followed that line, and practiced with complete impartiality, honesty and dedication. In fact whilst delivering Presidential Address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11th August 1947. He rightly said, “ I shall always be guided by the principles of justice and fair-play without any, as is put in the political language, prejudice or ill-will, in other words, partiality or favouritism. My guiding principle will be justice and complete impartiality, and I am sure that with your support and co-operation, I can look forward to Pakistan becoming one of the greatest Nations of the world.”


In my practice in Britain, advocates exchange views, fight their cases in courts tooth and nail and during breaks or in the end often have a cup of coffee together in the bar room or court lounges as colleagues. They are always cordial with each other and always show respect to the other side lawyer and at all times address them as 'my learned friend'. Their manner of addressing each other in court and outside show mutual respect for their colleagues, and honouring the noble profession they belong. The incident which we witnessed during lawyer's movement on television of blackening faces are rare in my years of practice in Britain. In fact, there is truly a culture of tolerance, acceptance of each other's views and accepting defeat in the land where all the barristers are produced. In fact, lawyers as other professionals perform their professional duty and in principle they must not be penalised in the line of their duty of what they do. It's also a red hearing for those who whilst representing their poor brief initiate a debate and express personal slanderous views without evidence or justification about past or present popular leadership or a cause. So never go out of the remit of your brief,
But fight your case with honour and dignity.

Struggle for rule of law

Pakistan is amongst fierce fight over the power struggle of two institutions where the question is whether Judiciary allows this time again and or stops the 'unstinted support' to any martial law or the acts of martial law in the country. 31st July 2010 judgement has given a hope of a new future in the country and ball is in the courts of civil leaders to create respect for the parliament so that constitutionalism in the country holds sway.

However, the lawyers leaders though are late but still put their papers on law reforms before those main stream political parties for their manifestos in coming elections. If wisdom is not preached at this juncture then the whole argument will fail where thousands of lawyers supported the cause all around the globe.

Initiation of spade work early as possible is the message from abroad , as the independence of the whole institution is the aim and it must not be linked with winning 'one case' or 'restoring one judge' as with limited goals one gets limited relief but with institutional overhaul comes the real change.  Nexus of our judges with Generals so far in Pakistan hindered democratic flow and process and the struggle must be for strengthening the institutions rather than promoting individuals. If system is strong enough and is allowed to run at its full capacity with free media and judiciary as monitors, and good governance and real accountability than witch hunt,  it will automatically start chunking out leadership as is the case in India, Britain and United States.

If these dreams are to be translated in reality then visionary orators must keep their road map to the goal intact. Crucial topics such as appointment of judges via non political and unbiased commission, non controversial non political ethical future lawyers who in the end become  judges, politics free bar, training of lawyers and judges, accountability & financial autonomy of top judiciary including their  protection and true separation of administration from judiciary are the questions which as a lawyer I can think of to start with though I knew that the true work could have started when Ginny of 'dictatorship' was in the bottle and military is shown  exit from the civilian set up. A lot of time is lost lawyers must be ready to play their due role even if the task lands on them all of a sudden again.

Nexus of our judges with Generals so far in Pakistan had ruined the future of democracy in Pakistan. Nepotism, bribery, lawlessness, unmeritorious appointments at top slots and lack of respect for rule of law in an unjust society made life impossible for lay Pakistanis who are in millions and they have been looking towards a 'messiah'  for years which never turned up to their door steps. If these dreams are to be translated in reality then calm and composed exposure and visionary orators must keep their heads high with their road map to the goal intact and give a road map to such destination which the lawyers are aiming for.

If judiciary is to be made independent the process is not a day's job, it can be achieved but not impossible and the main contribution is required from top national parties to adhere for what lawyers worked for and top military brass to see that time has come to lay off and allow the judiciary to function as a monitor which is its job.

Lawyers must never waste such opportunities to say what the nation desire instead of wasting the top slots in cheap slogans as media cannot continuously cover such events which are futile in its results. Our non reconciliatory habits and unwise governance has turned our country into a 'mud slinging' crowd which is devoid of supreme national interest of the country and top intelligentsia whether lawyers or journalists and analysts, they all must try to separate chaff from grain at all times. The blame of one sheep may not be rightly attached to the herd if no visible legal authority and constitutional backing is available especially if those words harm the cause. 


My message is simple that it's difficult but not impossible to be a lawyer like the great Jinnah we all know him as Barrister Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Quaid e Azam and a founder of Pakistan. I follow in its entirety that a lawyer shall always be guided by the principles of justice and fair-play without any, prejudice or ill-will, and justice and complete impartiality must be the principle which must guide the young upcoming stars of this profession.

I express my felicitation to the people Pakistan and express solidarity and good will for them at the crossroad of country's political landscape especially for attaining an achievement of initiating a struggle for rule of law and justice in the rank and file of the society. I will leave the following message:

Pakistan is a dream come true, and is there to live forever. We can only make Pakistan a successful, progressive Islamic state if we individually eliminate the differences in our sayings and doings and remain firm and united and fight on principles, by remaining honest, speaking truth and by practicing justice in small and larger matters of our individual as well as national life.

Of course, this can only be achieved, if Pakistan's executive & state representatives practice complete fairness in relation to its obligations and responsibilities and are accountable to its people who elect them and operate a crystal policy of unity, faith and discipline in nation building and keep Quaid e Azam's legacy as their guiding principle. They provide their services in accordance with the Islamic injunctions, & Constitution of Pakistan 1973 coupled with complete harmony & nation's trust and promote acceptable internationally recognized human rights in respect of its citizens, minorities and above all women who play an important part in any progressive and developing society.

May God bless Pakistan with strong, brave and intelligent united leadership who think in the wider interest of Pakistan and utilises its resources for Pakistan's development and for its people's progress in this 21st and coming centuries.

Pakistan Zinda Baad, Quaid e Azam painda Baad.

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