On Tuesday, 2nd January 2024, Raja Shakeel Abbasi, lawyer, Ex-General Sectary of High Court, Ex-Standing Counsel of Pakistan was invited to the program ‘‘Dialogue with Experts’’, hosted by Advocate Zaildar Ahsan Shah at FM 101, Radio Pakistan.
During the interview, Mr. Zaildar Ahsan Shah asked him about educational background and how was your journey towards law? He explained that I belong to Islamabad and my education is also from Islamabad. I completed my graduation and Master’s in Political Science from Punjab University, and I also obtained my law degree from the same university. My journey as a lawyer began while working with Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari, and Lt. Miya Ishtiaq. After elected as general sectary of high court, in 2011–2012 I served as general secretary of High court for one year. At that time, numerous issues were being faced by the newly established Islamabad High Court. In one year, I successfully resolved numerous issues at the High Court, including cabinet matters, allocation of funds for the District Bar, establishment of a dispensary, provision of transportation, and enhancement of bar facilities. And put all my efforts to the restitution of judiciary, I have made significant contributions to both the District Bar and the High Court Bar. I have been serving as a lawyer for 25 years. I have decided to contest the election for President due to the encouragement and support of my colleagues. If given a chance to me, I am confident that I will effectively address the issues of the District Bar and serve to the personal needs of its members.
Mr. Zaildar Ahsan Shah asked him that as a President of the district bar, what are your vision and goals to contest the election? Answering to this question, he said that when the district court was in Aabpara, G-7 and then F-8, all buildings were on rent, leading to various issues for the legal fraternity. These issues likely encompassed difficulties arising from rented spaces, such as limitations on infrastructure, space, and possibly other operational constraints that affected the lawyer’s working environment. I appreciate the cabinet and panel for their contributions because of their efforts, the court has its own building. The district court is established, but the lawyers do not have proper chambers to meet with their clients. They don’t have a proper setup because this is new. Therefore, the lawyer community has faced many difficulties here. Because of these problems, many lawyers have gone back to their villages. Only 15 to 20 percent of lawyers have their own chambers, while 80 percent of the community doesn’t have their own chamber or offices.
I want to create a good place for my community and people involved in legal cases to sit until the construction is finished. I will try to arrange something temporary for them. If given the chance by the grace of God, I promise, I will ensure that the construction of chambers and set up interim arrangements for them. I assure them that I will continue building of chambers, address the concerns of the lawyers’ community, including those of female lawyers’ bar rooms and medical issues, and establish a fiber shelter service.
Mr. Zaildar Ahsan Shah asked him that How you perceive about young lawyers & how you invite them to participate in this election, what is your vision for young lawyers and How beneficial are young lawyers for Pakistan? He said I believe just as the body has a soul, similarly, young lawyers function as the soul in the legal fraternity. Young lawyers have play a crucial role in the restitution of the judiciary and the restitution of the constitution. They understand how important it is to have a disciplined legal community for justice and trust in the legal system. Young lawyers and women have encountered the greatest challenge during this transition. Presently, there’s a shortage of chambers within our legal community for our younger colleagues and women. In SECP rules having appoint at least one legal adviser on retainer-ship to advise the companies.
I will strive to collaborate with government institutions and the Ministry of Law to establish this setup, ensuring the welfare of young lawyers and women. With the assistance of SECP, government institutes, and the Ministry of Law, I will provide an opportunity to young male and female lawyers that all will be appoint as a legal advisor.
Mr. Zaildar Ahsan Shah asked him after the shifting of the court young lawyer face so much difficulties what you decided what you do for them? He answering that as the president and a member of the legal fraternity, will initiate a resolution which includes senior, young, and female lawyers will be included. I will make every effort to establish chambers specifically for young and female lawyers, where they can fulfill their duties. And also I will call for a general meeting, during which we will make a decision to support and facilitate young male and female lawyers.
Mr. Zaildar Ahsan Shah asked him what is your perception about unity of the district bar, In Lahore bar we see more unity than in Islamabad bar? Answering to this question, he said that without unity nothing is possible. If there will be no unity in the legal fraternity, the issues we want to resolve will not resolved but I think when lawyers support each other and work together, it helps not just them but also the whole community they serve. I have confidence in my legal fraternity, I will bring them together on one platform to address their issues and strive to resolve the challenges faced by the legal community for their benefit. I will make every effort to bring the entire district bar onto the same page.
Mr. Zaildar Ahsan Shah questioned him we have observed that if the president of the bar is weak, the bar doesn’t function effectively, and we firmly believe the president should prioritize the bar’s interests rather than other stakeholder. what is your opinion about this? He answered that I promise whatever decisions we make will be in the best interest of our legal fraternity.
Approximately 6000 to 6500 lawyers are with me if you have this much support, it’s possible that your issues will be resolved. Our primary approach is to initially resolve issues through dialogue and then we go on strike. If the issue remains unresolved, we might resort to a demonstration to address it. In Islamabad, it is one of those places where if you go on strike or hold a demonstration, it is nearly impossible for your voice not to be heard. The district bar follows fair rules, respects the constitution, and works independently to ensure justice and fairness for everyone involved.
Mr. Zaildar Ahsan Shah asked him how rule of law is important for society and how it functions? Answering to this question he said that the rule of law is important for the whole country. I believe that rule of law is important for all the society. He said The rule of law is like the glue that holds a society together. It means that everyone, regardless of their position or power, must follow the same set of rules. This ensures fairness, equality, and that justice is upheld for everyone. Without it, there would be chaos and inequality. Without the rule of law, no society can progress or prosper. I will strive to implement the rule of law in the Islamabad Bar Association, making every possible effort to uphold it.
Mr. Zaildar Ahsan Shah asked him What are your thoughts on the independence of the judiciary & what your opinion about corruption in the judiciary? Do you condemn it or acknowledge its existence? He answered that as a lawyer, I believe that judges should be free to make fair decisions without anyone pressuring them. It’s really important for a fair society. When it comes to corruption in the legal system, it’s something we can’t ignore. If you see something wrong, there are forums available where you can lodge complaints. If any judge engages in such corrupt practices, u have any evidence and you’re aware of it, file a complaint, and action will be taken against them, possibly resulting they are dismissal from service. The judiciary is an independent institution. I believe that a strong, independent judiciary is foundational for ensuring fair and unbiased decisions, upholding the principles of justice and the rule of law within a democratic society. Islamabad’s judiciary is functioning with great responsibility and integrity.
Mr. Zaildar Ahsan Shah told him to give any message to the audience? He said that first I want to wish all Pakistan Happy New Year. In 2024, may Allah grant success to our country and its people. May Allah create unity within our community. May Allah grant us the ability to resolve the ongoing issues of this country and Islamabad bar.
In the concluding remarks Mr. Zaildar Ahsan Shah appreciate him for serving as a lawyer and told If individuals like you present our bar and country it’s a matter of pride for us. Best Wishes to them for contesting in the upcoming elections. May Allah grant you success in the election.
Mr. Zaildar Ahsan Shah wished the audience a Happy New Year at the end. May this year bring you happiness, good health, and countless beautiful moments.