By way of introduction, Syed Ali Zafar is an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, and also appears before all other superior courts of the country.
A brief summary of some of the matters of import in which Barrister Syed Ali Zafar is representing his clients are listed hereinbelow:
A certain civil society engaged the services of Mr. Zafar for filing a petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution of Pakistan. The Constitution Petition has been filed with the prayer that the constitution of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has been particularly specified in the Constitution of Pakistan but since the Government has not appointed some of the members from the judiciary, therefore the ECP is corum non-judice and the Government should be directed to constitute it in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. The Supreme Court of Pakistan decided the matter in accordance with law and directed the constitution of ECP in accordance with the Constitution of Pakistan. The Supreme Court also observed that non-completion of the ECP will be a deviation from the Constitution, which cannot be allowed and the Constitution has to be strictly followed in letter and spirit. In compliance with the directions of the Court, ECP has been reconstituted and is now functioning in accordance with the Constitution. This is a landmark case and judgment.
Mr. Zafar was engaged by a media channel to challenge the Electoral Rolls of Pakistan on the grounds that out of 81 Million voters, 36.5 Million number of voters were bogus and the verified voters had not been included in the list of voters which would be in violation of the rights of the people to have proper elected Parliaments. After several hearings the Supreme Court of Pakistan directed ECP and the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to rectify the Electoral Rolls. In pursuance of these directions which were monitored closely by the Supreme Court, a detailed exercise was conducted and eventually new Electoral Rolls were prepared in which the fake votes have been deleted and verified votes have been added. As with the above listed case this is also a landmark case.
The election of a sitting Law Minister of Pakistan was challenged in the High Court on various grounds. Mr. Zafar represented the Law Minister and submitted that the electoral process can only be challenged in accordance with the rules and provisions specifically provided in the Election Laws and there was no fundamental right available to every citizen to directly bring the matter before the High Court in exercise of its powers under Article 199. The court accepted the contentions of Mr. Zafar, laying down the parameters of the rights of citizens.
An education program which was providing education to more than 10 Million students in far flung areas of Pakistan known as National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) was being shut down by the Government of Pakistan on the ground that education is now a provincial subject. Mr. Zafar was engaged by NCHD to represent their case in the Supreme Court, that the right to education is a fundamental right of every citizen and notwithstanding devolution of power it remains the duty of the Federation as well the province to continue to provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 5 to 16. The Supreme Court set aside the order closing down the NCHD and has directed the Government to continue to provide education as it is their duty and obligation to do so.
As a result of wrong appointment, billions of rupees were misappropriated from National Insurance Company Limited (NICL). The Supreme Court of Pakistan directly started investigating the matter and as a result thereof a number of politiciansí names were also involved. Mr. Zafar was engaged by the principal accused and successfully argued that the Supreme Court has no power to directly investigate any allegation of criminal liability only on the basis of indirect and circumstantial evidence and that the only proper course is to leave the matter to a duly constituted investigating agency to investigate the matter and decide it in accordance with law and thereafter for the prosecution to proceed further if required. This contention was accepted.
The Competition Commission of Pakistan has conducted enquiries and imposed exorbitant penalties under the Competition Act, 2010. Mr. Zafar has been engaged to challenge the very constitution of the Competition Commission of Pakistan and the portion of law which allows the Competition Commission to impose penalties without any prescribed criteria. Mr. Zafarís argument is that Federal Government, which can only make laws, which are enumerated in the Federal Legislative List, could not have passed any law in respect of competition matters and hence could not constitute a Competition Commission for the country as only provinces can now exercise this power.
Federal Board of Revenue has launched a nationwide drive to randomly obtain information from banks regarding its customers. Barrister Zafar has been engaged by various banks in the country to challenge the jurisdiction of Federal Board of Revenue for randomly collection of information on the ground that it is the obligation of the banks to maintain confidentiality and secrecy of banking transactions of its customers and such random probing infringes this law.
The entire banking recovery laws in Pakistan are covered by Financial Institutions (Recovery of Finances) Ordinance, 2001 (the "Ordinance of 2001") which is designed for expeditious disposal of cases first in a summary manner and in case leave to defend is given, then through full trial. The summary process has been challenged inter alia as being unconstitutional. Mr. Zafar has been engaged by banks throughout the country to defend this law. The case is also being proceeding for the last year. Mr. Zafarís contention is that the summary process for banking recovery matters is an accepted norm worldwide and there is nothing in the Constitution which prohibits summary procedure. His argument is that the summary procedure is only a gateway to proper trial and after judicial scrutiny any defence taken by a customer of the bank is material, the case will go to trial but if the defence is frivolous then the court has the capacity to decide the matter summarily and dismiss the defence.
Representing Atiqa Odho a TV/Film star on the issue whether the Supreme Court could upon reading a press statement direct registration of a case and require the authorities to proceed to trial.
The Government of Pakistan made a policy to fill the shortfall in electricity generation by allowing setting up of Rental Power Projects (RPPs). The policy was challenged in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Barrister Zafar was engaged by Gulf Rental Power Project, the only power plant out of the many which actually fulfilled the conditions of the contract and came into operation in time. The Supreme Court declared the policy of the Government as unconstitutional and sent the matter to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for investigation but the project of Gulf was exonerated from any criminal liability.
A private conversation during the break time in the program between anchor persons and their guest was unauthorizedly recorded and aired by certain rival channels. A contempt petition was filed and the case is being heard by the Supreme Court. The key questions involved in the matter are the responsibility of media regarding the debate in respect of judicial matters, the right of privacy and the role of the media to arrive at a truth, debate issues to disseminate information. The court proceedings are generating a great deal of public interest.
This case is one of the most important tax matters being discussed in the country as it directly challenges the jurisdiction of the Federal Board of Revenue to regulate and prescribe procedure for advance income tax.
The Royal Palm Golf & Country Club was a joint venture between Ministry of Railways and private individuals and now is one of the leading golf & country club of the country. The joint venture was challenged on the ground that the procurement process was flawed. This case has been argued during the course of the year in many hearings. The parameters, rules and regulations of how public procurement is to be done and the responsibility of all stakeholders are being debated and discussed. Mr. Zafar is representing Royal Palm Golf & Country Club.
A list of the landmark cases in which Syed Ali Zafar is appearing is given hereinbelow: