When the Japanese started bombing Rangoon in 1944, the family moved back to their ancestral home near Shakargarh. He completed high school there after which he moved to Lahore, graduated from Government College Lahore and earned a law degree. He was soon recognised as a noted lawyer and, at the age of 35, became the law and parliamentary affairs minister in the cabinet of Ayub Khan. He has held important positions ever since and earned the reputation of being a competent, honest lawyer.
When I came to Pakistan in 1976, he was president of the Supreme Court Bar Association. He has been decorated with the country’s highest civil award, Nishan-ePakistan, for his meritorious national services. Talking about his book, even though Mr Zafar says it covers the period when he was a senator, it invariably covers earlier events as well. It is beautifully written in easy-to-understand Urdu and comments have been made without fear or favour.
My relationship with S M Zafar goes back to 1983 when a false case of espionage was registered against me in Amsterdam and I was sentenced to four years in jail in absentia. When I came to know of this, I immediately appealed through two noted Dutch lawyers, Dr Den Drijver and Dr W Russell, with Prof Dr Ruter as adviser.
I then requested Mr Zafar to be my lead lawyer, which the then law minister, the law secretary, the attorney general and Gen Zia’s coterie tried their best to sabotage. It was only after I threatened to go to Holland to defend my case myself if Mr Zafar were not appointed, that they agreed. He defended me brilliantly and the verdict was declared null and void and I was honourably acquitted. I later travelled to Holland to visit my in-laws and didn’t face any problems. I always had faith in the Dutch legal system and I was not disap- pointed. In Chapter 24 of his book, Mr Zafar has described in detail his role in the government’s dealings with me. In December 2003-January 2004 I had experienced how Musharraf, who used to click his heels, salute me and open my car door, suddenly changed and become arrogant and intolerably rude. This was the reward I received for my work. He and his cronies did everything within their power to ruin my reputation.
Every day the FO and army spokespersons would level unproven, mischievous accusations against me. I was also well aware that all the debriefings were being recorded