Za­far’s story

The Pak Banker - - 4EDITORIAL -

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

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