Some of the high-pro­file cases lawyer Qureshi has taken part in

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - SUNDAY REVIEW - BY IBRAHIM ORUKO

His ar­rival in court on Thurs­day was as grand as the an­nounce­ment of his ap­point­ment to lead the pros­e­cu­tion team in the case against Deputy Chief Jus­tice Philom­ena Mwilu.

Prof Khawar Qureshi was driven to court in a con­voy of govern­ment ve­hi­cles, ma­rooned by se­cu­rity. He was then guided into the court­room in a re­gal style.

De­spite the royal treat­ment, Prof Qureshi con­fronted his first chal­lenge. De­fence lawyers in the case led by James Orengo and Eric Omo­geni protested his pres­ence, say­ing he is not li­censed to prac­tise in Kenya. The mat­ter is al­ready the sub­ject of a court case. At­tor­ney-gen­eral Paul Kar­iuki has ar­gued that Prof Qureshi can work in Kenya, but only that his prac­tice should be lim­ited to the Mwilu case.

A back­ground check re­veals a lot about the Pak­istani-born lawyer. On his CV, he de­scribes him­self as a “per­son who de­liv­ers the goods and that is par­tic­u­larly good at dif­fi­cult cases”.

Cham­bers and Part­ners, an in­ter­na­tional jurists lobby, de­scribes him as be­ing “part of the team and very flex­i­ble”. “As such he’s com­pletely what the mod­ern bar­ris­ter should be like,” the lobby re­marked about Qureshi in 2014.

From Bos­nia, Dji­bouti, Iran, In­dia to his na­tive Pak­istan, Prof Qureshi has been in vir­tu­ally all court­rooms that mat­ter; rep­re­sent­ing dif­fer­ent clients, rang­ing from states to in­di­vid­u­als. Some of his cases have, how­ever, ended in con­tro­versy.

One of the most fa­mous in­ter­na­tional tri­als Prof Qureshi has par­tic­i­pated in, and lost, was a case against Kulb­hushan Jad­hav, an In­dian na­tional con­victed by the Pak­istan mil­i­tary for spy­ing and sub­ver­sive ac­tiv­i­ties in Pak­istan.

Mr Jad­hav was sen­tenced to death in a Field Gen­eral Court Mar­tial on April 10, 2017, but In­dia moved to the In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice (ICJ) in May 2017 to fight the ver­dict, halt­ing the ex­e­cu­tion pend­ing the fi­nal de­ter­mi­na­tion. Prof Qureshi led the le­gal team at the ICJ.

The court’s ver­dict trig­gered an up­roar in the me­dia against Prof Qureshi. His com­pe­tence, ex­pe­ri­ence and per­for­mance was scru­ti­nised. Prom­i­nent lawyers in Pak­istan crit­i­cised the coun­try’s de­ci­sion to ap­point him le­gal coun­sel and to ac­cept the ICJ’S ju­ris­dic­tion on the mat­ter.

In an­other case in 2004, In­dia was forced to face ar­bi­tra­tion at an in­ter­na­tional tri­bunal in the US ini­ti­ated by an Amer­i­can firm En­ron over the clo­sure of a power project, Dab­hol. Mil­lions of dol­lars were at stake for In­dia.

The In­dian govern­ment had picked Har­ish Salve as its coun­sel at the tri­bunal.

In the same year, the United Pro­gres­sive Al­liance swept to power as well as a new team of law of­fi­cers. To man­age the high-stakes ar­bi­tra­tion over Dab­hol against En­ron, the govern­ment chose Fox and Man­dal law firm.

How­ever, there was a sud­den change of heart and the Fox and Man­dal firm was asked to hire Prof Qureshi. In­dia ul­ti­mately lost the case to En­ron and a lot of money that was paid to Qureshi as fees.

In an­other case he had taken on in­volv­ing Gib­son Dunn and Pe­ter Gray, Prof Qureshi was forced to re­port him­self to the Bar Stan­dards Board fol­low­ing an ad­verse rul­ing.

Mr Gray had mis­led the High Court in a case be­tween Mr Dunn and Dji­bouti. Mr Gray made a num­ber of ac­cu­sa­tions to the court about Prof Qureshi’s con­duct. The board con­tro­ver­sially dis­missed the com­plaint.

Lawyer Khawar Qureshi

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