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