KARACHI: Abdul Hafeez Lakho, senior lawyer and defence lawyer of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, passed away at the age of 87 in Karachi on Saturday.
The senior jurist is survived by a widow, two daughters and son. He was born on May 10, 1928 in Karachi and became general duty pilot in the Pakistan Air Force but later resigned to pursue a career as a lawyer.
Associated with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and a close friend of Bhutto, Lakho was an active political activist. He came into the limelight as the defence counsel for Bhutto in the murder case of Nawab Muhammad Ahmed Khan in 1974. Bhutto was eventually hanged on April 4, 1979.
During the political parties’ Movement for Democracy (MRD) against the dictatorship of General Ziaul Haq, Lakho was actively pursuing detention cases of PPP leaders and activists.
He also represented former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in various cases, including the famous presidential reference against her first government and subsequent graft cases filed before the Ehtsab Bureau.
“The cases which were the highlight of his [Lakho’s] life are the trial of Bhutto in a murder case and the presidential reference against Benazir,” said his son, Advocate Mobin Lakho, while talking to The Express Tribune.
Mentioning other achievements, he said that his father had served as additional advocate-general from 1973 to 1974. Lakho was also elected as president of the Karachi Bar Association three times between 1980 and 1983.
Benazir’s government had awarded him the highest civilian award of Sitara-e-Imtiaz in recognition of his services for the protection of human rights in the 1990s.
Lakho’s funeral prayers were offered at Sultan Masjid in Defence Housing Authority. He was laid to rest at the Gizri graveyard.
Former Chief Justice of Pakistan Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Sindh High Court CJ Sajjad Ali Shah, former chief minister Qaim Ali Shah, sitting and retired judges, lawyers and politicians attended the funeral prayers.
Meanwhile, judicial work was suspended at the courts on Saturday to mourn the death of Advocate Lakho.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2017.