He had the right pedigree, the right education and the right opportunities at the right time. But by the time he came to the end of his illustrious life which was long and full, he seemed to have achieved a lot less than his potential. Tall, handsome and urbane to his fingertips, Abdul Hafeez Pirzada’s most memorable contribution to this nation’s on-again and off-again democratic process was the 1973 Constitution which he had co-authored and piloted through parliament to its unanimous passage. He had accompanied Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in his negotiations with Mujibur Rehman after the 1970 elections. He was part of the PPP team that negotiated with the PNA team for fresh elections after questions were raised over the fairness of the 1977 elections. He was also part of the legal team that defended Mr Bhutto in the Mohammad Ahmed Khan murder case. Having virtually gone through the proverbial political mill, Pirzada looked destined to go places in his political career which, however, came to an abrupt halt after Mr Bhutto’s departure from the political scene.
The stumble in 1982 that marked his inexplicable loss of confidence in the federal Constitution which he had helped draft and his equally perplexing act of embracing the concept of a confederal Pakistan was, perhaps, the reason why he could not regain his foothold in politics; or perhaps finding a career in politics to be too risky, he opted to dedicate the rest of his life to legal practice. But in this career as well, despite having all the right connections and a reasonably brilliant legal mind, he continued to drift rather make a mark. He did lead a successful legal battle against the so-called National Reconciliation Ordinance in the Supreme Court. But next, he is seen joining the legal team advising Pervez Musharraf when a case was instituted against the former military dictator under Article 6. And he lost what was his last high-profile case when the judicial commission led by former chief justice Nasirul Mulk rejected his client Imran Khan’s plea that the 2013 general elections were systematically rigged.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2015.
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