Prominent senior Pakistani lawyer and former Attorney General Sharifuddin Pirzada passed away on Friday at the age of 94.
Pirzada was secretary to Pakistan’s founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the 1940s. He served as attorney general under President Yahya Khan and his predecessor Ayub Khan, Pakistan’s first military ruler, whom he also served as foreign minister.
In 2014, he was the head of the former president Pervez Musharraf’s defence team as the military ruler faced treason charges relating to his imposition of a state of emergency in 2007.
Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada was born in the city of Burhanpur, in what is today Madhya Pradesh, to parents Mir Niazi Pirzada and Fatima. His father was a noted barrister as well, serving in the Indian Civil Service at the time and posted in the state.
Pirzada began his legal career in the Bombay High Court before moving to the newly created Pakistan.
He was a highly controversial figure amongst political and judicial circles in Pakistan due to his regular legal work in ensuring the legitimacy of Pakistani military rulers, as well as offering his services to a wide variety of entities seeking on ensuring the status quo in the country.
“He’s a very skilful lawyer and we have no better authority on constitutional law. People could have been very good architects but built something for Hitler,” Asma Jahangir, a top human rights lawyer and leading light among Pakistani liberals, once said about the lawyer.
Sindh High Court temporarily suspended all legal proceedings after Pirzada’s death.
Pirzada family said the funeral prayer will be announced after his children fly home from abroad.