August 17, 2019
* To supplement Independence Day celebrations, the Daily Times will highlight, all of August, the individuals who continue to make Pakistan proud. Our 15th interview is with the award-winning and the internationally acclaimed lawyer Saiful Malook
Tell us about your foray into the field of law. How did it all begin for you?
I accidentally forayed into law. I had never thought that I would end up being a lawyer. All I wanted to do was to be free and lazing around. A friend of mine used to teach at Punjab Law College, Lahore. He was a senior judge and his name was Mian Nazeer Akhtar. I often visited him in the evenings and we hung out for a chit chat, etc. One day, he suggested I join the college he taught at since I wasn’t doing anything and I decided to give it a shot. The rest, as they say, is history.
When did you decide your area of interest?
I belonged to a feudal family and was already familiar with the thana culture, etc. Owing to my knowledge in this area, I decided to take up criminal law as it was my favourite. So, it began from there and my cases mainly have been in criminal law.
Tell us about some of the challenges that you faced when you were making your case for Asia Bibi? Were you confident that you would win?
A lifetime of threat is all I would say. I would be driving around and would spot a motorbike being ridden by two men, following me. My heart would jump and I would immediately take a turn and often times, the bike would coincidentally take the turn with me and I would be sure that they’re out to kill me. Such is the aftermath. Until lawyer and activist Asma Jahangir was alive, she would call me and ask jokingly if I were still alive. She was the one who had advised me to settle abroad after the case ended. You see, when I started working on the case, I was not that confident. I worked on it for four years; 2014 onwards. I worked on it day and night, the same way a scholar prepares for his/her PhD research papers. One has to read a plethora of books for information and knowledge and sometimes even that’s not enough. I remember the final argument which took place on October 8, 2018. It lasted for three hours. I had been praying for four years that Dear God, please let Asif Saeed Khan Khosa be part of the bench as he was one judge who understood criminal law the best in the entire subcontinent. Mian Saqib Nisar had expressed his desire to hear the case and I knew in my heart that he wasn’t fond of me. I also knew in my heart that he didn’t know the ABC of criminal law. It was a chilling and a challenging time as people were following and supporting Mumtaz Qadri like Ahmedis follow Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadiani or Shias follow Hazrat Imam Hussain. You know with full commitment. The day arrived when the list for the bench was released. It was a Friday. It comprised Saqib Nisar, Asif Khosa and Mazhar Alam Miankhel (a person whose existence did not really mean anything). I saw the list and thanked Allah. I thought if Asia Bibi was acquitted, we would look good in front of the world. Do you know the European Union had threatened us that if Asia would not be acquitted, aid amounting to 35 to 38 billion euros will not be given to us. After I had won the case, I remember returning from Paris to Amsterdam when a young girl came running towards me, asking if I were the lawyer who had dealt with Asia’s case. I said yes and she looked at me is if one would look at a hero.
Pride of Pakistan Saiful Malook
Son of Pakistan Governor Murdered for Supporting Asia Bibi Says There are 200 More Cases Just Like Hers
DAY OF THE ENDANGERED LAWYER – 24 January 2020 – PAKISTAN