Role of Sharifuddin Pirzada in Promulgating Martial Laws for Every Dictator of Pakistan

Sharifuddin Pirzada is responsible for assisting the violation of constitution and abuse of law by military dictators through the design of legal machinations and tools to subdue the judiciary and replace it with compliant judges. He supervised the drafting of the “mairay humwatano….” speeches for the coup plotters and dictators from Gen Ayub Khan, to Gen Yahya Khan, to Gen Zia to Gen Musharraf. This jugglery and twisting of law had been called wizardry for which he was titled as “Jadoogar of Jeddah”! He designed for dictators the instruments  for subduing the judiciary and legitimizing the violation of law and constitution as Martial Law, and its substitution with MLR, PCO, MLO, etc. Looking back at this history of usurping of the constitution and law and for his role in the promulgation of Martial Laws in Pakistan he should be remembered as:

Nang e qanoon, nang e aaien, nange e millat
Friend of the dictators, enemy of the people!

To understand the context of this post, please read At What Cost! Why Compute Economic Costs of Faulty Political Decisions.

The history of mangling the constitutions of Pakistan is crowned by two names; Justice Munir and the SC lawyer Sharifuddin Pirzada. Chief Justice Munir provided the bedrock of notorious “Doctrine of Necessity” that enabled the dictators and establishment to hold sway over Pakistan for most of its existence. The notorious lawyer Sharifuddin Pirzada’s legal mind was behind all the coups and their process of legalization. He is the one who taught the dictators how to mangle and distort the laws and how to subdue judiciary and other organs of state using the doctrine of necessity and get the judgement of choice through chief justices and justices of the courts through MLO, PCO, MLR, and other such devices. 

Rulers of Pakistan now consider it as their right to break the law and this law breaking culture has permeated in all walks of life down to the masses. Justice Munir and Sharifuddin are responsible for “institutionalizing” the violation of constitution and creating the culture of might is right in Pakistan. They gave the dictators the legitimizing tools for making the constitution their handmaiden.

Here are some quotes from what has been written about Sharifuddin Pirzada:

“Every military regime that came into power by overthrowing democratically elected governments benefited from Pirzada’s legal expertise. He served a litany of dictators, from General Ziaul Haq to General (retd) Pervez Musharraf.” [1]

“He served as attorney general for former 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 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.
Pirzada himself wrote the legal order for Musharraf’s emergency rule, updating a similar one he prepared for Gen Ziaul Haq after his 1977 coup.” [2]

“On August 31, 1967, Ayub delivered himself of the following gem on Sharifuddin Pirzada, his foreign minister: “He is on the run in foreign countries most of the time and often purposelessly, is very suspicious by nature, has hardly any communication with the staff, chases small things most of the time and is frightened of taking a definite stand on any issue. There is also some suspicion that he is not above telling a lie. So I am in a fix as to what to do with him”. [3] 

“he wrote oaths for judges sworn in by Zia and Musharraf that omitted the commitment to protect the constitution, and drew up documents based on the so-called “doctrine of necessity” to legalise both rulers’ coups.” [4]

Sharifuddin Pirzada was behind the 2nd Martial Law (Nov 3, 2007) of Dictator Gen Musharraf :

“Mr. Pirzada is the lawyer for President Pervez Musharraf, who turned to him when he decided he would get rid of a Supreme Court that was threatening to derail his re-election for a second term. By Mr. Pirzadas account, delivered as he sat on a brocade-covered couch in his living room, he met with Mr. Musharraf and his cabinet on Nov. 2, the day before martial law was imposed.[5] 

He was also engaged by the resulting sham democratic regimes to safeguard them from destabilization from the establishment. In 2008 he was assisting the government of Yusuf Raza Gilani under Asif Zardari as President. 

“Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, the top legal aide of the president and the architect of almost every PCO promulgated by dictators in the past, continues to enjoy the status of a federal minister in the present PPP-led coalition government.Though he was formally removed as senior adviser along with other advisers and special assistants of the past military regime in March, when Yousuf Raza Gilani took over as Prime Minister, Pirzada is still serving the present democratic regime as Ambassador at Large with the status of a federal minister.” [6]


[1] Three-time attorney general Sharifuddin Pirzada passes away
[2] Leading lawyer Sharifuddin Pirzada passes away
[3] Fatima Jinnah and Sharifuddin Pirzada
[4] Pakistan’s Devil’s Advocate says he’s just doing his job
[5] “On Retainer in Pakistan, to Ease Military Rulers’ Path

[6] ‘Jadoogar’ Sharifuddin Pirzada still a federal minister

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