Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, a Senior Advocate Supreme Court was a third generation Barrister of Lincoln’s Inn. He began practicing in the then West Pakistan High Court in 1957, joining the Chambers of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who went on to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. In 1959, Mr. Pirzada established law chambers in Karachi and was enrolled in the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1962. Thereafter, in 1979 he signed the roll of Senior Advocates of the Supreme Court.
He was one of the founding members of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and was a close confident of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. From 1971 to 1977 Mr. Pirzada was a Member of Parliament and remained a senior Cabinet Minister in Mr. Bhutto’s government holding several important portfolios including those of Finance, Law & Parliamentary Affairs, Federal Provincial Coordination and Education.
In 1971, Pirzada assumed the Ministry of Education and helped Bhutto to intensify his education policies under more government control. In 1973, Pirzada assumed the control of Ministry of Law and Justice. In 1977, Pirzada was made Finance Minister of the country. During his ministerial term, Pirzada played a major role advising Bhutto on critical and complicated legal issues.
In short span of time, Pirzada became one of Bhutto's closest aides advising him on complicated and critical legal issues. Pirzada remained a loyal member of the PPP Government from 1971-1977.
He was the author of the 1973 Constitution which was piloted by him as Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and passed by Parliament unanimously. He was considered a leading expert in the field of Constitutional and Administrative Law and was also a member of the Pakistan Law Commission, a statutory body formed for the purposes of reviewing and overhauling the laws of Pakistan.
Pirzada was elected MNA again in 1977 and was a key member of the three-member government team that negotiated with the PNA opposition grouping. During that time, he was the Finance Minister of Pakistan for a little over three months, before the PPP-led government was overthrown by military coup by General Zia-ul-Haq, then Chief of Army Staff.
On 17 September 1977, Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, along with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was arrested by Military Police, but Pirzada was released in 1978. Upon his release, Pirzada filed a petition in the Supreme Court requesting to review Zulifkar ali Bhutto’s petition. On 24 February, the Supreme Court denied the request of review, and therefore, the court kept its original decision. Pirzada then attempted a plea for the reduction of sentence on the basis of split decision. This time, the Court decided to hear the arguments.
On 12 March, the Supreme Court reviewed the petition, which continued until next 12 days. On March 24, Pirzada informed Bhutto in jail that the President of Pakistan can change death sentence into life imprisonment. Undaunted, Pirzada filed a petition to President General Zia-ul-Haq, who was serving at that time as Chief Martial Law Administrator. Pirzada asked the President to use "Section 45 of the Constitution", to reverse the sentence into life imprisonment.
However, General Zia-ul-Haq denied the application by saying that application has gone missing. Pirzada immediately went to meet Zulifkar Ali Bhutto in his cell where he notified him about the application's status. After the meeting Pirzada held a press conference and told the media that Zulifkar Ali Bhutto is prepared for death and would not file another application for mercy.
Following the ouster of the PPP Government and the imposition of Martial Law by Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, Pirzada developed differences with Mrs. Nusrat Bhutto and Ms. Benazir Bhutto. During the military rule in Pakistan he remained in exile in the United Kingdom.
On his return to Pakistan in the late 1980s, Abdul Hafiz Pirzada withdrew from active politics and fully concentrated on his legal career. Pirzada was one of the most successful and highest-paid advocates of Pakistan.
Hafeez Pirzada Law Associates was listed in the Asia Pacific Legal 500 and Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers. The latter describes the Head of Chambers, Mr. Pirzada, as a “first class” Senior Advocate who was “sharp, sound, aggressive” in his approach. Noting on his profile in the Supreme Court, peers commented upon his “formidable” and “outstanding” court presence.
On May 27, 2007 Geo TV broadcast of "Aik Din Geo Kay Saath" (A Day With GeoTV), Abdul Hafiz Pirzada stated that he earns about $ 20-30 million annually, and was one of biggest tax payers in his profession.
Abdul Hafiz Pirzada belonged to a prominent Sindhi family, and was the son of Pirzada Abdus Sattar, a former Chief Minister of Sindh. He died on Sep 1st 2015 in Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, in the West of London.