A.K. Brohi: Insights Into a Legal Mind

Posted on August 10, 2007
Filed Under >Ghulam Nabi Kazi, History, People, Politics
Total Views: 67521


Guest Post by Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi

The mention of the late Mr A K Brohi’s name brings to mind a rush of memories. Pakistan has seen only a few members of the legal fraternity of his competence. He belonged to an exclusive set including eminent jurists like A R. Cornelius, Manzur Qadir, M R Kayani, Dorab F Patel, Mian Mahmud Ali Kasuri, Tufail Ali Abdul Rehman, Fakhruddin G Ebrahim and Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada. Ever since I was a student at the Dow Medical College I had the opportunity of listening to his ‘elaborate’ speeches.

In the historical photo above A.K. brohi (center) is flanked by Syed Hashim Raza (left) who later became Chief Secretary of East Pakistan and Hakeem Mohammad Saeed (right) who besides ‘Hamdard’ fame also became Governer of Sindh later on. Photo is circa 1960s

Photo to the right shows A K Brohi in his study.

In particular there was the memorable lecture on comparative religion he gave in a Sandspit hut overlooking the Arabian Sea to a relatively select gathering. It was a Sunday afternoon and the late Hatim A Alavi, a trusted lieutenant of the Quaid-i-Azam and former Mayor of Karachi had invited a few people to Mr Brohi’s lecture in the winter of 1975. Amongst those present were the late Mr Ghulam Ishaq Khan (later President of Pakistan) and his family, the late Mr A R Faridi, my late father Mr Ahmed Hussain A Kazi and the Alavi family. Mr. Khan was then Governor State Bank of Pakistan while the late Mr Faridi and my late father headed the Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation and Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation, respectively.

The photo to the left shows A.K Brohi (right) sitting along with Zia-ul-Haq (center) and a smoking Ghulam Ishaq Khan (left).

Mr Brohi delivered an excellent lecture although my father sometimes felt that he was too liberal in his use of words and needed to be more economical. At the end, perhaps being the youngest person around, I posed him a question and he replied in a manner, which I am sure not sixteen in our population of one hundred and sixty million could do. Actually he had stated in his lecture that prophets having been sent by Allah could do no wrong and were devoid of the capability to err. I reminded him that though the finest of God’s creation, the prophets were yet human. Mr Brohi, a true disciple of Allama I I Kazi, very patiently heard me out and remarked that there were two aspects in the life of every prophet; one was the role assigned to them by Allah of spreading the Divine message, while they carried out this duty in the human form. In the first role, he contended, the prophets could do no harm, while they were indeed somewhat vulnerable in their second aspect.

“I cry, you cry, the Prophet cried—that was his human aspect.”

The point was made. In retrospect, I am sure he used finer language than the one mentioned above; after all thirty two years have passed by since then. After the lecture, we moved outside the hut and admired the sea on that pleasant afternoon. The late Mr Hatim Alavi asked me if I had ever rode on a camel’s back for a long ride, and on my replying in the negative, he remarked that I was not a bonafide Sindhi!

The historical photo to the right shows Zia-ul-Haq’s cabinet. People from the left are Mr Mustafa Gokal Minister for Ports and Shipping, Lt Gen Faiz Ali Chishti Minister for Establishment, Mr A K Brohi Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs and Mr Ghulam Ishaq Khan Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs.

There was a general consensus that our host had set a great precedent, as talk on religion could not be restricted to mosques or other places of worship alone. Furthermore, the atmosphere was most informal with few people realizing that one of those present would occupy the top most slot in the land within 12 years or so.

Photo the left shows Mr Brohi at an international conference of the Rotary Club in New Delhi in 1981 chatting with District Governor of the Rotary Club Mr Kassim Dada.

On the way back we drove to the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP) as Mr Brohi had to meet his friend the late Mr Munir Ahmed Khan Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission at that time. Mr Brohi handed me his copy of the Holy Quran with the Pickthall translation in the car. He told me to treat it simply like a book more to be read than revered. When I met him three years later (he had Cabinet rank then) in his personal office, he advised me to read Arberry’s translation of the Holy Quran although he felt Pickthall was pretty objective too.

I vividly remember his funeral and burial at the Army Graveyard in Karachi during 1987. He had died during an angiography abroad. I was caught up at the Civil Hospital Karachi, prompting Prof S H Rahimtoola to remark upon my arrival,

“GN you are late, you are late—.”

I reached before the President though.

Photo to the left shows Mr. A K Brohi in the library of Karachi Grammar School. Photo is circa late 1960s.

Many years later, while going through some of my father’s old papers, I found a letter written by Mr Brohi to my father in 1940. It struck me that he called my father ‘Ashoo’ a nickname used only in the family or very close friends and acquaintances. Incidentally at that time my father had retired from active service and was working with Mr Brohi, a desire alluded to in the letter itself. He left Mr Brohi’s firm in 1984 to take over as Chairman Public Accounts Committee Sindh and avoid any possible conflict of interest.

The letter makes references to my great-uncle Allama I I Kazi who would later assume the role of Founder and Vice Chancellor of the Sindh University, my uncle Mr A G N Kazi who joined the Indian Civil Service and held several pivotal positions in the economic ministries, and his younger brother the late Justice B G N Kazi who was a Judge of the Sindh High Court and Federal Shariat Court prior to his death in 1986.

Mr Brohi himself was first inducted in Pakistan’s so-called ‘Cabinet of Talent’ as Law Minister under Prime Minister Muhammed Ali Bogra in 1954 at a relatively young age, and later served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to India in the early sixties. In the latter position he was instrumental in getting the Indus Waters Treaty signed. He was re-appointed as Law Minister in the late seventies, and was Ambassador-at-Large and/or Rector of the Islamic University at the time of his death.

Shortly after his death, Rotary Club in Karachi arranged a dinner meeting in his memory and both the distinguished speakers that night viz., Justice Dorab Patel and Syed Hashim Raza have since passed away. The learned gentlemen spoke of their memories concerning Mr Brohi and we dispersed after the usual pleasantries. The photo to the right shows the first mayor of Karachi after Independece, Hakim Ahsan (center) and Syed Hashim Raza (right) in the Rotary Club dinner hosted in memory of A K Brohi.

Justice Dorab Patel, a gentleman par excellence, not wishing to detain his driver at that late hour had let him go. So a friend and I escorted the great man to his Clifton residence. On the way, Justice Patel quietly remarked,

“I wonder what made Mr. Brohi support the suspension of the constitution at the end of his career.”

Either in awe of Mr. Justice Patel’s personality or rightly assuming that he was putting the question to himself rather than to comparative youngsters like us, we both remained silent. He was perhaps thinking how champions of civil liberties sometimes act in an inexplicable manner, while sincerely believing that they are doing the right thing.

The letter that I have preserved and reproduced below makes a highly interesting reading. It reflects the innermost conflicts in the mind of a student of philosophy during the course of the Second World War.

It also appears that the writer is in need of sharing his deep-rooted anxieties, frustrations and cautious optimism with someone close to him. Apparently quite unwittingly, in the very first paragraph of the letter, he in fact provides an irrefutable argument supporting the creation of Pakistan. The fact that he was editor of the Sindh Madressah Chronicle must have helped in refining his writing skills, because nobody could afford to adopt a casual attitude towards journalism in those days. Writing letters was apparently an art in those days and not treated lightly even when the communication was to an old friend.

More than 67 years later, the Leslie Wilson Moslem Hostel where the letter was written and where Allama Kazi delivered his Friday sermons was re-named as Jinnah Courts after 1947, and now houses the headquarters of the Pakistan Rangers. My father passed away in January 2007 traversing the path followed by his old friend nearly 20 years earlier. On reading the letter one is immediately transported into an era that will never come back again neither in Sindh nor yet anywhere else, and we are reminded of Dicken’s words:

“Such are the changes that a few years bring about and so do things pass away like a tale that is told!”

The Sindh Madressah Chronicle

Allah Bukhsh K. Brohi, MA, LL.B.,

30 Leslie Wilson Moslem Hostel,
Karachi, 17th June 1940

My dear Ashoo,

How I wish I could tell you the extent of my delight at having received your poetic letter: your decision to take up law course has contributed much more to my happiness than you could possibly imagine. It may be that we live together to practice law! And that is no small thing to long for. Your law college starts working on 20th June or thereabouts. You may leave Hyderabad for Karachi after having heard your result. I hope to send you a wire. And I know what its contents are to be. As for my becoming a Professor of Law it is an impossibility – despite what Napoleon happened to say about its existence. I know some Hindu chap will be called up to join the college staff. They asked some questions about my knowledge of law in the interview and like a frank soul I told them that I did not remember Law at the tips of my fingers and all I contended was that I was a competent teacher of Law. I do not know if that could be palatable for a prejudiced taste. I am positive I am not slipping into the job.

I had arranged to start my law practice at Sukkur in the beginning of July 1940 but when I acquainted Mr I I Kazi with this plan of mine with a view to elicit his permission he dissuaded me from being so very hasty in taking up that momentous decision – in particular when War in Europe may vitally affect the Indian body-politic so very vehemently that such professions may cease to be the lucrative concerns which they are supposed at present to be. I could not oppose him and I have been convinced about the wisdom of his advice.

So it comes about! I am compelled to wait for a couple of months more. During all these days that I have been endeavoring to take this decision I have often been reminded of an observation by Goethe which I am now quoting for your perusal,

“Child! Child! No more! The coursers of time, lashed by invisible spirits hurry on the light little car of our Destiny: and all we can do is to sit in self-possession to hold the reins with a firm hand, guide the horses and the wheels now to the left, now to the right, avoid a stone here and a precipice there. Whither it is hurrying who can tell! And who indeed can remember the point from where it started”.

The roaring mechanism of the universe goes on heedless of our petty wishes and faint desires.

“Is there no economy in Nature?”

I often ask myself this question. Why has she given me so many talents, gifts, abilities and ideals if she has not made an adequate provision for an opportunity wherein I may use them for the benefit of mankind. But the old answer returns on me again and again. It is to wait and watch – yes it is to wait and watch until I am called on by my Destiny to do my bit: or who knows, if I will be allowed to do that bit at all? But then, I take refuge in the oft-quoted line from Milton:

“They also serve who stand and wait”.

O’ but it is a painful waiting. The moments of our youth wear an evanescent character and the youthful period is only too fleeting to be trusted. I long to do something to advance the cause of spirit on Earth. I know by my temperament and training I am quite competent to become the missionary of that cause. I do not find any meaning in this painful period of waiting.

But I am not competent to judge my life in its middle course: it is a work of art and must be judged as a whole. We must wait to see the curtain drop before we can pronounce any judgment as to the charm of the play. Have we not been struck by the indescribable sweetness even of a tragic end, of a faultless flow of unfortunate events to a swift and yet eternal end! Our life with all its bitterness may yet have a significant end. Again we must wait! We must submit before that stupendous enigma – whose solution eludes all efforts to grasp it.

My mind has thus become a battlefield for these conflicting forces of faith and despair to play their part upon. At times I side with one, at times with another. Thus do the days of my life pass. It is an endless struggle. But I know all this suffering is to end in a richer fulfillment. God only tries us: this is but a test! I know I am going to emerge out as a successful servant of His. Already I find the dawn of hope, which is to induce me into continuing my weary search like a chartered metaphysician. How strangely do I feel above all the conflicts that rage within me: I feel so much above my circumstances.

You will forgive me, my sweet Ashoo, if I have offended me with my letter: there are very few souls who understand me and even from those there are a few indeed with whom I can at all share my inward pangs and sighs. I feel you are the only one with whom I can occasionally allow myself a little communion. I am conscious of the fact that nothing comes out of this sort of melancholy expression of one’s deep-seated tortures. But then that is probably all we can do to relieve ourselves of the fullness of our heart. How very different is your style of life from mine. I know that you have enjoyed this vacation period to your heart’s content. It is a joy to reflect that at least you have been spared.

Aftab comes to me at times: We also meet at Kazi Sahib’s. Yesterday he was a bit offended against the existing government, as the latter had refused to provide its subjects with rifles to protect themselves against any internal insurrection. I found in him a buoyant spirit. He is completely transformed. Who would say that he is a mere scholar. He has become so militaristic in his outlook that it is difficult to reconcile his reverence for Gandhiji’s non-violence with his radical and reactionary doctrinaire. How swiftly people change! Not so with me, I am quite conservative and steady in my outlook.

God be thanked that Bashir has passed out. I was confident of his success, as even I am confident about your first class. I did my best with him and in doing that I only was doing my duty. Do what I may I cannot pay off even an iota of those favors, which Kazi families have been lavishing on me.

Kindly convey my respects to your father and mother.

With inexpressible feelings of devotion
I am yours

Allah Bukhsh Karim Bukhsh Brohi
M.A., LL.B.

Credits: The photo in sepia showing A.K. Brohi in Karachi Grammar School library is courtesy of Prof. Qamaruddin Isa Daudpota.

About the Author: Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi works with World Health Organization in Islamabad.

53 Comments on “A.K. Brohi: Insights Into a Legal Mind”

  1. BuzzVines says:
    August 10th, 2007 7:43 am

    We Just Tagged you at BuzzVines, hope you join us in

  2. Dewana Aik says:
    August 10th, 2007 9:15 am

    He belonged to an exclusive set including eminent jurists like A R. Cornelius, Manzur Qadir, M R Kayani, Dorab F Patel, Mian Mahmud Ali Kasuri, Tufail Ali Abdul Rehman, Fakhruddin G Ebrahim and Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada.

    Dr Sahib when you combine two names A R. Cornelius and Fakhruddin G Ebrahim with Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada in one sentence then it makes me wonder. Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada has been economical with any sense of integrity (to put it very mildly) by supporting pretty much every dictator in the history of the country in direct conflict with the interests of the nation, and a complete opposite to A R. Cornelius and Fakhruddin G Ebrahim.

    Perhaps we should spare the later two this eminence? Let

  3. Adnan Ahmad says:
    August 10th, 2007 9:23 am

    I am glad you finished your post on such a note. I wanted to enjoy this post but could not perhaps because it dealt with some of the people who were part of Zia

  4. SH Kavi says:
    August 10th, 2007 9:53 am

    Well said Mr.Dewana Aik, In fact, I’ll question the integrity and wisdom of Mr. Brohi too for joining the cabinet of the worst dictator of Pakistan.He might be a great legal mind , but he used his talents to support a brutal military dictatorship.

  5. Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi says:
    August 10th, 2007 9:55 am

    I totally respect your point of view, but essentially I am seeing them as legal luminaries in isolation of their political role. As regards Justice Cornelius, you are forgetting he was one of the four Advisers of Gen Yahya Khan and if one follows the events from 16-20 December 1971, Yahya was trying to remain in power with the support of a constitution hurriedly prepared by Cornelius. So let us forget all about politics here. Furthermore, if the letter were included you would get my main thrust. Its totally apolitical. A letter written in 1940 showing the inner conflicts of a student of philosophy.

  6. Anwar says:
    August 10th, 2007 10:02 am

    This post read like a page from a personal diary or an eulogy and therefore I could not figure out what to extract from it.
    Towards the end, I would have asked the same question that Justice Patel asked. Nevertheless, it would perhaps be good to know what Brohi’s contributions to the state were besides keeping “exclusive” company?
    This mindset of “exclusiveness” among our elites is one of the reasons Pakistan has not produced any statesmen.
    And a deeper analysis of the Indus Water Treaty shows how foolishly we lost to India – we now have water crisis going out of hand and water logging problems – thanks to the reservoirs we were to build as a part of the treaty.
    Most of the people of our history carved as cult figures and put on pedestal to be worshiped, towards the end turned out to be ordinary humans with failings no less.

  7. Owais Mughal says:
    August 10th, 2007 10:18 am

    The letter of A K Brohi written in 1940 is now added to the post.

  8. Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi says:
    August 10th, 2007 10:19 am

    Thanks. That will put things in perspective.

  9. Owais Mughal says:
    August 10th, 2007 11:10 am

    I am a big fan of historical photos and this post provides plenty of them. Some of the photos here come from author’s own family collection so they are priceless b/c one cannot find them in museums or national archives. Whether we agreed or disagreed with the policies of people talked about here is a fair discussion. But for good or bad they are part of our combined national history and this is our small ‘koshish’ of bringing them to light and archiving the side of their personalities which may not have been shown on electronic media before.

  10. MQ says:
    August 10th, 2007 11:21 am

    In his above quoted letter A.K. Brohi writes : “I often ask myself this question. Why has nature given me so many talents, gifts, abilities and ideals if she has not made an adequate provision for an opportunity wherein I may use them for the benefit of mankind?”

    Ironically, when the opportunity presented itself, Mr. Brohi chose to use his “talents. gifts, abilities and ideals” in the service of a most malevolent dictator in the history of Pakistan rather than “for the benefit of mankind” as he had wished to.

    You could bracket A.K. Brohi with people like Sharifuddin Pirzadah but certainly not with Kiyani, Dorab Patel, F.G. Ibrahim and Mian Mahmud Ali Kasuri.

  11. Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi says:
    August 10th, 2007 12:08 pm

    I am reminded of the lines from Mark Anthony’s funeral oration of Ceasar:

    “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is often interred with their bones”

    While Dickens says in Great Expectations:

    “So throughout life our worst meanesses are usually committed for the sake of those whom we most despise”

    Although I do not understand politics at all, personally I think Mr Brohi did what he did towards the end due to some long standing personal animosity. I neither have the mandate, knowledge or inclination to say anything else. History and time alone can pass judgment on the men he served or their adversaries.

  12. okha_jatt says:
    August 10th, 2007 12:15 pm

    Being an ordinary but proud Pakistani, I have not even an iota of respect for any tyrant or his supporters. A nameless faceless person working for the good of society is much more respectable than a top legal luminary supporting a dictator.

    P.S. Can someone chronicle the portraits of ordinary folks of Pakistan and their daily struggles to make both ends meet in a world occupied by tyrants and their top legal minds?

  13. Amazed & Amused says:
    August 10th, 2007 1:00 pm

    I am amazed and amused at the puritanicalness of the readers of this blog. It used to be only the religious types here who considered themselves perfect. Now it is the political types too!

    I am so glad to have super-patriots and men of such great principle here. Thank you everyone for being such perfect people.

    I am sure you and refuse to speak to anyone who has been in the military because the military brings martial laws, and you must refuse to speak to anyone in the PPP because of the mistakes of ZAB and BB and you must refuse to speak to Aitizaz Ahsan since he was supported Mr. 10 percent and you must refuse to speak to any banker because Shaukat Aziz became a PM under a military ruler and you must not speak to any MMA person because they have tacitly supported extremists and you must not speak to any Americans because they invaded Iraq and you must also never speak to any French or British or German or Dutch citizen because they were colonials. I guess your great and amazing principles keep you from speaking to anyone at all! Which possibly explains the holier than thou attitude of sulking that is exhibited here!

    The black and white in which we see everything becomes excessive at some point. We seek prophets not humans. Everyone has faults and this guy certainly did. And if you think you have none then you are either delusional or the first person in history to be actually perfect!

    I also do not have much respect for anyone who associated with Zia. But I did not find a single word in this essay that supported Zia or defended what he did. I found a relative respectfully recounting things about a man that he respected. There does seem to be much else in him worthy of interest. I read this and learnt a great deal about a man who I have heard a lot about and knew very little about. This does not make me forgive him for his association with a dictator but it does leave me more knowledgeable about someone who ahs played a role in our history. The pettiness of the comments, unfortunately, gave me nothing except a sense of bitterness and superiority complex that was only off-putting.

  14. mazhar butt says:
    August 10th, 2007 1:32 pm


    Please note the correct name of the ‘creditor’ is Professor Qamaruddin Isa Daudpota, he is a physicist and and engineer at a reputable University.

    >>>Credits: The photo in sepia showing A.K. Brohi in Karachi Grammar School library is courtesy of Mr. Isa Daudpota.>>

  15. Allah Wasaya says:
    August 10th, 2007 1:47 pm

    Dear Dr Kazi

    Thanks to you and thanks to ATP for articles about personalities not very well known to people of my generation. It is by virtue of this blog that i came to know about Mohammad Asad, Allama I I Kazi, and now Mr Brohi.

    Regarding the comments here, Amazed & Amused’s tirade says it all, and very well articulated too! I myself might not be a fan of Sharifuddin Pirzada, but I am a huge admirer of Sahibzada Yaqoob Ali Khan and Dr Mehboob-ul-Haq.

    P.S. What do those initials (A K) in Mr Brohi’s name stand for?

  16. MB says:
    August 10th, 2007 2:10 pm

    What a post! What a man, AK Brohi.
    Quite impressed by his writing style as well as his grip over word selection.

    Someone mentioned Shariffuddin Pirzada. Although i believe he is a genius, the fact that he legitimized (in his wisdom & advocated) the military regimes, this will go down in history as one aspect in his personality that puts a BIG and BLACK question mark on his legal clothings. The question mark of his sincerity towards a country/nation VS his loyalty towards individuals.

    I am saying this because in my view its quite possible that a good man be a fool and an evil man be a genius. Being a genius is not an achievement but an attribute. Newton is not remembered because he did inventions/discoveries but more for the fact that his abilities & mental capacity was directed towards a commutative service to mankind. This is exactly why no one (wants to) remembers the men behind Atom Bomb. In my opinion humble opinion its because the overall weight of a personality does depend very much on the abilities plus the direction this geniosity will take i.e i call it a Vector value (the term Vector in Physics). We have all heard stories on the barbaric Chingiz Khan & Halaku Khan but we hardly hear any research on their genius abilities. The reason mentioned earlier hold true here.

    So even though Shariffuddin Pirzada may be the Jadugar , he may not go down in history as great personality for the reasons i mentioned earlier. Because the greatness required him to stay firm to truth which ever side it was. Ironically he always stayed on only one side. A genius mind which did nothing for its soil & country.

  17. August 10th, 2007 2:11 pm

    Really nice post on A. K Brohi,

    I vaguely recollect his interview on Khushbakht Shujaat Program in which he appeared. Anyway he was really a lawyer at par and an intellectual that Sindh has to be proud of.

    I am not sure if it is correct but I had read somewhere is that Mr.A.K Brohi was the main person on putting up a case against ZAB which finally led to his hanging. He secured the murder FIR documentation against Bhutto and left for London and came back when Zia ul Haq came into power. I am not sure if the writer can have some input on that.

    Also I want to know that if prominent Sindhi journalist Mr.Ali Ahmed Brohi who used to appear on PTV during discussion and elections was also related to Mr. A K Brohi.

  18. Owais Mughal says:
    August 10th, 2007 2:25 pm

    Dear Allah Wasaya, the letters A K stand for Allah-Bukhsh Karim-Bukhsh

  19. Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi says:
    August 10th, 2007 2:53 pm

    Thanks for all the comments. I have the deepest regard for your opinions, which I believe you sincerely hold. Furthermore, I think it is a good thing to foster a debate and ultimately come closer to the truth. A slight correction. He was not related to me but was my father’s friend. Furthermore, he was an upright person or else Chief Justice Haleem would not have attended his funeral nor would Justice Dorab Patel have commended his work at the Rotary Club meeting. Both these judges were men of extreme integrity and honour who had demonstrated that they did not care for their jobs as much as pleasing their conscience.

    I particularly liked MB’s comment because this is really all about writing and expressing yourself well. That art is becoming virtually extinct. Mr Brohi also wrote a book called An adventure in self expression. We are talking about an intellectual here!

    Yes, he was Mr Ali Ahmed Brohi’s brother.

  20. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    August 10th, 2007 5:54 pm

    Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi: I read your article with great interest. Your reverence for the gentleman is understandable. Obviously Mr. A. K. Brohi made inroads to the corridors of power very early on. He must had the knack to be at the right place at the right time. At the end did he ‘soil’ his own reputation by serving ‘the prince of darkness’ and by becoming an instrument in hanging of his fellow Sindhi? History will judge that. In the meantime we appreciate your efforts to write about a friend of your family and an important figure in the checkered history of Pakistan. Your exchange with Mr. Brohi on the the subject of biblical prophets is also very interesting. Again history have different stance on private as well as public lives of biblical prophets. Love and faith have some thing in common. Blindness.

  21. Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi says:
    August 10th, 2007 11:16 pm

    Mr Bhutto was also a friend of my father. About his end I will say:

    Fate nurtures them for centuries;
    Accidents don’t occur in an instant

  22. dawa-i-dil says:
    August 11th, 2007 1:25 am

    Why to include Pirzada among those shining stars…confused…

  23. August 11th, 2007 7:12 am

    I think I would share the majority view on this post. A K Brohi, Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, and Justice Munir types–not matter how smart they were–have brought untold misery and tyranny on the people of Pakistan. The world would have been better without them, as it would have been better without the likes of Idi Amin and Adolph Hitler. The only difference between the two groups is that while the latter killed by their own hands and direct orders, the former were precursors of events that resulted in such events and killings…

  24. Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi says:
    August 11th, 2007 7:23 am

    I get your point, but somehow it appears to be a case of selective accountability. Taking things in the broader perspective, which transition of power after the death of the first Governor General and first Prime Minister of Pakistan (both in extremely strange circumstances), would you consider legal and constitutional. To my mind, it was not the intention of the founding fathers to hand over the country to civil servants who had nothing but contempt for the general masses. If the list of usurpers were to be drawn up, you might be surprised. But this is not an ideal country in an ideal world. So we have to come to terms with certain ground realities. To do anything else would be naive or utopian.

  25. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    August 11th, 2007 9:45 am

    “………………But this is not an ideal country in an ideal world……………… So we have to come to terms with certain ground realities…………… To do anything else would be naive or Utopian.”

    So Dr. Ghulam Nabi Kazi now you are on your back toes apologizing for your family friends and connections. Pakistani establishment has served this country in the worst possible way. To say well ‘this is not an ideal country’ is a cop out. You get half decent results when you aim for the excellence. And when you start with low expectations you end up with failures. We often hear about Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan and Zia and their sins. Well, what about the sins of their functionaries like A. K. Brohi and hundreds of others. Should they share any of the blames for the miseries of this poor nation or should we keep on glorifying them for their opportunism. Your article about Mr. Brohi is informative but lacks objectivity. A balanced approach would have been more forthcoming. As you said, even prophets are not perfect.

  26. Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi says:
    August 11th, 2007 10:02 am

    You misunderstood me. I am not apologizing for anything. All I am saying civilians can be usurpers too and things started going awry even before Munir was heard of. We have been born into this atmosphere. And you are right, my article lacks objectivity, because its not an article at all but a comment on a letter written 67 years ago. I rest my case!

  27. MB says:
    August 11th, 2007 11:42 pm

    I guess Pervaiz Munir Alvi has a strong point but that would be relative if Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi wouldn’t comment that it was not an article at all & in fact a comment on AKB’s letter . This ends that angle of discussion there.

    In any other post when Dr. Ghulam Nabi Kazi would discuss some points on overall perspective on related (AK Brohi + people related to him) events, Pervaiz Munir’s comment would be not only meaningful then but interesting as well. Interesting in the sense of my usage of “overall weight of a personality ” , the sentence i used in earlier comment.

    I dont know much on AKB but in this quest for the “overall weight of personality”, i am sure fellows like Pervaiz Munir ( & others) would bring some pints that would reduce the final numerical value of his personality (assuming there was such a formula to judge a personality).

  28. August 14th, 2007 1:07 pm

    Dear Mr. Kazi, Thank you for your post. I am a little surprised though that we have not seen any post on I.I. Kazi, a gentleman who has had far more influence on students of philisophy & language than AK Brohi. I am sure you are privy to a lot more material on Mr. Kazi than others so we look forward to more from you. Could I get a confirmation as to which building is shown in this posting. It seems like DJ Science College rather than Jinnah Courts

  29. Owais Mughal says:
    August 14th, 2007 1:42 pm

    Naveed Siraj
    We did have a very successful post on Allama I.I. Kazi written by Dr. G.N Kazi. You can see it here.

    Also wherever Allama saheb’s name is mentioned in above post, it is linked to our earlier post on him.

  30. Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi says:
    August 15th, 2007 3:09 am

    Yes, Naveed Siraj Sahib actually it is not Jinnah Court but listed in the British Museum Library as Sindh Arts College, which actually means it is the SM College at a time when Karachi was the cleanest city this side of the Suez. The picture essentially gives a flavour of the period under discussion.

  31. Ehsaan says:
    October 24th, 2007 1:41 am

    From a perspective of being Mr. A. K Brohi’s grandson, I enjoyed reading your article, in particular would like to thank you for sharing the letter posted therein.
    Dr. Shahib, how is one to contact you?

  32. Ghulam Nabi Kazi says:
    January 20th, 2008 5:34 am

    I am sorry Ehsaan Sahib. I haven’t been on this site for long while. My e-mail address is gnkazi@yahoo.ca

    It will be a pleasure hearing from you.

  33. Mohammad Akram ch says:
    January 1st, 2009 1:45 pm

    A very interesting reading about late A K BROHI. I went through the whole page. Especially ,the old photographs and letter of 1940 are of keen interest. I remember the period when Mr Brohi was on the main scene.
    The reason that inspired to find out about the great legal mind became that today I brought a book with the title of FUNDAMENTAL LAW OF PAKISTAN written by A K Brohi from Dyal Singh Trust Library , Lahore on the demand of my son who has just completed his graduation in law from LUMS and joined a law firm. I was telling him that said book has been issued to some one after 10 years.

  34. Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi says:
    March 12th, 2009 10:46 pm

    That is indeed most interesting. It may have something to do with the frequent changes in the laws and constitution over time. Of course the ‘fundamental laws’ in Mr Brohi’s time may not have changed much even today but their spirit must have totally vanished.

  35. Watan Aziz says:
    March 14th, 2009 4:41 am

    ~~But I am not competent to judge my life in its middle course: it is a work of art and must be judged as a whole. We must wait to see the curtain drop before we can pronounce any judgment as to the charm of the play. ~~

    A very interesting read. Both the post and the comments.

    We should have more posts likes these that reflect about the people who participated in the good, the bad and the ugly (Mr. Brohi, the ugly) of Pakistani history. Thank you Mr. Kazi and ATP.

    The title of this post almost sounds like

  36. Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi says:
    June 18th, 2009 4:52 am

    Watan Aziz – I was quite impressed by your eloquence. Perhaps you should write more often and on more subjects. I agree with most of your contentions and allow me to say that if I choose to relate my father’s experiences with Gen Zia, you may find considerable similarities. However, let some things remain personal.

    This post has stimulated a lot of interesting comments and I am most grateful for all of them. Let me just respond to a few of your comments:

    A lot of our eminent jurists and lawyers have openly supported dictators with any remorse or condescension and we must view all from the same perspective. If you are absolutely in favor of Justice Cornelius allow me to say that he gave only one judgment against the government in the early part of his career. The real victory goes to the entire bench of judges who wrote against the Governor General, Mohammed Bux Memon, Mohammed Bachal Memon, ZC Vellani. They were the symbols of revenge for Ghulam Muhammed and had cases of sodomy registered against them while Cornelius conveniently ended up in the lap of the establishment and ended his career as Law Adviser to CMLA Yahya Khan. In the erroneous Legal Framework Order or some such thing he drafted it was possible for 50% of the assembly to frame the constitution making the division of Pakistan inevitable. Forget even that. I think it is sad that a prejudiced person who can say, “It is better to trust a snake rather than a Sindhi” should become Chief Justice of Pakistan. I may be politically incorrect but I am sorry Cornelius is not entitled to the sort of glory he is being catapulted to.

    Mr Brohi never wore anything other than a suit in the Zia era.
    I do not know what was in his mind but in my view personal enmity led him to side with the likes of Zia. If Ghulam Ishaq Khan can be democratically elected president or Roedad Khan who was Zia’s Secretary General Interior can pose as a champion of democracy today I do not understand this ire against Brohi.

    On the Indus Water Treaty, your point is well taken and perhaps I should have worded things better.

    About Arberry and Pickthall, let’s leave judgment on certain issues to Allah as we neither have the mandate not the knowledge to judge our fellow human beings.

    I apologize for seeing your comments a bit late and if anything that I wrote has offended you. I fully respect your sentiments.

  37. Watan Aziz says:
    July 18th, 2009 8:55 pm

    Death by a thousand innuendos?

    The post is about A. K. Brohi and not Justice Cornelius. Assuming your gossip has merits, has it reflected on his record as a jurist? I have never come across this, but perhaps this can be a topic of your next post.

    Notwithstanding the decision of Sindh High Court (for which you offer heaping and deserving credits) which ruled correctly on the technicality of constitutional law whether the Constituent Assembly needed the accent of the GG Ghulam Mohammad when acting in the capacity of Constituent Assembly, however, it was in fact a different matter that Cornelius earned the gratitude of the nation.

    It was when GG invoked Emergency Powers that the Supreme Court had to rule on the constitutionality of the same. It is here the precedent is set that an Executive can go beyond the Constitution to perform acts which a Court is prepared to uphold. Here was infamous

  38. Dr Ghulam Nabi kazi says:
    July 19th, 2009 4:19 am

    Well I suppose we will have to agree to disagree and I take exception to some of your personal remarkks. Anyhow about the doctrine of necessity, please educate yourself by reading Gen Arif’s memoirs on how Justice Anwarul Haq was threatened, had to open the court at night and give Zia the powers to amend the constitution in addition to decalring his take over constitutional. It would be naive to expect that he did so due to Mr Brohi’s arguments.

    About Cornelius, I have read the whole of his thick biography and I know all that you have mentioned but am not impressed. Justice Sajjad Ali Shah also wrote a lone dissenting judgment when toady Nasim Hassan Shah, who has confessed to judicially murdering Mr Bhutto, was restoring Nawaz Sharif in 1993. Why isn’t he being extolled to the sky. The vote was 10 : 1.

  39. Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi says:
    July 19th, 2009 4:27 am

    Do you know that immediately after the despicable Ziaul Haq did what he did in the darkness of the night of 4-5 July 1977, he called the Law Secretary and told him to come over. When he arrived Zia told him to contact all the 4 Chief Justices and seek their concurrence to be acting governors under martial law. The secretary said he would try but the chances were remote as the Chief Justice of LHC had ruled Martial Law in Lahore illegal so the likelihood of his becoming governor now was negligible. Zia told him to try. After an hour he returned to say that all four had agreed. This was the character of our judges 32 years ago! Pirzada and Brohi hadn’t even entered the scene yet. it was dead of night. Please be aware of these ground realities.

  40. Watan Aziz says:
    July 19th, 2009 10:42 pm

    ~~ after the despicable Ziaul Haq did what he did in the darkness of the night ~~

    And those who supported him, less despicable? I do give A. K. Brohi the benefit of doubt that he did not know what he was getting into. But his folly (read crime) is that he did not distance himself later.

    ~~all four had agreed~~

    ZAB was as controversial as popular. The establishment hated him. He had empowered people of Pakistan. No new or surprise here. Hopefully, with the current lawyers movement the incestuous relationship of the judiciary and the executive will lessen if not come to an end. Certainly, people are more aware.

    ~~judicially murdering ~~

    Judicial murder is not unprecedented. History is full of it. Hopefully, ZAB

  41. Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi says:
    July 21st, 2009 3:24 am

    Well alright

    “But lets come to an agreement, that

  42. Naushad Shafkat says:
    July 22nd, 2009 12:17 pm

    Just a small point first; I was a great admirer of Mr. Brohi, so my father, who was his student at the Sindh Madressah, took me to see him in 1975, as my birthday gift. Mr. Brohi was extremely kind, soft spoken and very polite. When he found that I too was interested in the law he presented me a copy of his magnum opus “The Fundamental Law of Pakistan”. He signed the copy with his full name; Allahbuksh Khudabuksh Brohi not Karimbuksh as cited here. Maybe a correction is due.
    There can be no doubt that Mr. Brohi was one of the most eloquent of speakers and I was fortunate enough not only to hear his lectures but also saw him arguing cases before the Sindh High Court and the Supreme Court. Only a lawyer of Mr. Brohi’s standing could say to the Supreme Court while being asked to re-argue a case that he had already argued at length, ” You should have decided the case as best as you could instead of fixing it for re-hearing. After all it is not the mandate of the Constitution that the Supreme court shall decide correctly, only that the Supreme court shall decide finally”.
    At another time when arguing against the law privatizing the Standard Bank on the ground that it was discriminatory and person specific, he stated before a bench headed by Justice Dorab Patel, “My lords, if you look at the noose you will know the neck for which it was made”.
    His book “The Fundamental Law of Pakistan” is the bible of constitutional law even today and a must read for any student of constitutional law anywhere in the world.
    However I used the past tense in my opening sentence advisedly and the quote of Justice Dorab Patel in your write -up says it all. Why Oh why did a man of Mr. Brohi’s stature argue for a military dictator! A man who spent the better part of his life talking about Islam, Democracy, Human Rights, the dignity of Man. It could not be for money or power or anything else. So Why?
    The only answer I can come up with is VANITY! Bertrand Russel mentions an ancient prince who had pelf and power and a principality over which he held unchallenged sway. On his deathbed he was asked if he had any regrets in life. He replied, “Just one; Once the Pope had come visiting and I took him up a tall tower to take a view. He and I were alone. My only regret is that I did not push him over the top!!!”.

  43. Adnan Ahmad says:
    July 22nd, 2009 1:59 pm

    There is not a doubt in my mind that Mr. Brohi was one of the countless enemies Bhutto made just for fun. Cowasjee and Javed Iqbal both have written on such a suicidal side of Zulfi. I think Dr. Sahib knows it well but I guess wouldn

  44. Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi says:
    July 24th, 2009 1:45 pm

    Thanks for your kind perspectives, Naushad Shafkat and Adnan Ahmed. They are indeed quite close to my own thoughts. “Vanity, vanity said the poet. All is vanity” Well let’s call it a chance to get even. Perhaps ideally those things should be left to God. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves but rather give place unto wrath; for it is written ‘Vengeance is mine’ saith the Lord, I shall repay”

    Even the Devil does not know the thoughts of men but this is what immediately comes to mind. Infact I have said it in so many words before. Thanks again.

  45. Watan Aziz says:
    July 24th, 2009 9:41 pm

    Dr Kazi, Naushad Shafkat and Adnan Ahmad, I am not sure vanity explains it all.

    I like to call this the

  46. Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi says:
    July 25th, 2009 5:21 am

    “And the 2nd and the 3rd tier mini-criminals, their co-conspirators, collaborators and active supporter, they too were good people before their adventures with reckless conduct. They too acquired unquestioned power at the behest of the usurpers. It was their reward to support the criminal act, the breaking of the constitutional process.”

    From the time of the passing away of the Founder of the Nation, these people will approximately be 160 million. The remaining 10 million would be the poorest of the poor who probably dont know or dont care who is ruling them.

  47. Watan Aziz says:
    July 25th, 2009 6:33 am

    ~~From the time of the passing away of the Founder of the Nation, these people will approximately be 160 million. ~~

    Are you are suggesting that these many people acquired unquestioned power at the behest of the criminal who broke the constitutional process?

    In Pakistan?

    A criminal enterprise of Pakistanis? Wow! This is a new one for me.

    ~~The remaining 10 million would be the poorest of the poor who probably dont know or dont care who is ruling them.~~

    Maybe a page from Zia’s book? Something to the effect, “the 1973 Constitution is a slim volume, I could rip to shreds whenever”. It may be nice to remain above judgement herein and in the present, but there is another Judgement to reckon with and a minor problem of collective judgement of history.

    Neither very hospitable to those who break laws, support those break laws and with the ultimate aim to deny justice and equity.

    And some of us who cannot do much but to speak up, will never shut up. Zia was a criminal; A.K. Brohi was his 2nd tier criminal associate. Q.E.D.

    We agree that we disagree.

  48. Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi says:
    July 25th, 2009 9:43 am

    Please try to understand what you are yourself saying. If anyone is associated or supports anyone who ruled Pakistan from Liaquat Ali Khan onwards is a criminal. I have demonstrated to you that you cannot enforce selective accountability like Ziaul Haq or GIK. Cornelius was a first tier criminal associate of Yahya Khan – one of his four principal advisers, his ‘legal’ brain. I could say the same for all legal luminaries of Pakistan. They have provided brains to one or more of the leaders you name. Lets simply agree to disagree.

  49. Watan Aziz says:
    July 25th, 2009 9:10 pm


    {Standing Ovations}

    To preserve the memory of your beloved Brohi, you accused the 160 Million consisting of bus driver, the tangay walla, the sepahai, the chai walla and everyone in between as criminals of the 3rd tier. I suppose the section officers, subedars, asi s’ and up are 2nd tier. And secretaries of departments and command officers and up are 1st tier in your books. (These are you tiers not mine. You gave the definition to the tiers by adding up the 160M.)

    But that was not enough, then you relentlessly went after Justice Cornelius and accused him of things that no one else has said about him. Google it, Dr Kazi, if you may please. You stand alone on the net in maligning Justice A. R. Cornelius. And this post is not even about him. I suppose, given an opportunity to write about him, you will cite the Sindhi snake story, the Yahya constitution story and the how the judges of Sindh deserve more than he does because of sodomy charges against them. (A certain Doc Kazi (yourself?) has mentioned this elsewhere too.) Three sentence, slam dunk.

    Well, this is what a certain Ralph Brainbatti wrote about Justice Cornelius:

    Cornelius developed a profound admiration for Islam which deepened towards the end of his life. He died in 1991 at the age of 88. As a self-described ‘Neo-Thomist’ he synthesized Christian and Islamic values through the medium of natural law. This synthesis is a case study in the compatibility of Islam and Christianity developed not on theological grounds but within the context of jurisprudence. It negates the contention that Islam and the West are necessarily at odds and that their interaction will result in a ‘clash of civilizations’.

    But this post is about A. K. Brohi and this is what Doc Kazi wrote about Brohi in another setting:

    ‘So the onus of the doctrine is really on Munir and Anwarul Haq with Pirzada being Master of Ceremonies and Brohi silently nodding away in 1978 ostensibly due to personal animosity with ZAB.’

    Saving Brohi again? Silent? Tsk-tsk.

    Dr. Kazi, respectfully, I will not be able to convince you, we are not even on the same planet. But Ghulam Muhammad, Ayub and Yahya and Sultan Mushraff’s combined sin pale when compare to Zia’s. Whatever the first three did, Pakistanis took the hits and have moved along. There are Bengalis who will painfully remember about the ‘butcher of Dhaka’ but I think they too have moved along in their lives as well. Bangladesh is certainly better without Pakistan. As for Sultan Musharaf, well, he did the good, the bad and the ugly (and in that order).

    But what Zia did, with his ‘mid-night advisor‘ every Pakistani knows all too well. Yes, it will be a struggle for Pakistanis, but they will wash this sin away, in time and with patience.

    Bear with me. Every time I hear someone begins with

  50. Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi says:
    July 30th, 2009 5:07 am

    Rhetoric, rhetoric, rhetoric — Please let me remind you I didn’t drag in Cornelius in the discussion – you did. So what if the whole of Pakistan thinks Cornelius is a saint, I dont and I am mandated only to give my views. 95% of our countrymen probably think he was a Britisher so am I supposed to think so too.

    I stand by every word I have said. Yes I am Doc Kazi and I do not hide my identity or show that I am the only patriot in Pakistan. I see no sense in prologing this discussion as you are getting rather personal and confounding issues introduced by you in the first place.

  51. Watan Aziz says:
    July 30th, 2009 6:29 pm

    On the matter of who introduced Justice A. R. Cornelius to the discussion:

    Your post:

  52. Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi says:
    July 30th, 2009 11:53 pm

    I mentioned Cornelius as an eminent jurist and still hold that view. I am not defending Mr Brohi but I am not accusing him either of crimes he did not commit. Who were the first recruits of Zia – Ghulam Ishaq Khan and in a few hours more Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada. Please read the books written on the Zia era and educate yourself why was Brohi eased out first from the Law Ministry and later from the cabinet. Why were pygmies like Mian Tufail closer to Zia and against him after he remarked there was no room for the clergy in Islam. You make it sound like he was in Zia’s bedroom every night. Only history will judge who was right or wrong. Please dont try to impose your confused views more confusedly. As far as I am concerned this is the end of discussion!

  53. Watan Aziz says:
    August 2nd, 2009 10:05 am

    A. K. Brohi, Law Minister & Advisor for Religious Affairs of Zia: The Mind Behind the Evil.

    ~~he (Brohi) replied in a manner, which I am sure not sixteen in our population of one hundred and sixty million could do. ~~

    Well, I hope the other fifteen never get a chance to wreck the havoc Brohi did and keep their manners to themselves. We have had more than enough damage with just one.

Have Your Say (Bol, magar piyar say)