By Irfan Bukhari –
Only painters and lawyers can paint white to black and black to white
They say when there is a rift in the lute, the business of a lawyer is to widen the rift and gather the loot. I think no one knows exactly when this profession came into formal existence but I remember the day when I got admission in the law college. The process was more than simple as the administration was least-concerned about the grades in my bachelors’ degree and the revelations made by some staffers of that college about the free-will-attendance of the enrolled students further made me feel happy-go-lucky.
The ‘aptitude’ like words had no value and the decision to become a lawyer had been taken on behest of my elders who thought that for a graduate hailing from a rural area, the choice of joining ranks of legal fraternity was the best. An additional advantage of sending me to a law institution by the elders was to ensure a kind self-sufficiency by the family (immediate and extended) in future legal battles.
Thanks to country’s undisciplined educational system, I attended classed at the college few and far between and passed the exams meeting no failures in the three-year long way. After receiving my degree in law and getting licensed by the Punjab Bar Council, I started learning the ‘craft’ at the chamber of city’s leading lawyer and in my very first practical academy I was taught how to paint white to black and black to white. During my stay at the chamber of my teacher and district courts, I had learnt the tools and tricks of successful law practice. The most of the tricks learnt by me were not from the maverick lawyer but from the lower staff like Munshis etc.
The art of telling lies, making mountains out of molehills and misguiding worried clients which I learnt from the very begging while practicing at lower courts was the only golden key to excel in the field. Today, I am an advocate of the Supreme Court. I, like all of my colleagues, never ever advised fairly to visiting clients no matter either they belonged to any respected urban social class or were illiterate rural folks.
I always exaggerated things before clients and painted horrible pictures of grave legal consequences and thus minted heavy amounts of money. Money makes the mare … same is the case with the lawyers … helpless people always try to appease you with more money when you further complicate and prolong the case by one way or another. The centuries old legal system of the country was always there to get my ambitions materialised. I did everything, doable or undoable, but I never dared challenging the existing justice delivery system as I am the beneficiary of it. Frankly speaking I always abhorred phrases like ‘speedy justice’, ‘speedy trial’, ‘justice at doorstep’ etc.
From civil courts of my hometown to the apex court of the country, I always bribed and tried to bribe the courts’ staffers to get hearings adjourned for the benefit of my clients. During my practice at civil and session courts I also established ‘cordial relations’ with some judges of the lower courts and at dozens of moments bribed them to get verdicts in my favour. The rule of the thumb is to charge the said amount from the guilty clients, pay fifty percent of the chunk to the judges and keep fifty percent in your own pocket.
At many times, I blatantly and shamelessly lied to my clients telling them the story that my backdoor contacts with a particular judge had been established and he was demanding a hefty bribe in exchange of favourable verdict but the fact was that the honest judge was out of loop. I took the money at the name of the judges and kept it to myself. I lost a number of merit-cases partly due to non-preparation as I always had too many irons in the fire. I never said ‘NO’ to any client despite work-burdens therefore at numerous occasions failed to come up to the clients’ expectations.
Proofs and witnesses shape the course of a legal case. I had and still have a pool of paid witnesses on my pay-role who give oaths in the courts of law on my nod. I also betrayed my clients at numerous occasions when I sold the possible success in the case to my clients’ opponents. After receiving huge amounts I misrepresented my clients with weak-arguments in the courts of law thus providing an ample room to the opponents to win the case without any hindrance.
Apart from legal practice, good or bad, I joined a political party and played an active role in national politics as I know the political clout ultimately may open doors of success widely on the lawyers and the rewards may be as high as the seat of a judge in the high court. With the blessings of rulers from the political party I belonged I got licenses of two CNG stations without fulfilling criteria few years back and now I have an additional rather lucrative source of income other than legal practice.
Yes I did number of misdeeds and the story of my corruption and malpractice is long but I still feel that I restrained myself from committing such crimes which my colleagues had done with no hesitation. One of my friend lawyers lured a pretty woman who had visited him for some petty legal advice and consequently she got a divorce from her husband and married the man-in-black-coat. I also know a number of lawyers whose academic credentials are fake ones but no one can challenge them as bar council and associations are standing firmly behind them at the name of ‘fraternity and brotherhood’. No authority dares cancelling their licenses too.
Now after 30-year long legal practice from the lower to the top courts, I intend to open a private law college to harvest a new crop of lawyers to ‘serve the country and humanity’. I need a building to enroll students who will occasionally attend lectures and will appear only in exams to pass a prestigious degree of law in three years like I did three decades back.
The writer is the managing editor