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Athar Minallah

Athar Minallah

Athar Minallah
Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan
Born: 30 December 1961
Profession: Lawyer
Affiliation(s): Supreme Court of Pakistan
Citizenship: Pakistani


Athar Minallah is a High Court lawyer in Pakistan.

Athar Minallah is the eldest son of Nasr Minallah, a former chief secretary of a province of Pakistan and commissioner in the civil services during the 1960s and 1970s. Nasrum Minallh was a distinguished civil servant who came from the Pashto speaking NWFP. He was married to Bilqees (Minallah) and had four children: Athar, Fauzia, Akmal and Samar.

Nasr Minallah served with particular distinction during the time of the former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan and was persecuted by the dictator, general Zia ul Haq, after Bhutto was removed in a coup. A car accident caused the death of Nasr Minallah, while travelling on the main highway between Islamabad and Lahore. His wife survived the accident. She, later on, became a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan and saw her daughter Fauzia become a distinguished political cartoonist for the largest English daily in Islamabad, winning numerous awards and accolades. Athar became a lawyer. Akmal and Samar, the former after graduating as a doctor, chose to enter the civil services of Pakistan, in the footsteps of their illustrious father, although not in the civil and city administration, which was their father’s forte. Their (extended) family deserves a particular mention in the history of 1970s Pakistan, especially in the [immediate] post Bhutto era because one of their close relatives, justice Safdar Shah was the supreme court judge who wrote a judgment declaring Bhutto innocent of the crime for which he was ultimately hanged (a 4 to 3 majority vote in the supreme court). For this, he was hounded out of Pakistan by the dictator Zia ul Haq and escaped to London where he later died. Athar was always interested in politics since his school days. Athar essentially wanted to be in some position of authority and for this reason he departed from his anti-dictator stance and joined the NWFP cabinet as a provincial minister during the dictatorial regime of General Musharaf. He was a fire-brand yet a distinguished debater and commanded a charming personality. His characteristic smile endeared him to all. But, under that smile and intent gaze, there was astute intelligence and courage. Athar entered the civil services and joined the Pakistan customs. He rose to senior positions in the department but could not abstain from entering the political scene that saw democratic institutions destroyed and dictatorship (however benevolent towards media and others) sap the spirit of the nation. He was a Z A Bhutto lover, as was the whole generation of young people, enthused and fascinated by the man and the phenomenon. But, after his experience of the later governments, he never saw the stature and the calibre in the post Z A Bhutto leadership of the PPP. with the man went the dream and the promise. Athar resigned his distinguished civil services career and started a law practice that saw him become a lawyer in the high courts of Pakistan. for a while, he was a minister in the caretaker government of the NWFP during the regime of General Musharraf and much after this ministership ended he switched over sides and joined the lawyers movement in support of Chief Justice Chaudhry.

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