MSU

About Us

Bilal Hasan Minto, Muhammad Saram Israr and Muhammad Usman, partners at the erstwhile Minto & Mirza (1994-2023), founded MSU in 2023. They bring together their respective experience to the new firm.

MSU is a full-service firm offering litigious and non-litigious services. While we have our physical office in Lahore, we provide services to local and foreign clients all across Pakistan.

Our understanding of the legal landscape allows us to navigate challenging legal matters with precision and clarity. Whether it is litigation, corporate advisory, intellectual property, family law or other practice areas, our team possesses the acumen and proficiency to advise and advocate effectively on behalf of our clients.

We endeavor to integrate social development into our legal practice to include community advocacy, research and advisory work in collaboration with private and public sector organizations. We strive not only to achieve legal success but also to build enduring relationships based on trust, integrity, and results.

We are also committed to carry on the work of Mr. Abid Hassan Minto–who needs no introduction as one of the country’s most eminent Constitutional, Civil and Criminal lawyers–through a demonstrated commitment to the community by making pro bono contributions to issues of public interest.

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Taxation

MSU handles all kinds of tax matters, including: Income Tax, Sales Tax on Goods & Services, Federal Excise and Customs. We provide tax advice to our individual and institutional clients and also represent them before tribunals and courts.

We understand that in cross-border dealings, clients often require advice on structuring their transactions or businesses keeping in view the taxation regime in place at the relevant time in Pakistan. With the Double Tax Treaty framework growing worldwide, the divergences between treaties signed between different countries have also increased. This makes the choice of applicable treaty regime a central question of International Tax Planning for non-resident clients. In this regard, we provide advice to our clients, and assist them in developing the most tax efficient business models. We deal with matters involving interpretation and application of Tax Treaties and principles of cross border business taxation. We also advise on attribution of profits to permanent establishments and dealings between Associates involving application of Report on Attribution of Profits and Transfer Pricing Guidelines. Due to our multidisciplinary expertise in Taxation, Company Law, Constitutional Law, Commercial Litigation, and Arbitration we offer holistic risk analysis to our clients and offer comprehensive solutions, peculiar to the specific nature of a business.

We also advise our clients on future course of action in light of changes introduced by the Government in the taxation regime at the start of every financial year. Moreover, we have successfully represented our clients before the Tribunals constituted under tax laws and the provincial High Courts, both in statutory References and the High Courts’ Constitutional jurisdiction.

Muhammad Faheem Sajjad Dhariwal

Education

 
  • LL.M (Commercial Law) University of Cambridge (2021)
  • LL.B Punjab University (2014)
  • M.Phil (Economics) Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad (2011)
  • B.Sc (Hons) Government College University, Lahore (2009)

Professional Career

 

  •           Development Sector Consultant on Tax Policy and
    Reforms Adam Smith International (2022- Present)
  •       Deputy Commissioner Inland Revenue (40th CTP) FBR, Government of Pakistan (2012-2022)

Academic Career

 

  • Adjunct Faculty for Domestic and International Taxation Inland Revenue Service Academy (FBR), Lahore (2021-Present)

Profile

Faheem is a former member of the Civil Service of Pakistan. He was inducted into the Civil Services in 2012 and posted in the Federal Board of Revenue as Assistant Commissioner. He has vast experience of handling tax matters including Income tax, Sales tax and Federal Excise. During his service with the FBR, he represented the tax department before different appellate fora for over three years. In 2021 Faheem completed his LL.M. from the University of Cambridge specializing in interpretation and application of Double Tax Treaties and resolution of Investor-State disputes. Faheem resigned from Civil Service in 2022 as Deputy Commissioner to pursue a career in law. At the Firm, Faheem advises our individual and corporate clients on all matters relating to taxation and tax-efficient corporate structuring and restructuring. He has also acted as consultant on Tax Policy and Reforms for Adam Smith International and is an Adjunct Faculty member for Domestic and International Taxation, Inland Revenue Services Academy of the Federal Board of Revenue.

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Qasim Afzal

(Junior Court Clerk)

Nouman Ali

(Senior Court Clerk)

Sohail Raza

(Office Manager)

Email:

sohail@msulegal.com

Saadullah Tahir

Admissions and Education

  • Advocate High Courts of Pakistan (2014)
  • University of California, Berkeley, LL.M. (2017)
  • University of London, LL.B. (Hons.) (2011)

Profile

Saadullah Tahir initially joined the Firm in 2016, following his clerkship at the Supreme Court with former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mr. Justice (r) Anwar Zaheer Jamali. He went for his Master’s in Law (LL.M.) to the University of California, Berkeley (U.C. Berkeley) as a Fulbright Scholar and rejoined the Firm on his return. Saad has extensive knowledge of the oil and gas sector and is well versed with the substantive and procedural aspects of accountability laws. He spearheads the Firm’s practice in commercial arbitration (domestic and international), the oil and gas sector, and NAB related matters. He has considerable experience and knowledge of constitutional litigation and is well-versed with other areas of law also. He appears before the High Courts and the lower courts and assists the Partners before the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

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Barrister Muhammad Saram Israr

Admissions and Education

  • Advocate High Courts of Pakistan (2014)
  • Bar-at-Law (The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn) (2014)
  • Civil and Commercial Mediator (Accredited by ADR Group UK) (2014)
  • University of London, LL.B. (Hons.) (2011)
  • Government College University, Lahore, B.A. (Hons.) (2009)

Academic Career

  • Adjunct Faculty, Pakistan College of Law (PCL), Lahore (2017 – present)

Profile

Saram was Called to the Bar at the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn in 2014. He became a part of the Firm in 2016 with Constitutional and Commercial litigation and corporate advisory as his main areas of practice. He has advised and represented listed and non-listed companies before their respective regulators. He has also represented companies, brokerage houses, banks and their officers before the Accountability Courts and the High Courts of Pakistan in white collar criminal proceedings under the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999. Saram advises individual and institutional clients on service matters and has represented them in litigation involving appointments to statutory posts and the terms and conditions of their service. He is also regularly engaged by the Federal Board of Revenue to represent it in tax matters before the Lahore High Court. Saram has been teaching at the Pakistan College of Law since 2017.

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Muhammad Usman

Admissions and Education

  • Advocate High Courts of Pakistan (2017)
  • Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), B.A., LL.B. (2014)

Profile

Usman is a graduate of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). He practices in Civil, Commercial, and Constitutional litigation and corporate advisory. He is well versed with accountability laws and represents individual and corporate clients before the Special Courts as well as the High Courts. Usman has gained considerable knowledge of the financing sector having dealt with various contentious and non-contentious matters between financial institutions and borrowers. He has been involved alongside Bilal in a constitutional challenge to federal service laws allowing posting of federal employees on provincial posts. Usman has written exhaustive research reports on issues pertaining to Muslim Family Laws and Employment/Labour laws for various clients. Usman regularly drafts pleadings and assists in matters before the Supreme Court. Before joining law practice, Usman worked at the National Assembly of Pakistan on a European Union funded project for improving parliamentary performance.

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Mirza Mahmood Ahmad

Admissions

  • Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan (2013)
  • Advocate High Courts of Pakistan (1993)

Education

  • University of Cambridge, LL.M. (1993)
  • Punjab University, B.A., LL.B. (1989)

Academic Career

  • Former Faculty, Quaid-e-Azam Law College, Lahore
  • Former Visiting Faculty, Rausing Executive Development Centre, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)
  • Former Visiting Faculty, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)

Profile

Mirza Mahmood Ahmad is regarded as a leading expert on capital markets and the oil and gas sector in Pakistan. He has represented and advised banks, brokerage houses, investment advisory entities and financial institutions. He has served as elected director on the boards of several listed companies, including the two state-owned gas transmission and distribution companies (SNGPL & SSGC) for multiple terms and has advised them on legal matters during this time. He played an active role in the introduction and use of LNG to supplement natural gas supply in the country. Mahmood regularly appears before the courts of Pakistan and has also represented various companies before regulatory bodies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, the Pakistan Stock Exchange, and the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority. He has taught at the Quaid e Azam Law College and the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) as visiting faculty. He has also lectured at the Rausing Executive Development Centre, LUMS and the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Pakistan in its directors training program.

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Abid Hassan Minto

Admissions

  • Senior Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan (1997)
  • Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan (1963)
  • Advocate High Courts of Pakistan (1957)

Profile

Mr. Minto is a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, a former President of both the Supreme Court Bar Association and Lahore High Court Bar Association, and a member of the Pakistan Bar Council from 1966 to 1983. He has also served as Vice President of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (1990-1995 – elected at its Barcelona Congress in 1990). Mr. Minto taught law at the Punjab University Law College from 1963 to 1983. Mr. Minto is regarded as an icon – one of Pakistan’s foremost jurists and constitutional law experts – with more than sixty years of experience in litigation. Although he has retired from active practice, Mr. Minto still renders amicus opinions for the superior courts when requested.

Bilal Hasan Minto

Admissions

  • Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan (2004)
  • Advocate High Courts of Pakistan (1991)

Education

  • University of Cambridge, LL.M. (1991)
  • Punjab University, B.A., LL.B. (1989)

Academic Career

  • Adjunct Faculty, Lahore University of
    Management Sciences (LUMS) (2003-2015)

Profile

Bilal Hasan Minto has represented individual and institutional clients before various courts of law (including the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the provincial High Courts, civil and criminal courts of first instance, banking, labour and accountability courts). He has been involved (by himself, and alongside his father – Abid Hassan Minto) in seminal constitutional litigation in the country including matters relating to Right to Housing, Land Reforms and Electoral Reforms. He has been amicus curiae to the Supreme Court and the Lahore High Court in several cases relating to interpretation of the Constitution and other laws and has taught at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) for over twelve years.

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Environment

We have been involved in litigation involving environmental laws before the superior courts as well as Environmental Protection Tribunals. In our commitment to public welfare, we – as public interest litigation – challenged several projects which had the potential to adversely affect the environment. Members of the erstwhile Minto & Mirza were involved in litigation before the Lahore High Court which called in question the Government’s measures to control the Lahore smog and mitigate its detrimental effects. These proceedings led to the constitution of a “Smog Commission.”

Civil Matters

We handle property related matters including inheritance, land ownership, rental and construction disputes. We cater to and assist with all types of investments, divestitures and on-going matters pertaining to real-estate development. We have represented, and advised, some of the largest real-estate developers in the country.

Labour and Service Laws

MSU has extensive experience in dealing with Labour and Service matters. We have represented clients in litigation arising from labour matters, and routinely advise our retainer clients on labour disputes including those related to Workers Welfare Fund (WWF), Employees Old Age Benefits, Workers’ Participation Fund (WPF), pension matters, trade unions and collective bargaining agent issues.

Alternate Dispute Resolution

We have represented a number of private and governmental bodies, including commercial banks, in arbitrations and mediations leading to settlement of some important longstanding commercial disputes. MSU’s partner Saram Israr is a UK Accredited Civil-Commercial Mediator. Bilal Hasan Minto has also been co-arbitrator in a commercial arbitration under the rules of ICC’s International Court of Arbitration.


Corporate Litigation and Advisory  

MSU provides litigious and non- litigious services to our clients in the corporate sector. We represent individual and corporate clients in litigation before the courts of Pakistan, including winding-up proceedings and protection of minority shareholders etc. We also represent clients before the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), and the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) in regulatory proceedings.

We are on retainer of several entities to whom we provide general advisory services on a wide array of matters and have also advised brokerage houses and other investment companies on financial regulations and their compliance. We have structured numerous financial and corporate transactions for our clients.

Intellectual Property

We take pride in our association with Audiri Vox, a renowned International Law Firm specializing in Intellectual Property matters. Audiri Vox has offices, or affiliations, in more than 50 countries and provides unparalleled legal and Intellectual Property services. In partnership with Audiri Vox, we have developed a team to handle all Intellectual Property related work.

We cater to applying for registration of Trademarks, Copyrights etc. and also represent clients in oppositions and objections.

Audiri Vox: https://audirivox.com/

Constitutional Litigation

We trace our tradition of high-quality Constitutional Litigation to our Senior Consultant, Mr. Abid Hassan Minto – recognised as one of the foremost Constitutional lawyers in the Country. Partners of the Firm, especially Bilal, have assisted Mr. Abid Hassan Minto in several seminal Constitutional cases before the superior courts.

Some of the matters in which we have  represented our clients in Constitutional Litigation before the High Courts, and the Supreme Court of Pakistan included questions relating to the criteria for appointments of Vice Chancellors in public sector universities, challenges to excess of jurisdiction by Federal Investigative Agency and other regulatory bodies, challenge to appointments of federal civil servants in provincial services, and many more matters involving enforcement of statutory provisions and protection of Constitutional Rights. We also represented the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) in litigation involving a Constitutional challenge to its parent statute.

Over the years, our Senior Consultant and Bilal Hasan Minto, Partner, have been appointed amici curiae in a number of cases involving questions of Constitutional interpretation and enforcement of Fundamental Rights. They have assisted the superior courts on issues such as the status of electoral candidates holding dual citizenships, the role of prosecution and analysts’ reports in cases tried under the Control of Narcotic Substances Act, 1997, the role of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in complaints received under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 (PECA), limitations upon the Ordinance making power of the President, disqualification of candidates for general elections, and interpretation of election laws requiring minimum participation of women voters.

At MSU, we believe in standing for what is right, and in this spirit, we have been involved in a number of public interest cases before the superior courts of Pakistan of which some have been decided while others are pending. These include the “Land Reforms Case” (Workers Party Pakistan etc. v Federation of Pakistan etc.) in which the judgment in ‘Qazalbash Waqf Case’ is challenged on constitutional grounds – arguing that concentration of land holdings in the hands of the feudal elite violates the Constitution; the “Katchi Abadi Case” (Aasim Sajjad Akhtar and others v Federation of Pakistan) involving the right to housing and shelter guaranteed under the Constitution of Pakistan to the homeless/slum dwellers; the “Qazi Faez Isa Case” (PLD 2021 SC 1) in which the power, jurisdiction and procedure of the Supreme Judicial Council in the Reference filed against Mr. Justice Qazi Faez Isa were questioned; the “Electoral Reforms Case” (PLD 2012 SC 681) where a declaration from the Supreme Court of Pakistan was sought against electioneering practices involving wealth, power and influence.

Oil and Gas

At the erstwhile Minto & Mirza, we gained considerable experience in the Energy Sector, particularly, Oil and Gas representing the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGC) and the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) before the superior courts and  the Ministry of Energy (formerly Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources), in arbitration. We have also advised companies working at various stages of the oil and gas supply chain including companies involved in exploration and production (upstream), processing (midstream) and distribution (downstream).

White Collar Crime

The partners have extensive experience of representing individuals facing inquires, investigations and trials of white-collar crimes, particularly those initiated by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

We have been engaged and have successfully defended clients obtaining relief in the form of pre-arrest, post-arrest and protective bails in proceedings under the NAB Ordinance.

In addition to representation in trial, we routinely advise clients during inquiry and investigation stages. Some of the clients we have represented in trial and/or advised in such matters include the former President Bank of Punjab, former Presidents of Sindh Bank Limited and Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited, former Managing Director Siemens Pakistan Limited, former Managing Directors SNGPL and SSGC, leading auditors, high profile private corporate executives and owners of brokerage houses.

Banking

We represent Banks as well as corporate clients/borrowers, in recovery proceedings arising out of defaulted loans under the Financial Institutions (Recovery of Finances) Ordinance, 2001. Additionally, we have rendered litigious and non-litigious services to the State Bank of Pakistan, Royal Bank of Scotland, American Express Bank, Union Bank, Prime Commercial Bank, Habib Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, United Bank, the Bank of Punjab, National Bank of Pakistan, Soneri Bank, Askari Bank, the erstwhile National Development Finance Corporation (NDFC) and Pakistan Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation Limited (PICIC). We have also negotiated settlements for several clients.

We have advised clients on structuring finance agreements and have also drafted standard agreements to be used by Banks in their lending arrangements. We have also drafted and negotiated tailor-made finance agreements, and their accompanying security documents, for Banks. 

In addition to recovery suits, we have also initiated, and defended, other related litigation on behalf of clients, including petitions under the Companies Act, and criminal proceedings under the Offences in Respect of Banks (Special Courts) Ordinance, 1984. We also conduct legal audit of contracts and security documents.