ISLAMABAD - Centre for Law and Security (CLAS) held a conference on ‘Lawfare and Pakistan’s Response’ last day at a local hotel in Islamabad, said a press release.

The conference was attended by eminent lawyers and jurists that included Justice (retd) Ali Nawaz Chowhan, Barrister Ali Zafar, Mr. Ahmer Bilal Soofi, Maj General Irfan Arshad, Mr. Mohsin Kamall, Dr. Salma Shaheen, Barrister Muhammad Ahmad Pansota, Mr. Taimur Malik and Mr. Imtiaz Gul. Law papers on Pakistan’s response to lawfare were presented at the conference. The CLAS also launched their report on ‘Lawfare and Pakistan’ during the event. The report contains several recommendations that can be adopted by Pakistan in order to create a comprehensive lawfare strategy.

Chief Guest of the event, Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar, Federal Minister of Law and Justice applauded and encouraged the audience to further promote international law and lawfare, so that the nation can take a serious front towards lawfare strategy. While discussing lawfare, he termed it as a modern day warfare tactic and said that Pakistan must be prepared to address future lawfare challenges. He stressed upon the significance of international law and the need for Pakistan to focus on international law in order to build a comprehensive narrative at international forums.  Dr. Chaudhry Faisal Mushtaq, Chairman Executive Board CLAS introduced the Centre and thanked the audience for their participation. He stressed upon the fact that it is the responsibility of each and every national of Pakistan to strengthen Pakistan’s position on lawfare.

Justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan, Honorary Chairman, Legal Forum for the Oppressed Voices of Kashmir discussed the use of lawfare by the Western states through sanctions. He also mentioned how it is only a matter of time until lawfare is used against other issues such as water and therefore said it is very important that Pakistan develops a lawfare strategy.

Mr. Mohsin Kamall, international law expert, emphasised upon the growing significance of international law. He also mentioned that lawfare is the future of international law and politics. He gave the example of China and how it promoted international law in order to help them diplomatically and politically.

Mr. Imtiaz Gul, Executive Director, Centre for Research and Security Studies discussed various Western countries and the way they used lawfare for their own advantages such as for normalising India’s illegal occupation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mr. Taimur Malik, Founder, Courting the Law, pointed out the internal issues of Pakistan. He then reiterated that Pakistan needs some focal point, within the limits of which the policies shall be determined on relevant forums.

Barrister Ali Zafar, Partner, Mandviwalla and Zafar, talked about the importance of international treaties in relation to lawfare. He highlighted some historic mistakes that nations have made. He elaborated on how certain policies and laws have affected Pakistan.

Dr. Salma Shaheen, Professor, King’s College London, referred to the internal lawfare mechanisms of Israel, India, North Korea, US and Pakistan. She highlighted the geographic position of Pakistan, and stressed why we need lawfare system more than any nation in our region.

Barrister Muhammad Ahmad Pansota, Advocate Supreme Court, discussed the rise of disinformation laws and talked about the legal tools that can be used by Pakistan to fight disinformation.

The first session was followed by a panel discussion that was moderated by Mr. Rehman Azhar. The panelists included Justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan, Major General Irfan Arshad, Imtiaz Gul and Mr. Mohsin Kamall. The discussion was focused on contemporary lawfare issues and strategies Pakistan can adopt to counter lawfare moves in the future.

The second session was opened by Mr. Ahmer Bilal Soofi, President, Research Society of International Law, who talked about how Pakistan’s success in politics and diplomacy depends on its expertise regarding international law. He discussed major developments in international law and emphasised that Pakistan needs to encourage capacity building in international law.

Ms. Amna Riaz Ali, Partner, Legal Ease International, while discussing the Kulbhushan Jadhav case stated that Pakistan’s lawfare strategy aimed to expose the loopholes in India’s lawfare enforcement armour. Pakistan brought the ICJ’s attention that India had sought the court for political means rather than justice.

Mr. Rehman Azhar, Executive Director, CLAS emphasised on the importance of lawfare and how adversarial states have been using lawfare tactics against Pakistan. He stressed upon the need to develop a lawfare strategy by Pakistan.

The conference was concluded with the distribution of shields to the chief guest, guests of honour and speakers along with the distribution of CLAS’s report on ‘Lawfare and Pakistan.’