Please tell us about yourself.
I currently live in Lahore, Pakistan. I was born in Gujrat, a small town of Punjab Province of Pakistan, known as one of the more industrious towns in the country. I did my LLB at the University of Punjab in 1994 and enrolled as an advocate of Lahore High Court in 1997. Furthermore, I signed the roll of advocates of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2009. In the same year, I was appointed as an Assistant Advocate General for the Province of Punjab and in January 2014, the President of Pakistan appointed me as a Deputy Attorney General. I was also later appointed as the Prosecutor General Accountability, Government of Pakistan, for a three-year statutory tenure from 24 November 2014 to 23 November 2017.
I am currently running my own law firm, Waqas Dar Law Associates. Our firm specialises in criminal law, accountability law and service law.
How did you end up studying at Stellenbosch University?
In September 1995, I visited South Africa to see my elder brother, Dr Imran Qadeer Dar, a South African national. At that time, my brother was working at Frere Hospital in East London. During my visit, I was inspired by the beauty of South Africa and having interacted with the local legal fraternity, I decided to do my postgraduate qualification in law at a South African university.
How would you describe your Matie experience?
I did my LLM in 1996 and stayed at Huis De Villiers. I had a great time on campus, and I made a lot of South African and foreign friends. I used to play squash and cricket for the international students’ cricket team. I made good friends like Martin Laing and Andries Gous, and I had a ball playing touch rugby with my class fellows.
What impact did your studies at Stellenbosch University have on your career and working life in Pakistan?
It was a great experience for me to study law at Stellenbosch University and to interact with South African and international lawyers and law students. I believe that having a degree from Stellenbosch University is one of the reasons for my elevation to the office of Prosecutor General Accountability in Pakistan.
In 2014, you were appointed Prosecutor General in the Pakistan National Accountability Bureau? What did this job entail?
Yes, I was. The qualification of a Prosecutor General Accountability is the same as that of a judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The office of Prosecutor General Accountability is a statutory office for a non-extendable tenure of three years with constitutional protection by Article 209 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan that states that a Prosecutor General cannot be removed by the Government of Pakistan unless by the Supreme Judicial Council of Pakistan on a reference of impeachment on the grounds of misconduct for a judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
The basic job of the Prosecutor General Accountability Pakistan is to prosecute high-profile persons including politicians, bureaucrats and public office holders through his prosecution team all over the country, right from Trial Court up to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
You led a high-profile investigation and the prosecution of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif? Could you elaborate?
Yes, it is correct that during my tenure, references were filed against high-profile politicians including the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mian Nawaz Sharif. Furthermore, during my tenure, my prosecution team prosecuted the former President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, and different ministers and senior bureaucrats who were facing corruption charges in the Accountability Courts throughout the country.
What would your message be to young graduates who are on the verge of starting a career?
My message for every law student, whether South African or any other nationality, is very loud and clear – that the law profession is the most appropriate profession to earn respect, honour and prestige through your conduct. Law is the only profession that gives you the wisdom to protect your own rights as well as the rights of innocents.
I would like to add that to achieve success or any aim in the legal profession depends on your honesty, dedication and hard work. I rose to the office of Prosecutor General Accountability of Pakistan only because I was honest and dedicated and worked hard. Hence, my message to law students and new law graduates would be that you should always be honest within your profession and earn respect through your hard work and dedication.
Furthermore, always try to balance your office and family life.