The idea for a ‘Fellowship for Young Lawyers from Balochistan’ was conceived by Mr. Ahmer Bilal Soofi following the devastating terrorist attack on the legal community in Balochistan on 8 August 2016 in Quetta. The purpose of the Fellowship was to introduce young lawyers to the areas of law less focused upon in their region with the eventual goal of building and strengthening the legal skills of these young legal minds from Balochistan. This was particularly important as the tragic attack has caused a severe gap in the mentoring resources available to the young legal community.
The Fellowship consisted of thirty participants, of which five were female lawyers, belonging to districts as diverse as Quetta, Turbat, Gwadar, Qila Saifullah, Zhob, etc. All thirty participants were chosen on merit, following a thorough reviews of their CVs and telephonic interviews. The selected lawyers were brought to Islamabad and received training for a period of two weeks.
During the Fellowship, the participants received lectures and sessions from some of the foremost experts in a wide variety of fields. Special focus was set on ensuring that the content of the Programme would be effective and useful for these lawyers in Balochistan. Center stage was given to the 18th Amendment of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973, Mining, Power, CPEC and Investment Law, and Domestic and International Dispute Resolution
The participants also met with numerous senior and esteemed individuals. Both the Honourable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan Mr. Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, as well as Mr. Justice Qazi Faez Isa, met with the participants. The National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. (R) Nasser Khan Janjua [HI (M)] hosted them for dinner. The Law Minister, Mr. Zahid Hamid, called upon these young lawyers at extremely short notice and invited them to the Law Ministry.
The Fellowship was conducted with the combined efforts of ABS & Co. and RSIL at RSIL’s International Law Training Centre in Islamabad. The first Fellowship was conducted in January – February 2017. The response to the programme was so positive that a second fellowship was conducted in April 2017. The Second Fellowship was conducted partly in Islamabad and partly in Lahore. The highlights of the second round include a trip to Wagah Border and personal tour by Mr. Babar Ali of the Packages factory in Lahore, followed by a discussion with Mr. Ali himself.
The Fellowship was conducted with the assistance and support of Mr. Amanullah Kanrani, the Attorney General for Balochistan.
Mr. Soofi very generously offered to bear all expenses, including travel, accommodation and food, on behalf of the Fellows invited to attend the Programme.