Justice (Retired) Rasheed Rizvi: Prisoner of Conscience

Justice (retired) Rizvi passed away late on Saturday. He had a long history of activism, featuring prominently in the MRD movement

Justice (Retired) Rasheed Rizvi: Prisoner of Conscience

Eminent jurist and a notable human rights activist, Justice (retired) Rasheed Rizvi, passed away on Saturday night after a prolonged battle with cancer. He was 76 years old.

Justice (retired) Rizvi had been battling with blood cancer for a long time. Despite his ailment, he was actively participating in bar politics and would appear as a pleader in in the odd case before the Supreme Court.

The seasoned lawyer and jurist, he was born in Bombay in 1947. His family then migrated to Pakistan in 1956 and settled in the port city of Karachi. 

He completed his LLB with flying colours from the Government Islamia Law College in Karachi and started practising law in 1973. 

As a lawyer, he always stood firm for the dispensation of justice and the rule of law in Pakistan. For this purpose, he worked to uplift the lawyer's community.

Before being elevated as a judge in the Sindh High Court, he served as the president of the Karachi Bar Association, the Sindh High Court Bar for four terms and the Pakistan Bar Council in 2016. 

As a judge, he was among those who had refused to take oath under the controversial Provisional Constitutional Order, which had been promulgated during the regime of the dictator General Pervez Musharraf in 2000.

Later, the government appointed him as the head of the Commission for the Protection of Journalists. 

Apart from his legal career, Justice (retired) Rizvi had enjoyed an active political career. In his youth, he led student federations in 1960 that participated in different movements. 
Following his active participation in the Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD), he spent time behind bars in 1981 during the tenure of another dictator, General Ziaul Haque.

Due to his political struggle, Amnesty International bestowed him with the title: Prisoner of Conscience. 

Office bearers of the Sindh High Court Bar and Karachi Bar Association have expressed deep grief on the demise of the veteran jurist.

KBA President Amir Nawaz Waraich termed it a huge loss to the country's legal fraternity.

Advocate Faiz Ahmed Jhanwari, Sarfaraz Metlo, and Raheel Samsam Khan, among others, paid rich tributes to Justice (retired) Rizvi, suggesting that an era of legal activism had come to an end in Pakistan.

Family sources confirmed that Justice (retired) Rizvi will be led to rest in Karachi on Sunday.

The author is a practicing lawyer and freelance journalist. His areas of interest are cultural diversity and socio-political issues of Sindh.