Ashtar Ausaf Ali

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Ashtar Ausaf Ali
Minister of State for Law
In office
25 February 2015 – Incumbent
President Mamnoon Hussain
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
29th and 35th Advocate General of Punjab
In office
2 January 2012 – 5 April 2013
President Asif Ali Zardari
Preceded by Khawaja Haris
Succeeded by Shahid Karim
In office
20 November 1998 – 12 October 1999
President Rafiq Tarar
Preceded by Khawaja Muhammad Sharif
Succeeded by Maqbool Elahi Malik
Prosecutor General of Punjab
In office
September 2011 – 2 January 2012
Advisor to the Prime Minister on Human Rights
In office
21 December 1997 – 12 October 1999
Appointed by Nawaz Sharif
Personal details
Born (1956-06-19) June 19, 1956 (age 58)
Lahore, Pakistan
Alma mater Forman Christian College
Punjab University
George Washington University
Occupation Lawyer
Religion Islam

Ashtar Ausaf Ali (Urdu: اشتر اوصاف علی‎; born June 19, 1956) is a Pakistani lawyer, currently holding the portfolio of Minister of State for Law, as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Law.

He served as Advocate General of Punjab twice, from 1998 to 1999, and 2012 to 2013, both during the provincial governments of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He also served as Prosecutor General of the province from 2011 to 2012, and as Advisor on Human Rights to Sharif in 1997.[1]

Ausaf came to prominence for his role in constitutional interpretation during the 1990s. He successfully represented the Sharif government before the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1993, which overturned the dissolution of parliament by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan. He stepped down as Advocate General in 1999, when General Pervez Musharraf overthrew the Sharif government in a military coup. He was also detained by the military regime after it declared a state of emergency in 2007.

After again serving as Advocate General from 2012 to 2013, he resumed private practice.[2] Following Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)'s victory in the general elections in 2013, he was appointed to Prime Minister Sharif's cabinet as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Law in February 2015.

Education and early life[edit]

Ashtar Ausaf Ali was born in Lahore, Pakistan, the son of Judge Iftikhar Ali Sheikh. He completed his Bachelor of Arts from Forman Christian College in 1975, and his LLB from Punjab University in 1980, where he also taught as adjunct lecturer for international law from 1984 to 1988. He became a member of the Lahore Bar Association in 1980, and was awarded an MCL from George Washington University, where he was a member of the Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity.

Legal career[edit]

Ashtar Ausaf came to prominence in the 1990s as a litigator and constitutional lawyer. After President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1993, he successfully represented Sharif before the Supreme Court of Pakistan against the dissolution of parliament. The Supreme Court overturned Ghulam Ishaq's dismissal, and Sharif was re-elected in 1997. Ausaf was then appointed Advisor to the Prime Minister on human rights. He was appointed Advocate General of Punjab in May 1998, but resigned from his post when General Pervez Musharraf overthrew the Sharif government in a military coup.

Detention during emergency rule[edit]

Ashtar Ausaf supported the Lawyers' Movement for the restoration of an independent judiciary. After Musharraf declared a state of emergency in 2007, Ausaf was detained by the military regime from the Lahore office of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on 5 November 2007. He suffered a heart attack in custody.[3]

Advocate General Punjab[edit]

Following general elections in 2008, the Pakistan People's Party formed the federal government, and Musharraf resigned as President. The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) formed the provincial government in Punjab, and Ashtar Ausaf was appointed Prosecutor General of the province in 2011, before again being appointed Advocate General on 2 January 2012. He stepped down before the 2013 elections during government change.

Escape from gun attack[edit]

On 29 June 2013, Ashtar Ausaf's convoy came across two armed dacoits robbing a woman in Garden Town, Lahore. Ausaf ordered his guards to intervene, upon which the dacoits opened fire on Ausaf's car. Ausaf escaped unharmed. After fleeing the scene, the dacoits were arrested from Band Road.[4]

See also[edit]


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