The legal system of Pakistan represents a fusion of the Shariah law and common law systems. Traditionally, the Pakistani legal system adapted the pre-1947 colonial law for local use. Amendments to these colonial laws, in particular inspired by the Islamic traditions, have been interspersed in intervals. As a result, the Pakistan legal system retains fundamental common law doctrines (such as binding precedent and delegated legislation) while gradually integrating laws of Islamic origin within the existing common law framework. However, Pakistan’s legal system is far from being a complete mirror of the English legal system. One such major distinction is that there is no division within the legal profession into barristers and solicitors. This has meant, amongst other things, that the chief legal officer representing the Federation of Pakistan (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Federation’) is the Attorney-General of Pakistan and that there is no comparable office of Solicitor-General in Pakistan as in other common law jurisdictions.
This article provides a brief overview of the Attorney-General of Pakistan and the importance of the office to Pakistan as a developing country and a maturing legal system in its own right. This article is divided mainly into two parts. The first part presents the constitutional background and briefly outlines the function of the Attorney-General of Pakistan. The second part examines the increasingly political role of this office.