Solicitors governing body: Pakistan Bar Council
Competition authority: Competition Commission of Pakistan
Financial regulator: Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan
IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:
Financial and corporate (published October) – Financial and corporate
The Pakistani legal system is influenced by English common law and is based on a much-amended 1973 constitution in addition to Islamic law. Much of the law and legal structures were preserved from the British colonial system, and the constitution is rooted in the Islamic tradition.
The country is often disturbed by unrest as the proscribed group Pakistani Taliban fights to urge the country to fully embrace its version of Islamic law.
Questions about legitimacy are exacerbated by inefficiency, delays, limited quality of legal training, corruption, and the lack of public credibility suffered by the judiciary, with large case backlogs, corruption, and a lack of resources.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif came to power in 2013 and pledged to legalise the group in an attempt to stop the fighting. He previously tried to introduce shariah (Islamic law) in the late 1990s just before he was toppled in a military coup.
The legal market is dominated by a handful of national firms including Amhurst Brown and Kabraji & Talibyddin that lead the way in corporate and commercial work. However, due to a lack of capacity in the local market, most of the larger, cross-border transactional work is handled from outside the jurisdiction.
Candy Chan - Journalist - Asia-Pacific
One of the market leading law firms in Pakistan, Kabraji & Talibuddin has a focus on M&A and projects work.
In the projects space the firm takes on various roles, such as local counsel for foreign lenders and project counsel for power companies, for both local and foreign clients in hydro, wind, coal, solar power projects.
On the M&A side the firm acts on a variety of domestic and cross border matters including on issues such as obtaining regulatory approvals and on joint ventures and private equity transactions.
Elsewhere the firm advises on aviation financing and capital markets matters.
Recent Deal Data highlights
· Kohala 1124MW hydropower plant
· North South Gas Pipeline BOOT
· Thar Coalfield block 1 mine
Ranked among the top tier firms in Pakistan, Vellani & Vellani specialises in banking, M&A and projects work.
While the firm’s banking team advises on matters such as syndicated loans, credit facilities and project financings, it also has expertise in Shariah-compliant structures including murabaha (cost-plus financing), istisna’a (Islamic project financing), Ijara (capital leasing) and musharakah (partnership finance) financings, and takaful (Islamic insurance) deals.
In M&A the firm advises on matters including joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions, demergers, spin-offs, divestments and franchises.
In the projects space the firm has a particular focus on the oil and gas sector and has experience in advising on matters such as the commercialisation of gas fields and petroleum licencing.
The firm expanded its presence in Pakistan by merging with Amhurst & Brown in Islamabad and adding Javaid Akhtar as an M&A partner. Additionally, the firm strengthened its projects team with the hire of Tariq Nasir as a partner from Pinsent Masons.