ABS & Co. > Lahore, Pakistan > Firm Profile
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ABS & Co. > The Legal 500 Rankings
Pakistan > Corporate and M&A Tier 2ABS & Co. focuses on corporate advisory issues and M&A for the Pakistan government and government‐owned entities, public sector organisations, statutory bodies, regulatory agencies, and companies, as well as banks and financial insitutions. The corporate practice is renowned for its work within the fintech, real estate and construction spaces. Practice head Sarjeel Mowahid operates from the Lahore office and advises on a range of matters relating to corporate finance and restructuring, banking and finance, foreign direct investment and labour law. Co-head Samar Masood Soofi was promoted to the partnership in May 2022, and regularly supports start-ups at all stages of investment. Islamabad-based Shahrukh Iftikhar completes the leadership team.
Sarjeel Mowahid; Shahrukh Iftikhar; Samar Masood
Other key lawyers:
‘The firm performs exceptionally well and gives each client one-to-one attention.’
‘Sarjeel Mowahid exceeded the expectations of many clients with his innovative ideas and tries to resolve the issues amicably between the parties through dispute resolution.’
‘ABS advise the business according to its needs. They have multiple solutions to a given problem and after evaluating the business requirement of the client, ABS provides its input with the primary intention of minimising the legal exposure of the client.’
Tez Financial Services Limited
Ignite National Technology Fund
Orient Swiss SA
Prosper Technologies Private Limited
GoldFin Private Limited Company
China Gehzouba Group Companies
Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund
TCS Private Limited
Future Development Holding Pvt. Ltd.
National Science & Technology Park
International Consulting Associates
Pikchur Entertainment and Streaming Services Pvt Limited
Minstry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs – State of Kuwait
Punjab Skills Development Fund
Federal Board of Revenue
- Advised OrientSwiss on the acquisition of Tez Financial Services, an NBFC providing microloans through its application.
- Advised a company issuing a convertible debt note to foreign venture capitalists in order to raise financing.
- Advised Prosper Technologies on the licensing of its APIs for open banking and to allow integration with the systems of financial institutions.
Pakistan > Dispute resolution Tier 2ABS & Co. acts on commercial, constitutional, tax and employment disputes. The practice also deals with major construction disputes, encompassing the road, infrastructure, hospitality, energy and power sectors. Ahmer Bilal Soofi, also an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, leads the team. Islamabad-based Usman Jillani represents banks and other financial institutions before various courts, tribunals and administrative bodies with respect to asset recovery, bankruptcy proceedings and enforcement of securities. Associate Bakhtawar Bilal Soofi operates from the Lahore office, offering considerable experience in handling construction disputes under FIDIC.
Ahmer Bilal Soofi
Other key lawyers:
‘Ahmer Bilal Soofi is already well known in the market as one of Pakistan’s best litigators’.
‘Usman Jillani and Bakhtawar Bilal Soofi stand out.’
‘Usman Jillani is extremely thorough and diligent and has built a fantastic team. He is well respected in the Islamabad High Court.’
‘Bakhtawar Bilal Soofi’s advocacy and performance in the courtroom stands out.’
‘Their turn-around time and responsiveness is exceptional.’
Mughals Pakistan (Pvt.) Ltd.
China Ocean Engineering Construction General Bureau
Habib Construction Services
Pak-Arab Housing Scheme
Paksat International (Pvt.) Ltd.
Venus Pakistan (Pvt.) Ltd.
Genome Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Ltd.
National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA)
Murree Brewery Company Limited
Sign Source (Pvt.) Ltd.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA)
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA)
Privatization Commission of Pakistan
United Bank Limited
Samsons Private Limited
Porsche Pakistan Pvt. Ltd.
- Represnted Siddiqsons in a major cross-border dispute before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre arising from a breach of contract.
- Secured an arbitral award of Rs 1.9bn on behalf of Mughals Pakistan against the Employees Old Age Benefits Institution, arising from a construction dispute under the FIDIC 1999 Red Book.
- Represented McDonald’s in a major tenancy dispute arising from the extension of a lease agreement in relation to one of its major restaurants in Punjab.
Pakistan > Labour and employment Tier 2ABS & Co. handles the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious employment law issues. The practice deals with disputes related to wages, industrial action and employee benefits. The team also helps draft labour and HR policies. Ahmer Bilal Soofi heads up the practice, alongside Imran Ahmed Malik.
Ahmer Bilal Soofi; Imran Ahmed Malik
‘The firm comes up with innovative ideas and provides legal guidance on all fronts. They have expertise in all areas.’
United Bank Limited (UBL)
Punjab Social Security Institution
Bank of Punjab
Punjab Poverty Alleviation Fund
Punjab Skills Development Fund
Punjab Population Innovation Fund
Punjab Institute of Fashion & Design
Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA)
Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund
- Represented McDonalds in multiple tort claims under occupational safety laws arising out of an accidental fire at one of its restaurants.
- Advised the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination on the devolution of an Employees Old-Age Benefit Institution and Workers Welfare Fund following the 18th Amendment.
- Assisted China Three Gorges Investment Company with the drafting of its internal HR policy in light of the applicable labour laws in Pakistan.
Pakistan > Real estate and construction Tier 2ABS & Co.’s real estate team regularly assists major property developers with the development and construction of housing societies, condominiums and apartment buildings. On the construction side, the firm acts for contractors across contentious and non-contentious issues. Clients of the practice include developers, sponsors, local governments and development authorities. The department is overseen by the Lahore-based trio consisting of Salman Hanif Rajput, Sarjeel Mowahid and Bakhtawar Bilal Soofi, as well as Islamabad-based Shahrukh Iftikhar.
Salman Hanif Rajput; Sarjeel Mowahid; Bakhtawar Bilal Soofi; Shahrukh Iftikhar
‘ABS & Co offers a one-stop shop for multi-disciplinary transactions. They are a cohesive unit and excel at understanding what the client wants.’
‘Solutions are simple and easy.’
Lahore Central Business District Development Authority (LCBDDA)
Casa Grande Ventures (Pvt.) Limited
Habib Rafiq (Pvt.) Ltd.
Board of Investment (BOI), Government of Pakistan
Punjab Employees Social Security Institution (PESSI)
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA)
M/s Scot International (Pvt.) Limited
Future Development Holdings (Pvt.) Ltd.
Habib Construction Service Ltd.
Civil Aviation Authority
Royal Developers & Builders (Pvt.) Ltd.
Samsons Pvt. Ltd.
Imaraat Group of Companies
Mughals Pakistan Private Limited
Engro Corp Limited
Special Technology Zones Authority
Malam Jabba Hotel and Ski Resort
- Advised Future Development Holdings on the development, construction and marketing of Capital Smart City, Islamabad.
- Assisting the China Ghezhouba Group Company with the Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project, particularly in relation to variation orders arising from a change in the design and method of executing the works.
- Assisted Habib Construction Services with the preparation of claims in relation to the construction of the Punjab Local Government Academy Lahore, funded by the Asian Development Bank.
Pakistan > Projects and energy Tier 3ABS & Co. advises on the construction, development and financing of housing societies, industrial estates, 5-star hotels, resorts, shopping malls, golf clubs, apartment complexes, dams, energy projects and other high-rise buildings. The practice also deals with matters pertaining to international and domestic airports in Pakistan. The Lahore office is led by Ayasha Warsi, Amna Warsi and Sarjeel Mowahid. Shahrukh Iftikhar oversees the Islamabad department.
Sarjeel Mowahid; Ayasha Warsi; Amna Warsi; Sharukh Iftikhar
Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA)
Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB
Mirza Associates Engineering Services Pvt. Ltd
Habib Construction Service (Pvt.) Ltd.
Habib Rafiq (Pvt.) Ltd.
Interstate Gas Systems Ltd (ISGS)
Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Ltd. (SNGPL)
Lahore Central Business District Development Authority
- Advised Lahore Central Business District Development Authority on the project structure for the development of a high-rise downtown area in Lahore.
- Advised Inter-State Gas Systems on a number of issues relating to the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline, including preparation of contractual documents, financing agreements and international sanctions.
- Advised Sui Northern Gas Pipeline on the drafting, negotiation and execution of a Gas Supply Agreement for the supply of 80mmcfd gas to the 1655MW Guddu Power Plant in Sindh.
Pakistan > TMT Tier 3ABS & Co. focuses on the registration of IP, including copyrights, trade marks and patents. The practice is recognised for handling complex transactions involving software and technology licensing; royalty arrangements in stacks; and patent arbitrage. Islamabad-based Majid Bashir offers considerable experience advising multi-nationals, music houses, producers and innovators on issues related to IP. Bashir's Lahore-based counterpart, Samar Masood Soofi, deals with issues relating to IP law, cyberlaw, fintech and the regulation of innovative and disruptive technologies.
Majid Bashir; Samar Masood Soofi
‘Attention to detail and professionalism.’
‘Come up with new and innovative ideas to resolve legal issues.’
Rice Exporters Association Pakistan
Janoobi Private Limited
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority
Qatar Lubricants Company WLL
Leonine Global Investments Limited
Omar Associates Private Limited
Karachi Kings FZE
My Sports World Private Limited
Bahria Town (Pvt.) Ltd
Punjab Skills Development Fund
Bank of Punjab
Pikchur Entertainment Streaming Service (Private) Limited
National Science and Technology Park – NUST
Paramount Books Private Limited
Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs – State of Kuwait
Tez Financial Services
- Advised a client on the licensing of its APIs for providing services to financial institutions.
- Advised the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs for the State of Kuwait on the dissemination of its copyright-protected work.
- Advised the SECP on the regulations for peer-to-peer lending using digital platforms.
ABS & Co. > Firm Profile
The firm: With over 30 years of experience and a team of more than 40 lawyers spread over two different offices, ABS & Co. is one of the largest and most experienced law firms in the country.
The firm provides a broad range of legal services to its clients, ranging from advice on corporate and transactional matters to dispute resolution and international arbitration.
The firm prides itself on having a strong practice in advising clients on a range of issues that cuts across diverse sectors such as real estate, power, intellectual property, finance/banking, cyber law, sports law, energy, natural resources, petrochemicals, mining and transport.
Similarly, the firm’s expertise in litigation is acknowledged and widely recognised, both locally and internationally. The firm provides its clients with a full range of services in respect of arbitration and alternative dispute resolution including pre-arbitral consultations, preparation of claims and/or defences, conduct of arbitral proceedings, applying or resisting stay applications, anti-arbitration injunction applications and other arbitration related applications in court, and contesting court proceedings in respect of enforcement of foreign arbitral awards. Members of the firm’s team are linked with the United Nations Commission for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) in Vienna and have extensive experience in arbitrations under the ICC, ICSID and LCIA rules.
Over the years, the firm has developed this reputation due to the it’s consistent and unwavering support to government, government-owned entities, public sector organisations, statutory bodies, diplomatic missions, regulatory agencies, regional and international companies, banks and financial institutions along with high-net-worth individuals and other publicly listed companies.
The provision of a broad range of legal services to such a diverse clientele allows the firm to bring regulatory, commercial and legal perspectives in its approach towards solving complex legal issues. The solutions the firm provides for its clients are comprehensive, innovative and, most importantly, viable.
Areas of practice
Litigation, international arbitration and dispute resolution: The firm has over 30 years of experience in civil, corporate and commercial litigation at all different judicial and administrative forums, including the Provincial High Courts, the Federal Shariat Court and the Supreme Court. The firm provides a full range of legal services in respect of arbitration and alternative dispute resolution.
Corporate and commercial: The firm has substantial experience in advising on a broad range of commercial issues ranging from conducting negotiations and finalising commercial contracts to general advice on commercial transactions.
Foreign direct investments: The firm has developed an impeccable reputation for its advice on public and private investments in Pakistan. The team is recognised for its expertise in examining bilateral investment treaties and/or free trade agreements between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and other states, taxation treaties and international conventions.
Joint ventures: The firm has extensive experience in advising on joint ventures, strategic alliances and has advised on some of the major joint ventures in Pakistan. It is equally at home with smaller joint ventures, advising either investors or entrepreneurs in the start-up phase. Our firm is known for its expertise in rapidly developing sectors such as publishing, financial services, new media, telecoms, chemicals, aerospace, aviation, shipping, energy and e-commerce, as well as in more conventional markets such as real estate.
Intellectual property: The firm provides cutting-edge and market-leading solutions for its clients regarding the intellectual property challenges that they face. In this regard, the firm’s services include brand selection, availability, search and clearance in trade marks, copyright licensing, logos, patents and other related matters. Additionally, the firm provides innovative solutions to its clients on protection of intellectual property rights, bringing enforcement actions before the courts etc.
Corporate governance: The firm frequently advises its corporate clients on legal issues which regularly affect their businesses. The firm advises on all elements of company law, including corporate restructuring, insolvency law, bankruptcy, mergers and acquisitions and establishment of new corporate vehicles.
Legislation and Policy: The firm regularly advises the Federal and Provincial Governments and various government entities on legislative, regulatory and policy issues.
Regulatory: The firm also provides legal and regulatory advice to corporate and commercial entities including public listed companies. Deep insight into government and regulation, developed through years of advising the government and various regulatory bodies, ensures that we provide clients with commercially driven legal advice in respect of all legal matters. To this end, we have advised on oil and gas, mining, aerospace, aviation, competition, anti-trust, environmental and corporate legal regimes.
Investment and free trade agreements: The firm is renowned for its expertise in consultative advice, drafting and policy advocacy related to investment treaties and free trade agreements. In this respect, the firm has developed a network of national and international experts who are available for contentious and non-contentious matters in respect of major economic and trade sectors including domestic regulation, international dispute settlement and offshore litigation.
The firm works by building strong relationships with in-house legal teams to provide reliable advice on matters relating to corporate governance.
|Head of Litigation, Dispute Resolution and Int'l Arbitration||Ahmer Bilal Soofi|
|Head of Intellectual Property||Majid Bashir|
|Head of Corporate & Commercial||Sarjeel Mowahid|
|Head of Energy & Infrastructure||Amna Warsi|
|Head of Project Finance||Ayasha Warsi|
|Head of Property & Real Estate||Salman Hanif Rajput|
|Head of Regulatory & Sanctions Law Division||Daud Aziz Khokhar|
|Litigation and Dispute Resolution||Amna Abbas|
|Litigation and Dispute Resolution||Iqbal Khan Nasr|
|Litigation and Dispute Resolution||Usman Jillani|
|Corporate and Commercial||Shahrukh Iftikhar|
|Dispute Resolution||Imran Ahmed Malik|
|Dispute Resolution||Ghulam Ali Raza|
|Dispute Resolution||Bakhtawar Bilal Soofi|
|Intellectual Property||Samar Masood|
|Corporate and Commercial||Ahmed Reza Mirza|
|Dispute Resolution||Jawad Alam Abbasi|
|Dispute Resolution||Scheherezaad Qureshi|
|Dispute Resolution||Ammarah Mahmood|
|Dispute Resolution||Mohammad bin Majid|
|Corporate and Commercial||Zainab Nasir Khan|
|Dispute Resolution||Masood Ahmad Khattak|
|Intellectual Property||Rafia Farrukh Rashid|
|Corporate and Commercial||Zeeshan Ali Tarar|
|Corporate and Commercial||Rawal Kazmi|
|Corporate and Commercial||Muhammad Mufakhir|
|Dispute Resolution||Sohail Asghar Chaudhary|
|Corporate and Commercial||Tajwer Khan|
|Dispute Resolution||Ali Gillani|
|Litigation Manager||Tahseen Shaukhat|
|Shahrukh Iftikhar||Barrister Shahrukh Iftikhar is an Associate Partner and heads the Corporate and…||View Profile|
|Mr Sarjeel Mowahid||Partner Head of Corporate & Commercial||View Profile|
|Bakhtawar Bilal Soofi||Bakhtawar is a Senior Associate at the firm’s office in Lahore where…||View Profile|
|Mr Ahmer Bilal Soofi||Managing Partner||View Profile|
|Amna Warsi||Amna Warsi completed her graduation and her LLM from the Punjab University,…||View Profile|
|Ayasha Warsi||Ms. Warsi completed her graduation and her LLM from the Punjab University,…||View Profile|
Staff FiguresTotal Number of Lawyers : 44 Total Number of Lawyers in Islamabad : 18 Total Number of Lawyers in Lahore : 26
LanguagesEnglish Pashto Punjabi Urdu
OtherContacts : Naveed (email@example.com)
Labour and Employment:
- National Bank of Pakistan: We are currently representing the President, the Chairman and members of the board of directors of National Bank in four different constitutional petitions in the nature of the writ of Quo-Warranto whereby their appointment has been challenged.
- China Gehzouba Group Company (“CGGC”): We provided an opinion to CGGC on the exceptions given to the energy sector by the Government of Pakistan during the lockdown announced (through the declaration of public holidays) by the Labour Department of KPK and if CGGC could still call its employees to work on-site and whether they are to be paid regular wages or overtime wages for working on public holidays.
- China Gehzouba Group Company (“CGGC”): We advised CGGC on the matter relating to the treatment of its employees working at the Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project during the time when India and Pakistan had a confrontation in AJ & K including whether the employees were required to be sent home in such conditions, payment of wages for retaining the employees etc.
- National Bank of Pakistan: The bank sought our legal opinion on whether its employees would qualify as civil servants or not and whether they are entitled to petition the Service Tribunal for the redressal of their employment grievances. We conducted a holistic analysis of the entire issue and provided our opinion on how they should be classified under Pakistani law.
- Porsche Pakistan: We represented Porsche before the labour court in relation to a claim for unlawful dismissal from employment.
- McDonald’s: We are currently advising McDonalds on a number of employment matters related to claims for unpaid wages, registration with PESSI (social security institution) etc.
- Siddiqsons Limited: The firm is representing the client in a major International Arbitration before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre, in relation to a dispute arising out of non-performance of International Commercial Contracts subject to emergence of Covid-19 and non-delivery of equipment under EPCC Contracts. The firm is also handling a matter on behalf of the client before the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC), for the administration and/or windup of a company.
- Mughals Pakistan Private Limited: Represented Mughals Pakistan in an arbitration arising out of a contractual dispute based on a FIDIC contract (1999 – Red Book) between Mughals Pakistan and Pakistan Real-Estate Investment Management Company, over the construction of a 5 Star Hotel (initially identified as Serena Hotel, Lahore). Successfully obtained an Extension of Time (EOT) of 15 months from the arbitral tribunal. The Tribunal announced an award of PKR 1.9 in favor of Mughals Pakistan.
- Mughals Pakistan Private Limited: We are also representing Mughals Pakistan Private Limited in another construction dispute against the Employees Old Age Benefits Institute (EOBI) arising from the construction contract (FIDIC Red Book 1987) related to the EOBI Mall/Mix Use Project. We have filed a claim in excess of PKR 3.2 billion against the Employer for prolonged suspension of works.
- United Bank Limited: The firm is representing United Bank Limited in a number of recovery suits, mainly for the recovery of loans from M/s Shama Exports and Amtex Ltd. The recovery suit against Shama Exports has already been decreed in favor of the Bank for an amount in excess of PKR 300 million. The recovery suit against Amtex Limited – a publicly listed company – is still pending before the High Court where the amount being sought by the Bank is in excess of PKR 2 billion.
- Pak-Arab Housing Scheme: Pak-Arab was named and incriminated by the National Accountability Bureau in respect of overselling of plots in the Society. Furthermore, the CEO, a former Senator, was arrested and detained by the Authorities in more than two dozen FIRs filed against him in the same matter. The firm engaged in more than 50 settlements on behalf of the company and handled civil and criminal litigation against the CEO. Furthermore, Phase 2 of Pak-Arab Housing Society was declared illegal by the Authorities which is being contested by the firm before the relevant authorities.
- ENGRO Corporation: An allegation was placed on certain government individuals alleging that they had misused and misappropriated their power/authority in respect of awarding a contract to Engro Corp. for the installation of LNG Terminal 1 at Port Qasim, Karachi. Pakistan’s accountability watch-dog (NAB) has filed a criminal reference against the former Prime Minister accusing him of committing corrupt practices in awarding the contract for construction of LNG import terminal to Engro Corp. Some directors of Engro Corp stand accused of having received illegal gratification. We are also reviewing the entire material to assess whether there is sufficient incriminating material and, if yes, what mitigation steps should be adopted during trial, evidence and disposition.
- PakSat International (Pvt.) Ltd.: Our client, PAKSAT is the owner and operator of two satellites (PAKSAT 1 and PAKSAT 1-R) which provide satellite bandwidth to ISPs, telecommunication companies, broadcast and electronic media including some of the most well-known television channels in Pakistan’s media industry. Many of PAKSAT’s customers have defaulted in making payments under the Satellite Service Agreement. We have been engaged to help PAKSAT recover its debts from 20 customers. These are 20 different cases/arbitral claims/publishable matters that have been grouped under just one publishable matter. We have raised a team from our Dispute Resolution as well as Corporate and Commercial practice to represent PAKSAT and are following a multi-pronged strategy to recover the amounts. These claims are pending at various stages. 9 of these cases have been settled out of Court while the rest are ongoing.
- Venus Pakistan Limited: Venus Pakistan Ltd. had been sub-contracted by Supreme Foods FZC and Supreme Fuel GmBH, a subsidiary of the Supreme Group, a defence contractor for NATO and the US Government in Afghanistan. There has been a pending dispute in relation to unpaid invoices between the parties and proceedings are currently pending before the High Court of Karachi.
- Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA): PTA had issued a notice to one of its licensees, a leading telecom operator, granting them the final opportunity to make payment of outstanding dues. This notice has been challenged before the Federal Court and the licensee has sought that the notice be declared unlawful. The unique aspect of this case is that the Regulator (PTA) intends to forward the matter to the National Accountability Bureau, which is the only watchdog in the country dealing with matters relating to corruption, embezzlement etc. The question of law to be decided by the Court is whether the telecom regulator can forward such matters to the watchdog. Our Firm has been engaged by PTA as lead counsel to appear and make arguments on behalf of PTA, defending PTA’s position in invoking the jurisdiction of the National Accountability Bureau. The outcome of this case will have extensive repercussions as the jurisdiction of the regulator could be expanded by the Court.
Projects & Energy
- Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Ltd. (SNGPL): The firm was hired by Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited for the drafting, negotiating and executing a Gas Supply Agreement and Gas Sale/Purchase Agreement for the supply of 50 mmcfd gas from Kandhkot Gas Field on take-or-pay basis and 30 mmcfd gas on as-available basis from Chachar Gas Field to the 1655 MW Guddu Power Plant in Sindh.
- National University of Science and Technology (NUST): Corporate Transaction with respect to Public-Private Partnership, in construction of Pakistan’s first National Science and Technology Park. This includes provision of Concession Agreements, all other disputes that evolve around the transaction.
- Mirza Associates Engineering Services Pvt. Ltd: Advised MAES with respect to the legal matters related to the Diamer-Bhasha Dam project. The Project is a concrete filled gravity hydel dam of almost 4800 MW. Furthermore, the firm is also the main advisory consultant with respect to the clients ongoing matter with Water and Power Development Authority regarding the Kohala Hydropower Project 1100MW.
- Interstate Gas Systems Ltd (ISGS): Advising Inter-State Gas Systems on the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline on a variety of issues ranging from project structure to contract documents including GTA, GSA, PSR, OSA and LTOAs, Lease Agreements, MOUs, financing/load agreements and international sanctions.
- SUPARCO: The Firm advised on a cooperation agreement between SUPARCO and the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) for joint studies and for the development of electric communication satellites and other space projects. The firm conducted a legal due diligence of the project and assessed the potential legal risks and impacts for the project.
Real Estate & Construction:
- Lahore Central Business District Development Authority (LCBDDA): We are the general counsels for LCBDDA a statutory body formulated to develop a “Central Business District” characterized by high-rise buildings. The firm has drafted all rules and regulations under the Act including the auction regulations, the procurement regulations, the PPP regulations and the land disposal regulations. More recently, we advised on the transaction structure and prepared the project documentation for the auction of 07 plots in the Central Business District. This included the bidding documents, the information memorandum, the auction document and the draft terms and conditions of sale. Some of the auctions will take place in a JV format and the other are intended to be granted under a concession framework.
- Highland Resorts, Zahid Traders: Our firm provided corporate advisory as to the construction of High-End Villas in Defence Housing Authority Quetta (DHA) and validity of the same subject to bylaws of DHA, PPRA and Land Laws of Pakistan, advising on ESCROW & Project Finance, writing Memorandums of Understanding and contracts that followed along with writing respective construction contracts in a manner best suited for client.
- Casa Grande Ventures (Pvt.) Limited: The firm advised and formulated complete documentation for the construction and development of a high-rise apartment building, based on a FIDIC contract, in the heart of Lahore, Pakistan. This included drafting the entire project documentation starting from the construction contract to the sale and purchase agreement with the end consumers. This also included drafting the project management agreement with an O&M operator. We advised the client on various ownership structures including HOA, condominium, sale, lease etc. We also rendered a legal opinion in respect to easements on the aspect of constructing a high rise within the heart of the city. Furthermore, the firm highlighted potential high-risk decisions along with liaising with the relevant Regulatory Authority and Government Departments to acquire the relevant permits and licenses.
- Habib Rafiq (Pvt.) Ltd.: ABS & Co. is the legal advisor to HRL and member of the Consortium which proposed an unsolicited project in the form of a Public Private Partnership to the Ravi Urban Development Authority for the development of 9,098 acres of land around the River Ravi area. The Firm was responsible for the complete transactional side of the project which included drafting various agreements with the Regulatory Authority including the main PPP/concession agreement. The firm was also responsible for formulating a working regime with a foreign construction company for foreign investment in the project, which included the transfer of funds and equipment from abroad.
- Punjab Social Security Institution (PESSI): PESSI through its subsidiary company, Punjab Social Security Health Management Company (PSSHMC) undertook a project for the construction of two 600 bed hospitals in rural areas of Punjab. The firm prepared the project documentation for the finance and development of the project and provided various legal opinions which included opinions on the procurement process for works and medical supplies. The Firm further vetted the transactional part of the project to ensure compliance with applicable laws.
- Pakistan International Airlines (PIA): Advising Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) with respect to the development, construction and operation of its properties on PPP mode. The firm advised on bidding documents for PPP approval, participation in the selection of the investor and development of the agreement with them, the drafting of the selected engineering firms and EPC firms, with respect to 3 commercial properties in Islamabad, Sialkot and Karachi. The concession agreement was also prepared by the firm.
- M/s Scot International (Pvt.) Limited: The firm advised the Company on submission of tenders document for procurement of Sports Flooring, SyntheticTurf and Functional Flooring from EU and Chinese Principal under agency for public importance projects e., National Stadiums, National Gymnasiums, etc. and helped prepare and review the entire project documentation for the revamp and re-installation of flooring at government-owned stadiums.
- Future Development Holdings (Pvt.) Ltd.: We are the general legal counsels of FDHL and advise them and their subsidiary companies on any and all of their legal matters. Our firm actively advises FDHL on the construction and development of the Capital Smart City Housing Scheme in Islamabad which spans an area over 30, 000 Kanals. The firm primarily drafts JV Agreements for acquisition of land and development, marketing and sale of developed plots along with various Civil Works, O&M agreements for the amnesties and SPV agreements in relation to the aforementioned projects.
At ABS & Co, we believe in providing a level playing field to all our employees by creating a space where people from different backgrounds feel safe and welcomed.
We strongly believe that in today’s world, there is no place for discrimination based on gender, caste, religion or disability. We have taken steps to ensure diversity and inclusion in hiring employees and in assigning and distributing work across our team.
ABS & Co. prides itself on its inclusivity in hiring and ensuring equal opportunity regardless of gender, religion and disability. Three of our ten partners are female and 35% of the team is composed of female lawyers working at the Lahore and the Islamabad offices.
“A dedicated team of individuals who work around the clock so they can meet deadlines” led by a partner who is respected for his “vast experience in this field” and “good knowledge of foreign IP laws” helping clients with “effective and practical solutions”. Legal 500, 2019
“Notably worked on some of the only nuclear power projects in the country”. Asia Law, 2020
“Robust group, regularly engaged by multinational and domestic clients to advise on cross-border M&A and investments.” Chambers, 2020
“Advise on a broad array of matters, from company acquisitions to mergers, regulatory issues and other commercial matters such as agency and lease agreements.” Legal 500, 2020
“Adept at handling all aspects of commercial disputes as well as major constitutional cases.” Legal 500, 2020
“Excellent team that advises on both contentious and non-contentious employment matters and covers the legal issues that arise on public/government employment contracts in addition to issues that arise in private employment.” Legal 500, 2020
“Excellent litigators.” Legal 500, 2021
“ABS & Co also provides advisory services in relation to a wide range of ancillary matters, including assisting clients with regulatory and tax compliance. Acts for clients in a range of sectors including finance, manufacturing and energy.” Chambers, 2022
“ABS & Co offers an impressive disputes practice with offices in Lahore and Islamabad regularly representing the local subsidiaries of blue-chip multinationals and also a number of government entities. Experienced in handling a range of High Court litigation and arbitration relating to tax, land and breach of contract disputes. Additionally demonstrates expertise in handling constitutional law cases and in state-to-state arbitrations.” Chambers, 2022
“ABS & Co. is a team of professional lawyers who are committed to their work more than anything. Their strength is responsiveness, good and thorough research and above all proper legal guidance in the best interests of the client”. Client review submitted to Legal 500.
“The team is very cooperative and easily accessible. The turn around time is commendable as well”. Client review submitted to Legal 500.
“I found them professional, knowledgeable, hardworking and flexible”. Client review submitted to Legal 500.
Sarjeel Mowahid, Partner, Head of Corporate & Commercial, ABSSarjeel Mowahid, Partner ABS & CO, provides an insight of the firm practice.
What do you see as the main points that differentiate ABS & CO from your competitors?
What makes us unique is our team with its diverse experience. We have a strong emphasis on sectoral specialization. Our team commands a reputation of excellence and comprises of some of the brightest legal minds in Pakistan and leaders in their fields be it the contentious side or the non-contentious side.
We take pride in the fact that our firm is the ‘go to firm’ for state level matters/disputes and consulted by the Federation for national and international issues. We are also the first choice for big ticket transactions.
Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?
The mushroom growth of tech startups with foreign direct investments signifies a digital revolution which would mean cyber security and information technology are an emerging area of law.
However, given the recession and inflation, I foresee a growth in bankruptcy and insolvency law as well.
What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?
I have tried to create a positive experience for our clients by:
- Recruiting the right people
- Training our staff to develop their skills thereby increasing efficiency
- Improving accessibility & the turn-around time to existing clients
- Employing SOPs for the team to ensure the same standard of service
- Nurturing customer relationships
- Ensuring the right person is utilized for the job
Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?
During the pandemic, our firm evolved as a business. A lockdown was imposed by the government which led us to explore the option of working from home. Zoom and Microsoft Teams were primarily utilized by us for our client meetings. Surprisingly we found it easier to touch base with clients. The time saved on commute/travel or gathering attendees to an agreed location at an agreed city were no longer issues of concern. Remote meetings proved to be more effective and showed us and the clients that you could go through lengthy contracts, pleading, opinions, etc out of the comfort of your home and save time as well.
We are also watching the evolution of Artificial Intelligence in law which will have a significant impact on the profession and client services.
Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?
A state-level entity had entered a contract with a foreign lender not realizing that the lender had been provided “step in” rights under the master contract. The foreign entity had couched the same with a reference of a future contract to crystalize the said right. We were able to ensure that the “step in” rights were curbed to the maximum through negotiations in Beijing, China thereby salvaging the relationship and ensuring the project would move ahead.
Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?
In my opinion, local or foreign clients are always looking for a way forward. Simply put the legal practice is no longer just a hand-holding exercise as a support function and occasionally lawyers have to take a leadership role i.e. structuring the transaction/project or determining the next course of action in a dispute.
As for the firm, I see the same growing in the coming three years. We just started a start-up division for emerging tech companies and recently promoted three Senior Associates to Associate Partners based upon their performance. We also intend to expand to Southern Punjab in the coming three years.