KARACHI: Renowned legal expert Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada passed away on Friday at the age of 94 after a prolonged illness in Karachi. Work in all the courts stopped after the news of his demise and the judges moved into the chambers to carry on with the important affairs . Born on 12 June 1923 in Burhanpur (British India), Pirzada served as a statesman, a historian, a worker of the Pakistan movement, and a lawyer who is widely regarded as one of Pakistan’s leading constitutional experts. Pirzada entered the political arena as an assistant to Father of Nation, Quaid-I-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Bombay in 1941, and it was at Jinnah’s suggestion that he chose the legal profession. The time he spent to assist the Father of nation was the best part of his life, according to his memoirs. Pirzada has held a variety of high level positions during his decades-long political and legal career. He served as foreign minister in the cabinet of the country’s first military ruler, General Ayub Khan. He also worked as the Attorney General for General Yahya Khan, and his predecessor General Ayub Khan. Pirzada also served as senior adviser to another military ruler General Pervez Musharraf following his coup against Nawaz Sharif in October 1999. He also led several Pakistani delegations to the UN General Assembly, the UN Human Rights Council, the Law of Sea Conference, as well as addressed the UN Security Council many times on issues related to Islamic countries. He has successfully argued at the International Court of Justice, been appointed by the UN General Assembly to the International Law Commission, served as a judge at the ICJ, and been elected Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Pirzada was awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz Pakistan’s highest civil award in 1998, and has received high civil awards from Jordan, Syria, France, South Korea and Germany. However Pirzada’s legacy is a mixed one. He assisted all military dictators in their efforts to subvert the constitutional order. Pirzada’s last of such endevaours was to draft the legal order for Musharraf’s emergency rule in November 2007. That was a déjà vu moment as he helped prepare a similar order for General Zia-ul-Haq after his 1977 coup against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. But even his critics admit that the country has had no better authority on constitutional law. Pirzada, however, saw his support to the military rulers purely in the legal context. His associates say that he drew a clear distinction between political support and exercise of his legal expertise.