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Rule of Law

Maintenance of peace and stability in Pakistan has been at the forefront of the national agenda during the last decade. The on-going war against terror has given birth to new legal challenges, whereas the existing rue of law framework has been unable to evolve at the same speed. Musawi has adopted the strengthening of rule of law in Pakistan as one of its core commitment areas, as we believe that rule of law is integral to the establishment of just and equitable institutions. Our team members have been actively working with provincial and national governments, public service departments as well as international development organizations on capacity building of justice sector institutions, the police, lawyers and promotion of access to justice for all.

Active Engagements:
Our team members are currently working on the following projects in this area:

• Support to different departments of the KP Government in advisory capacity under the Justice Sector Support Program (JSSP). The project is being funded by DFID and implemented by Adam Smith International to assist the government of KP in implementation of justice sector and legal reforms in the province. The project also aims to advise governments on identifying human rights related risks and to develop strategies on how to mitigate these risks and protect the fundamental human rights of the citizens.

• ABA ROLI Strengthening Rule of Law and Promoting due process and Fair Trial Standards in Anti-Terrorism Courts in Pakistan: The project aims to create awareness for Fair Trial rights through a broad range of activities for law students and faculty, lawyers and civil society organizations. Currently under the project, team members are developing two research papers: one on gender-based violence with a focus on the high acquittal in rape cases in districts of Punjab, and the other one on the current practice of judgment writing in the anti-terrorism courts of Punjab, with a view to provide recommendations for reform.

• Legal Education Support Program for Pakistan, a project of Arizona State University funded by the US State Department – The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL): Our members work closely with law schools to create effective and practical opportunities for law students, through facilitating establishment of Legal Clinics, peer review law journals, facilitating the development of curricula to reflect experiential learning exercises and skills such as research, analysis and writing, advocacy, interviewing, drafting etc. Promoting leadership and critical thinking is part of strengthening individuals who will become responsible for implementing and maintaining the rule of law in Pakistan. Our members are actively engaged in promoting legal scholarship and training students to develop their legal writing skills in 7 universities in Pakistan.

• ABA ROLI in Collaboration with UCL Human Rights Centre – Creating awareness & facilitating dialogue: Our members actively organize seminars with law students, lawyers, civil society organizations and other relevant stakeholders to promote dialogue on the importance of strengthening rule of law in Pakistan. These seminars have focused on different topics, ranging from anti-terrorism related issues, fair trial violations to death penalty and mentally ill persons.

Previous engagements:

Members of Musawi have been involved in a range of Rule of Law and Justice Sector Reform engagements with several government and non-government entities in their individual capacities. Some examples of the projects previously completed include Project Aitebaar: Peace Building Support to Post Crisis Needs Assessment implemented by Coffey International Development and funded by Department for International development, ‘Support for Punjab Prosecution Service Project’ (SPPS) funded and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft Fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), ‘Support for Capacity Development in the Criminal Investigation Services of Pakistan’ funded and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft Fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Monitoring & Evaluation and Impact Assessment

Our team members have a rich experience of designing and implementing monitoring and evaluation frameworks and conducting impact assessments. The team is well versed in various M&E frameworks, having implemented LOG Frame, DAC Criteria, and Results Framework in its M&E studies. Our members have a hands-on experience of conducting monitoring and evaluation as well as performance evaluation in the legal, education, environment and development sector.

With professionals trained in statistical and econometric analysis as well as undertaking qualitative research, our team offers the ability to carry out in-depth analysis of the collected data and extract meaningful results that inform future project designs and strategies.

Active Engagements:

• Baseline and Evaluation Design for Phase II of the British Council’s Ilmpossible: Take a Child to School (TACS) Program, Pakistan. The project involves baseline of infrastructure and training needs assessment for teachers, students, parents and community influencers in 60 Districts of Pakistan.

• Monitoring and Evaluation for the Legal Education Support Program for Pakistan, a project of Arizona State University funded by the US State Department – The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). Members of our team will facilitate a base line, mid-term and end line survey to analyse the effectiveness of the program in improving participants (faculty and students) legal and leadership skills.

Previous Engagements:

Some of the projects that our team members have been associated with in this regard include:

• Endline Evaluation Survey of the Awareness Campaign for Judges, Lawyers and Public for EU-Punjab Access to Justice Project
• Design & Implementation of the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for the Pilot Project of District Legal Empowerment Committee, Lahore
• End-Term Evaluation of the Phase I of Take a Child to School (TACS) Program for British Council, Pakistan
• Monitoring & Evaluation of the Legal Service Centres established by the EU Punjab Access to Justice Project.
• “A Review of Investigation & Prosecution in Serious Cases in the Punjab Province” for DFID, implemented by ECORYS Pvt Ld.
• “Analysis of the Performance of the Public Prosecutors in Punjab” for EU Punjab Access to Justice Project
• “Performance of the Public Safety Commissions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: A Baseline Study” for UNODC.
• “Evaluation Design for the Impact Assessment of the Agri E-loan Scheme. Department of Agriculture, Government of the Punjab
• Assessment of the Environmental & Health Costs of Environmental Non-Compliance of Labor & Textile Sector in Pakistan” for WWF, Pakistan
• “Country Experiences in Addressing Extreme Poverty in Rural Areas” for FAO, implemented by the SADC Research Centre

About Us

Established in March of 2018, Musawi is a young company of experienced professionals comprising highly trained lawyers, economists and public policy specialists, who bring their diverse experiences from the practical and theoretical domains to provide a holistic and multi-disciplinary approach to each problem.

Individual members of our core team have experience spanning over a decade of working with both the Federal and Provincial governments in Pakistan and International Organizations such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Asian Development Bank (ADB) Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammnenarbeit (GIZ), Department for International Development (DFID), British High Commission (BHC), Open Society Foundations (OSF), British Council (BC), American Bar Association (ABA), US State Department and the US Consulate in Islamabad to name a few.

Musawi has an open research mandate; the personnel in our team have experience in working on national and international projects pertaining to exploratory research, monitoring and evaluation, experimental design and intervention, impact assessment and survey implementation, strategic litigation, advocacy, capacity building and training assessment and development. Our current region of focus is South Asia.

Musawi in Urdu and Arabic language means equality, and that is what we strive for in all our work — equal opportunities and rights for every individual regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, religion or economic background.

Sustainable Development Agenda 2030

Awareness and implementations of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is one of our core commitment areas. Pakistan became the first country to adopt the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 through an official resolution of the Parliament. Considering Pakistan’s inability to meet a majority of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it is imperative that a more nuanced approach be adopted to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are achieved.

We are currently working on two projects under the SDGs focus areas:

  • 1. Localizing the Sustainable Development Agenda
    2. Goals for Everyone Series

1. Localizing the Sustainable Development Agenda
Deviating from the top-bottom approach of the MDGs, the sustainable development agenda calls for localization of the goals and setting priorities as per the local needs and challenges. In this regard, government, civil society organizations, donor organizations and the private sector need to work in a coordinated manner, so that a collective effort can be made to achieve these targets.

Under this component, Musawi aims to identify the role of local governments in the realization of SDGs in Pakistan. The first step in this regard, is to map the legislative functions assigned to the local governments in each province and how they align with the SDGs.

A report on the “Role of Local Governments in Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Punjab”​​ has bee​n​ published under this project, with similar reports planned for other provinces as well. In the second step, a more active engagement with local governments shall be undertaken to make them aware of their legislative functions and how they can contribute to the localization of SDGs.

1. ​Role of Local Governments in Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Punjab
2. ​Brief on Punjab Finance Commision

2. Goals for Everyone Series
One of the key reasons for lack of action on the MDGs was its lack of appeal to local populations and active advocacy by the communities themselves to implement the goals. It is important, therefore, to engage actively with the population and create indigenous advocacy and pressure groups that work towards achievement of the goals. Moreover, it is also important for the policy-makers and pressure groups to understand the interlinkages of the targets within each goal, so that they can be prioritized according to the degree and magnitude of impact that a particular target may have.

In order to help raise awareness about the SDG targets and their interlinkages, we have initiated a series of briefs under the campaign “Goals for Everyone”, which provides a platform for awareness and knowledge sharing.

1. ​ Brief on ​Maternal Mortality (SDG 3.1)
2. ​ Brief on Violence Against Women (​SDG 5.2​)


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The Musawi team includes highly skilled lawyers, comprising qualified Barristers of the Honorable Society of Lincolns Inn, United Kingdom, and practitioners with advanced law degrees from reputable institutions such as Harvard Law School and Cornell Law School. Our training in comparative legal systems and jurisprudence provides a unique blend of local knowledge and international best practice. All of our practitioners are licensed to represent clients in the Higher Courts of Pakistan and have extensive experience in litigation in domestic courts.

We employ strategic litigation and public interest litigation as tools to address rights-based violations. Musawi’s current thematic areas of focus include litigation geared towards criminal justice reform and protection of fundamental rights.

Torture is rampant in Pakistan and the broader region; victims are most vulnerable during the initial stages of arrest and police custody, in addition to during prison terms. With zero to minimal access to legal counsel, victims have little conception of their right to be free from torture and mechanisms to report such violations. Due to a culture of impunity, most victims never report such crimes, and those who do are up against several legal and practical barriers.

Musawi’s legal team has experience of working with victims on criminal cases pertaining to death penalty and violation of fair trial rights, including torture. A member of our team has represented a former Guantanamo detainee who sued the Government of Pakistan for his extra-ordinary rendition and torture in Guantanamo Bay, and assisted in more than a 100 death penalty cases. Another member of the Musawi team has assisted on cases of the European Court of Human Rights on extra-ordinary renditions and of the UN Human Rights Committee against torture in Central Asia filed by the Open Society Justice Initiative (an international organization specializing in strategic litigation).

Musawi is currently in the process of developing its in house litigation strategy for the next 5 years. Members of Musawi have developed an in depth strategic litigation plan in collaboration with American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative on current discrepancies within the application of Bail laws in Pakistan. These include both the anti-terrorism and normal courts and the challenge that this poses for the presumption of innocence guaranteed under the constitution.


Musawi brings together a diverse group of individuals to offer services in a wide variety of areas to its clients both within and outside Pakistan.

Musawi offers its clients, among others, the following services:

1. Project Design
2. Project Management
3. Research, Monitoring & Evaluation
4. Technical support for development & review of policy papers and legislation
5. Organizational Development
6. Capacity Building
7. Strategic Communications including private and public-sector engagement strategy
8. Strategic Litigation
In the following areas:
1. Sustainable Growth & Development
2. Criminal Justice System
3. Constitutional Law
4. Human Rights Law
5. International Law
6. Education
7. Public Health
8. Environment Protection
9. Social and Gender Inclusion
10. Juvenile Justice
11. Counter-Terrorism and National Security
12. Environmental Law
13. Constitutional Law

Training and Capacity Building

We at Musawi strongly believe that while radical reforms and establishment of new entities may be imperative in some cases, it is essential that the capacity of existing entities must be improved for efficient implementation of the reform agenda. Our team members, have, therefore, worked closely with various key stakeholders in each reform area, including police officials, lawyers, paralegals, government officials, judges etc. to increase awareness as well as build capacity of these stakeholders through in-person trainings and preparation of training manuals.

Active Engagements:

Individual Members of our team are currently working on:

• Preparation and implementation of the KP Prosecution Upgradation Plan for High Courts and Supreme Court under the Justice Sector Support Program (JSSP), which is being funded by DFID and implemented by Adam Smith International.
• Training of Police Officers to incorporate Research Methods in Policing Techniques, for CSP Officer BS-17 at the National Police Academy, Islamabad.
• Legal writing trainings for faculty members of law departments of 7 universities under the Legal Education Support Program for Pakistan, a project of Arizona State University funded by the US State Department – The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).

Previous Engagements:

• European Union Access to Justice in Punjab: Training of legal aid lawyers in bail laws, remand laws and trial advocacy skills
• Support for Capacity Development in the Criminal Investigation Services of Pakistan, Deutsche Gesellschaft Fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ): Development of SOPs and core training modules for Centre for Professional Development of Prosecutors in Punjab
• Support for Punjab Prosecution Service Project (SPPS), Deutsche Gesellschaft Fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ): Training of approximately 500 prosecutors in Punjab (including around 50 High Court prosecutors) in Practical Legal Skills
• United Nations Development Fund (UNDP): Development of training material for senior prosecutors of KP and master trainers, in close collaboration with KP Prosecution Service, and training session of 25 master trainers and senior district prosecutors of KP
• Management and Professional Development Department, Government of Punjab: Training of approximately 60 prosecutors in white collar and corporate crimes
• American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA Roli): Training of approximately a 100 lawyers in the area of Human Rights law, Anti-Terrorism law and Fair trial in Lahore, Mingora (Swat) and Nepal.
• British High Commission (CAPRI): Trainer and curriculum designer for Trial Advocacy trainings of Anti-Terrorism prosecutors of Sind, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP)
• Coffey International Development: International: Training-of-Trainers (ToT) Expert for prosecutors of KP; conceptualizing training programmes, development of training courses and delivered training. Training of master trainers of KPPS over a period of one year
• Access to Justice, Asian Development Bank: Training of around 100 prosecutors of Punjab in the area of Trial Advocacy in Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad and Gujranwala

Legislative & Policy Reforms

A holistic understanding of the underlying processes and socio-economic and political considerations that aid and inform legislative and policy reforms is integral to using reforms as an effective tool for sustainable development. We at Musawi believe in an evidence-based approach to all legislative and policy reforms; our members have experience of working with government departments as well as development organizations to undertake review of existing policies and legislations, as well as to formulate policies and prepare draft legislations. We sincerely believe in a rights-based approach to development: legislative and policy reforms are one of the most effective ways to achieve this goal.

Active Engagements:
Our members are currently working with:

• Implementation of the reform agenda under the KP Rule of Law Roadmap in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; these include introduction of court case-flow management systems in lower and high courts as well as active engagement with the police and prosecution departments in the province.

Previous Engagements:
Our members have previously worked on:

• Drafting and consolidating Legal Aid Laws in Punjab under the EU Punjab Access to Justice Project
• Review of Bills presented in the National Assembly of Pakistan with a human rights perspective for the DRI
• Review of the KP Prosecution Services Act and Rules and proposal for reforms, for Coffey International Development Limited
• Review of RTI & RTS laws in KP and grievance redress mechanisms for citizens against government officials
• Formulation of the Punjab Information Technology Policy, the first ever provincial IT policy in Pakistan, with the Punjab Information Technology Board
• Formulation of the Punjab Agriculture Policy, with the Punjab Agriculture Commission, assisted by the USAID
• Formulation of the draft Punjab Industrial Policy for Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industries
• Exploring New Avenues in Trade: Policy Proposal for Increased Trade with OIC and Gulf Countries for the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industries.
• World Bank-funded SMART Program in Punjab; a large-scale agriculture sector reform program under the Department of Agriculture, Punjab


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Our Team

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Thank you for visiting our page and showing interest in our work. Currently, we do not have any openings. Please keep visiting our website for further updates, and feel free to write to us in case of queries.


Under Musawi’s Project titled ‘Support for Legislative Drafting in Punjab’ (SLDP) – a project funded by US Consulate General in Lahore. SLDP was implemented with the objective of strengthening the capacity of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab, and relevant government officials, in legislating, drafting, and reviewing legislation. The project was conceptualized and designed with a view to enhance and assist the law-making function of elected representatives and ensure laws passed are effective and in line with Constitutionally protected fundamental rights and human rights contained within ratified international human rights treaties.

On Friday 22nd of March, 2019, Musawi organized a one-day training session on Legislative Drafting with members of the Provincial Assembly and relevant government officials. The session was attended by approximately 20 elected representatives and 15 government officials as training participants. The session also marked the launch of the ‘Legislative Drafting Manual for Punjab’ which was prepared by Musawi to assist the legislators and drafters in the province, highlighting the various considerations a legislator should factor in when drafting laws, ranging from the proper usage of language, stylistic factors to content, e.g. substantive human rights that an Act cannot contravene.

Please see the full Legislative Drafting Manual: Legislative Drafting Manual

Accountability for Rape: A Case Study of Lodhran

Rape remains one of the most serious crimes committed in Punjab in the last few years. This is evidenced by an upward trend in rape cases of about 15% between 2015 and 2016. Despite an increase in reporting of such crimes, accountability remains a challenge; the percentage of convictions is extremely low. In 2016 and 2017, almost 96% of those accused of rape were acquitted.

Generally, acquittals result when witnesses resile from previous statements and successful applications u/s 265-K Cr.P.C are filed, this study focuses on cases that were decided on merit. The study reveals that in 2016 and 2017, almost 3 out of 4 such cases resulted in an acquittal. Such high rates demand an inquiry into the legal structure, with a need to critically examine the evidentiary challenges that formulate the burden of proof for an alleged victim of rape and the institutional structures that aid in the collection of this evidence.

The aim of the study is to identify the challenges victims/complainants face in seeking accountability for rape, especially in the court of first instance.

For this study, a two-tiered sampling technique was adopted: (a) Identification of a sample district for the case study and (b) Identification of a suitable sample size of case files for the case study. For the former, Lodhran was selected as the best-suited district since it had the highest number of acquittals among all districts during the period under consideration. The sampling data on the total number of cases registered and decided by the courts in 2016 and 2017 was obtained from the Public Prosecution Department, Government of Punjab.

The study also examines key features of the legal framework governing the offence of rape in Pakistan.

This research identifies the following areas that could have led to the high acquittal rate:

1. Timeline of the Case and Delays on File
2. Witness Testimony
3. Medical & Forensic Evidence
4. Conduct of the Victim, including sexual history and character

In addition to the above, miscellaneous aspects like a lack of uniform format of judgments, lack of reliance on legal precedent in majority of the cases; variable age of the victims, courts’ notions of the ‘ideal’ accused, and the inference of motive recorded in the judgments have also been reviewed.

The study in its conclusion urges for greater reflection and investigation of the practical challenges of access and accountability for victims to prove rape and provides concrete recommendations in this regard.

For the full report, please click on the link below: Accountability For Rape - A Case Study Of Lodhran

Role of Local Governments in Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Punjab

The report has been​ published under Musawi’s project Localizing Support for Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, with similar reports planned for other provinces as well. The report looks at the delegated functions of the local government under the Punjab 2013 (amended) and how they correspond to specific SDG targets. It also explores challenges and barriers to effective devolution of power, which is imperative for the localization of SDGs.

1. ​ Role of Local Governments in Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Punjab
2. ​ Brief on Punjab Finance Commission)

Goals for Everyone

One of the key reasons for failure of Pakistan to achieve the targets under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was a lack of local ownership for the goals; MDGs were perceived as a foreign agenda with little relevance to local needs and challenges. In order for the SDGs to succeed, local support must be built and relevance of the global targets with local problems must be established. The Goals for Everyone series attempts to achieve this goal by raising awareness on the specific SDG Targets and how they address specific issues in the local context.

1. ​ SDG 16.9
2. ​ SDG 16.7
3. ​ SDG 3.1
4. ​ SDG 5.2

COVID-19 Statelessness Report

Under Musawi’s project titled, ‘Mapping the Impact of COVID-19 on Stateless Communities in Pakistan’, funded by the COVID-19 Emergency Support Forum (CESF) and the Institute of Statelessness and Inclusion, we have consolidated, in a first of its kind report, key insights on the experiences and challenges faced by stateless communities in Pakistan, with a specific focus on the impact of COVID-19.

The report looks at the legal and policy framework on statelessness in Pakistan and contains input of key stakeholders, including stateless community members, as well as government and non-government stakeholders on the impact of COVID-19 on issues relevant to stateless communities, including nationality, identification documentation and legal status, access to healthcare, education, jobs and livelihood, etc. In addition, the report adopts a gendered lens to identify the specific impact on women and girls of stateless communities during the pandemic.

The report adopts a mixed-methods approach by carrying out a literature review and corroborating the findings through a combination of key-stakeholder interviews and field visits/engagements with the community members and first-responders. A total of 19 key-stakeholder interviews, comprising 6 government and 13 non-governmental stakeholders were conducted for this report. The report is the first of its kind as it gathers input from key stakeholders working on stateless communities in Pakistan and includes insights of select provincial and federal government stakeholders, with the aim of consolidating existing information and data on these communities.

For the full report please click the link: The Impact of COVID-19 on Stateless Communities in Pakistan