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Raashid Anwer

Managing Partner

Mr. Raashid Anwer is a Partner in both Khalid Anwer & Co. (www.khalidanwer.com) as well as in Abraham & Sarwana (www.abraham-sarwana.com). He is a graduate of Cornell University and his experience of appearing before the Superior Courts of Pakistan spans more than two decades. He deals with a wide range of issues which companies face, including commercial, constitutional, tax, labour and employment matters. He is recognized as one of the leading lawyers in Pakistan for taxation, employment and shareholder disputes. In recent years, he has been counsel or co-counsel in the Supreme Court of Pakistan in most high-profile and important tax cases. He has had the privilege of being involved in what are probably the three largest tax cases ever argued in the Supreme Court. In addition, he regularly appears in the Supreme Court in employment matters. He is currently representing the second largest bank in Pakistan in a pension matter in the Supreme Court where the Bank will have to incur extra expenses of $280 Million if it does not succeed. Mr. Raashid Anwer has, inter alia, appeared before the Superior Courts in the following high-profile matters:

  1. He successfully represented Pepsi-Cola International before the Supreme Court in a matter arising out of the tax authorities’ attempt to recover more than $700 Million in back taxes allegedly owed by Pepsi-Cola on the basis of a misinterpretation of its contracts with its bottlers.
  2. He successfully represented Hubco (the largest private Power Producer) in a banking matter in which the Defendants were seeking to encash a Standby Letter of Credit for $150 Million. Although, there were numerous Supreme Court judgments stating that the Courts should not stop the encashment of Standby Letters of Credit, he was able to convince the Sindh High Court to treat this as a very special case in light of the facts of the case and to suspend the encashment demand. The Defendants then agreed to settle the case out of Court and withdraw their encashment demand.
  3. He was co-counsel in a challenge to the validity of a tax called the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess in the Supreme Court. This was the largest tax case in the history of Pakistan as the total amount of Government revenue involved was more than $5 Billion! Although the Supreme Court ultimately upheld the constitutionality of the statute but based on certain observations of the Supreme Court, he was able to obtain interim relief from the Sindh High Court as a result of which our clients have not paid this tax for the last several years.
  4. He is currently representing a wide cross-section of industry in a challenge to the vires of the Sindh Infrastructure Cess in the Supreme Court in which he has got interim relief pending the decision of the case. The total amount of tax revenue involved is close to a Billion dollars and it is perhaps the second largest tax case in the history of Pakistan.
  5. He regularly advises the pharmaceutical industry on Drug Pricing issues. He was the lead counsel for the multi-national pharmaceutical industry in the Supreme Court wherein he successfully persuaded the Supreme Court to allow price increases in a large range of pharmaceutical products. In addition, he represented the pharmaceutical industry in negotiations with the Government which resulted in the enactment of the Drug Pricing Policy, 2018 – in which he was able to persuade the Government to agree to a mechanism for increases equal to the actual amount of cost escalation rather than capping it at an arbitrary level of 8% annually.
  6. He is currently representing three of the four largest banks in Pakistan in various employment/pension cases in the Supreme Court. For one of the banks, the amount involved is $280 Million. For the other banks’ cases’ the amounts involved, while not as large, still run into tens of millions of Dollars. He is also representing the State Bank (the Pakistani Central Bank) in an employment matter in which the question is whether the State Bank is the final authority in employment matters or whether it is subservient to the Rules framed by the Federal Government.
  7. He is currently representing the largest telecom company in Pakistan in the Supreme Court in which the key question is whether the employees of privatized state-owned companies are to be treated at par with Government employees for purposes of pension. While the immediate impact of an adverse decision on our client will run into the tens of millions of dollars, the broader effect of such a decision will be that the Government’s entire privatization program to sell off dozens of loss making state owned enterprises will come to a standstill as new buyers would be unwilling to buy companies in which they face open-ended pensionary expenses.
  8. He has successfully represented most of the large textile manufacturers in the Sindh High Court where he obtained injunctive relief against a decision of the Federal Government to not supply natural gas to industrial consumers who were using that gas to run captive power generators.
  9. He is also representing almost the entire Wind Power companies in a case in the Lahore High Court in a challenge to the SECP’s interpretation of an accounting rule which would, force the companies into insolvency.
  10. He is currently representing almost all the insurance companies in Pakistan in litigation challenging the imposition of a Sales Tax on Services (which tax has been set at a rate so high that it would force at least the life insurance companies to cease operations).
  11. He has successfully represented the PTET (one of the largest pension funds in Pakistan) in a tax case in the Supreme Court of Pakistan in a case where the Income Tax Department’s demand of $35 Million was struck down.
  12. He has successfully represented Toyota’s Pakistani assembler in a case in the Sindh High Court, wherein the Court was pleased to set aside demands raised by the Customs Department amounting to $31 Million.
  13. He has successfully represented a mobile company in the Islamabad High Court in a challenge to a tax of $28 Million levied on the purchase of telecom spectrum by our client.x
  14. He successfully challenged the applicability of an amendment to Section 65-B of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 in which Parliament had sought to retrospectively take away certain tax credits for several large textile groups who had made investments in new plant and equipment.
  15. He is currently representing a large number of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals in the Supreme Court in two separate sets of proceedings in relation to the constitutionality of wealth tax imposed on immovable properties and foreign assets. In both cases, he was able to obtain partial interim relief for his clients during the pendency of the on-going litigation.
  16. He has successfully represented two mobile phone companies in the Sindh High Court in a challenge to the constitutionality of a tax on all mobile phone calls lasting more than five minutes. The amount involved for the phone companies ran into billions of rupees.
  17. He appeared for Allied Bank Limited before the Sindh High Court and was able to persuade the Hon’ble Court to execute a Judgment / Decree in favour of the Bank for an amount of Rs. 2.4 Billion by ordering the sale of the assets of the Judgment-Debtor. This, in monetary terms, is, quite probably, the largest judgment ever given in favour of a financial institution by the Sindh High Court.
  18. He is currently representing several of the leading cement manufacturing companies (including Lucky Cement and D.G. Khan Cement which are the two largest cement manufacturers in Pakistan) before the Supreme Court against the decision of the Competition Commission of Pakistan to impose a fine of over $50 Million against some of our clients.
  19. He appeared on behalf of the downstream value added textile sector in Writ Petitions filed before the Lahore High Court by the exporters of cotton yarn against the quotas imposed by the Government of Pakistan on the export of cotton yarn and successfully persuaded the High Court to uphold the restrictions imposed by the Government.

Mr. Raashid Anwer has, inter alia, been involved in the following advisory/ transactional work as well:

  1. He has advised clients on a wide range of corporate issues including privatisation projects, joint venture agreements, mergers/acquisitions and other complex commercial transactions as well. Clients whom he has advised and/or represented in Court (on behalf of the Firm) include Pepsi Cola International, Procter and Gamble, Gillette, IBM, Schlumberger, Toyota, Rolls Royce, Pfizer, Novartis, Dell, Teradata, AIG/New Hampshire Insurance Company, the State Bank of Pakistan, the Karachi Stock Exchange, the Central Depository Company, the five largest Pakistani commercial banks (National Bank, MCB Bank, Allied Bank, United Bank and Habib Bank), the three largest textile groups in Pakistan (Nishat Mills, Gul Ahmed Textile Mills, Sapphire Textile Mills), the two largest cement companies in Pakistan (Lucky Cement and D.G. Khan Cement), PTCL (the largest telecom company), three major players in the cellular phone market (Telenor, Mobilink and Ufone), and the largest tea company in Pakistan (Tapal).
  2. He has also advised the Government of Pakistan (as well as several trade associations) in relation to international trade issues vis a vis the European Union. In 2005, he was requested to accompany (and brief) the Pakistani Prime Minister prior to his negotiations in Brussels for accession to the European Union’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) scheme. In addition, he has also been asked to make presentations at several bilateral meetings between the Government of Pakistan and the British Department of Trade & Industry as well the Italian Trade Ministry.
  3. He developed (on a pro bono basis) the basic proposals for the Ministry of Law, Government of Pakistan for submission to the Asian Development Bank for reforms to the judicial sector under the Access to Justice Program.
  4. He has also advised clients in relation to various aspects of project finance and/or restructuring including representing the Lenders of Davis Powergen Ltd. which is an IPP being set up in Jhang, Punjab as well as advising the acquirers of the two AES power plants in Pakistan.
  5. He has advised the Dewan Group in its negotiations with the Steering Committee set up by the State Bank to deal with the largest bank default in Pakistan’s history.
  6. He has advised on the merger of the Asset Management Companies of MCB Bank and Arif Habib Investments, and the corporate restructuring (involving both mergers as well as demergers) of a number of large corporate groups including the Sapphire Group and the IBL Group.
  7. He has also successfully represented the largest Pakistani exporters in Anti-Dumping cases initiated by the European Commission in relation to Bed-linen, P.E.T. and Ethyl-Alcohol.
  8. He has also represented Pakistani exporters in relation to safeguard measures sought to be imposed by the Turkish Government in relation to the import of fabrics and garments.
  9. He also advises the Central Depository Company of Pakistan (CDC) on various regulatory issues both with their own regulator (i.e. the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan) as well as with their regulatees (i.e. stock brokers and Issuers/participants in the Central Depository System).