Salman Akram Raja

LL.M., Harvard Law School
LL.M., School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
M.A. (Cantab), Downing College, University of Cambridge

Advocate Supreme Court, Pakistan

Salman Akram Raja is an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and has over 25 years of vast experience in all forms of dispute resolution. He is particularly recognised for his successful advocacy before the High Courts and the Supreme Court of Pakistan in a number of far-reaching and landmark constitutional, commercial, and corporate cases.

Salman Raja started his practice in Lahore and quickly rose to prominence as a successful practitioner. At an early stage in his career, he acted as counsel in major corporate and commercial disputes as well as constitutional litigations. Later in his career, Salman Raja has acted as lead counsel in a number of regulatory, commercial and tax matters for leading corporations, banks, and public entities. He is regularly called upon to assist the superior courts as amicus curiae on critical legal issues.

Salman Raja regularly acts for and advises private and public sector clients. His clients include major local and international businesspersons, banks, and corporations as well as major regulators such as Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Federal Board of Revenue, and State Bank of Pakistan. He also maintains an active pro bono practice and has acted as lead counsel in various well-reported cases of public interest.

Salman Raja has also represented and advised clients in international arbitrations outside Pakistan. In particular, he has strong experience in arbitrations conducted under the auspices of LCIA and ICC. He also acted as amicus curie in the Lahore High Court in a case involving recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in Pakistan. He has provided expert testimony on recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in Pakistan in foreign litigations.

Apart from dispute resolution, Salman Raja regularly advises clients on regulatory matters, privatizations, mergers and acquisitions, corporate regulations, and capital markets, etc. He has advised various foreign investors on a full range of issues extending from business incorporation to regulatory compliance in relation to their investments and commercial transactions in Pakistan. Salman Raja has acted and advised in some of the most important corporate, commercial, and constitutional cases in the history of Pakistan. Some of his illustrative engagements include:

Corporate & Commercial Litigation

  • Represented beverage companies in a successful challenge to the capacity tax before the Lahore High Court (Pakistan Fruit Juices v. Federation of Pakistan 2014 PTD 1837 Lahore)
  • Represented the Federal Board of Revenue in a case involving the constitutionality of concurrent criminal and civil proceedings against tax defaulters before the Lahore High Court (Taj International v. Federal Board of Revenue 2014 PTD 1807 Lahore)
  • Represented the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources in the challenge against the imposition of gas infrastructure and development cess under the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess Act 2011 before the Supreme Court of Pakistan (Federation of Pakistan v Durrani Ceramics 2014 SCMR 1630)
  • Representing the leading cement manufacturers of Pakistan in a pending litigation involving the exemption on imported plant and equipment before the Supreme Court of Pakistan
  • Acted in proceedings for the approval of a scheme of merger and amalgamation between several companies under the Companies Ordinance 1984 before the Lahore High Court (In the matter of Able Diversified Ltd 2010 CLD 26)
  • Represented the majority shareholders in a winding-up petition involving a dispute between the shareholders of one of the largest newspaper companies in Pakistan before the Lahore High Court (on going)
  • Represented several leading banks in the constitutional challenge against Section 15 of Financial Institutions (Recovery of Finances) Ordinance 2001 dealing with sale of mortgage property in cases of default before the Supreme Court of Pakistan (National Bank of Pakistan v SAF Textile Mills Ltd PLD 2014 SC 283)

International Arbitration

  • Represented a Pakistani company against a US corporation in an arbitration in London conducted under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules
  • Provided expert testimony as an independent expert witness for Pakistan Steel Mills in the litigation before the courts in British Columbia regarding the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in Pakistan (Sociedade-de-fomento Industrial Private Limited v. Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation (Private) Limited 2014 BCCA 205)
  • Acted as amicus curie before the Lahore High Court in the pending proceedings for the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in Pakistan

Election Matters

  • Represented the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) before the Judicial Commission headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan to inquire into the alleged rigging in 2013 General Elections (the Judicial Commission held that the 2013 General Elections were in large part organised and conducted fairly and in accordance with law)

Constitutional Litigation

  • Represented a party in the successful challenge to the governmental restrictions on the withdrawal of foreign exchange from foreign currency accounts by account holders following Pakistan’s nuclear tests in 1998 before the Supreme Court of Pakistan (Federation of Pakistan v Shaukat Ali Mian PLD 1999 SC 1026)
  • Represented Dr Mobashir Hassan in a successful constitutional challenge against the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) before the Supreme Court of Pakistan (Dr Mobashir Hassan v Federation of Pakistan PLD 2010 SC 265)
  • Represented a journalists’ union in a successful defence of the Seventh Wage Board Award before the Supreme Court of Pakistan (All Pakistan Newspapers Society v. Federation of Pakistan PLD 2012 SC 1)
  • Represented Air Marshal (r) Asghar Khan in a successful challenge to the involvement of former military officers in the distribution of funds amongst politicians in the 1990 General Elections (Air Marshal (r) Asghar Khan v General (r) Mirza Aslam Baig PLD 2013 SC 1)

Salman Raja has been involved in significant legal reform projects in Pakistan. In 2001, as a member of the President’s Steering Committee on Higher Education Reform, he helped to draft the Model Universities Ordinance of 2001 that provided for far-reaching governance overhaul in public sector universities. He is currently a member of the Company Law Reform Commission and has submitted a draft company law for the approval of the Commission. He has also drafted the corporate insolvency and rehabilitation legislation for Pakistan for the Pakistan Banks Association.

Salman Raja has been a lecturer at the Law Faculty of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), the University College Lahore (UCL), and the Government College University (GCU), Lahore. He is regularly invited to give talks on legal and constitutional developments at public forums and is a regular commentator on local and international television channels as well as an op-ed contributor in the press.

Salman Raja is consistently ranked as one of the top lawyers of Pakistan. He has been noted as “one of Pakistan’s brightest, most high-profile litigators” in Chambers Asia Pacific 2012 and “a polished litigator who is widely praised by peers” in Chambers Asia Pacific 2015. Chambers & Partners recognises Salman Raja as “one of the top-notch disputes lawyers in Pakistan” known for “his impressive courtroom presence and enviable client roster“, who is “thoroughly recommended” because he is “very eloquent and well read, and can talk on any issue of law.”

Salman Raja practices from the Lahore and Islamabad offices of Raja Mohammad Akram & Co.