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Usama Khawar

Indus Law, Advocates & Policy...
Joined August 2019
Interests: Access to Information, Criminal Justice, Environmental Justice, Governance, Housing & Sanitation, Labor & Employment, Land & Natural Resources
I am a graduate of Columbia University, New York City, and Central European University, Budapest. At Columbia, for my LL.M. I specialized in international human rights law and at I did LL.M in Comparative Constitutional Law (Clinical Specialization). Apart from my rich and diverse academic background, I have a solid experience of working in the field of public interest litigation for more than four years. Before embarking on my independent practice, I gained valuable experience by working at the Office of Attorney General of Pakistan, which explains my deep interest in the constitutional matters. Later on, I worked with one of the most experienced and preeminent human rights lawyer of Pakistan, Senior Advocate Supreme Court Mr. Abid Hassan Minto. At Minto & Mirza, I gained a very diverse corporate consultation and litigation experience, e.g., banking, constitutional matters, company, land use, labour, right to housing, and environmental law. I got the privilege of assisting With Mr. Minto and Supreme Court in a landmark case concerning the Right to Shelter (Aasim Sajjad Akhtar vs. Federation of Pakistan). In this case, the Supreme Court expanded the ambit of Right to Life (Art. 9 of the Constitution) to include in it the Right to Shelter.

I also has the distinction of being the youngest person to argue a case before the Supreme Court of Pakistan. I argued a Public Interest Litigation Case on behalf of a large number of labourers and obtained relief for them.

As a result of my Silicosis Litigation on behalf stone-crushing labourers, there have been several far reaching legislative as well as administrative changes in the field of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) in Pakistan. All the provincial governments of Pakistan as well as the Federal Government of Pakistan took number of legislative as well as administrative steps to prevent occupational deaths among labourers. Legislative actions include like enactment Punjab Occupational Health & Safety Act 2019 in Punjab and Sindh Occupational Safety and Health 2017 in Sindh, both acts safeguard the rights of the common worker and grant them the security of life they were denied, improving the work conditions and saving the lives of thousands of laborers. Similarly, Punjab has enacted other laws for preventing Silicosis, including:

● The Tehsil / Town Municipal Administration (trade for crushing, grinding of stones and quartz materials) Bye-laws, 2015;
● Punjab Environmental Ambiance Standards; and
● Punjab Hazardous Occupations (Silicon) Rules, 2015.

Similarly, recently I also took up the matter of deaths of 318 Coal miners in Balochistan and approached the Supreme Court for the redressal of this serious human rights issue.
I also teaches human rights and constitutional law at the University Management of Sciences (UMT), Lahore.

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