The Counsel

Tribute To Mohammad Murtaza Chinoy

Barristers-at-Law, 1975-2011

Barrister Mohammed Murtaza Chinoy since childhood was a very caring and loving human being. He loved to laugh and make everybody around him laugh. He had a photographic memory and was very intelligent. While in high school in the U.S.A he sat for his Advanced Placemat exam, reaching 40 minutes late for the exam, as he over slept, yet he scored the highest grade in the whole of the United States.

Mohammed got into a university in the U.S which was especially for gifted youngsters. In his 1st semester he got very sick and had to return to Pakistan to his family. As luck would have it he applied for the law course in the UK and began his legal education. When he graduated from Lincolin’s Inn and went for a job interview in the UK, he was asked “why did he become a lawyer?” Mohammed responded, “my father said I talk too much, so I may as well get paid for it”. So began his life as a lawyer. He loved arguing in Court and standing up for what he believed in.

Mohammed was very committed to his principles and always wanted to make a difference. I am proud to say that in the short life he had, he left his mark on the lives of each person he touched.

I am his older sister, yet for me, my strength came from my brother. He used to always tell me that I could do anything, I set my mind to, now my test has come. Not a day will pass in my life when I will not miss my brother.

As a son, Mohammed lived up to his father’s every dream for him and made him proud. Everybody who met him would say “Like father, like son”.

Mohammed took his mother for Hajj and looked after her in every way possible. 3 years ago his mother had Dengue, Mohammed slept on the floor in her room, in case she woke up in the night and needed help. She had a nurse but he was worried that the nurse may be sleeping.

My brother, I am very proud of you and you will always live on in our hearts. You stood up for justice in your life and now we will stand up for justice for you. I use to always tell Mohammed a Chinese proverb “may you live in interesting times”. Certainly has proved true in our lives. My mother and I would like to thank the legal fraternity for their undying support during this tragedy.

Mohammed always said he would be famous when he died and there would be no standing space at his Namaz-e-Janaza. His words came true, but, a lot sooner than he imagined. There is a proverb which says, “we live a hundred lives but only one is worth living, may be this it is” (unknown). My brother you made your life worth living. He died the way he lived, refusing to submit to the forces of darkness which seem to be enveloping this country. As long as my mother and I are alive, you will live on in our hearts, not a day will pass when we will not think of you. May God bless you always and may you rest in peace.

From a grieving mother and sister.

To my dearest ‘best friend’ and brother Mo,
‘Best friend’ is one of the most extensively and freely used phrases in this world. Little children use it to refer to their first friends at playschool and the term rallies through life when even parents and grandparents use it liberally.

We met somewhere in between these junctures of life, in what turned out be the most formative years. Young, ambitious, aspiring and fresh at Freshers week at university over 16 years ago. No one will ever doubt what super fun you were. Ever ebullient and always lightening the tone and putting people at ease. You were an absolute joy and never did that radiance cease to shine, even in highly troubling times.

What the laughter and incessant joking concealed was one of the finest minds I have ever known. With great acuity and enormous depth you conquered intellectual discussions with ease. Seems a fitting career you chose as a Barrister. By golly, we would know, by those endless statutes and case law that you kept quoting at all your friends!

But the depth of your mind went further than the intricacies of English tort law. You would accurately quote from the distinguished economists such as Keynes to American poets such as Whitman and indeed, occasionally from made-up nobodies. I was also once left astounded when you broke out in fluent French though you had only learnt it as a very young child.

You were a rather bespoke gentleman. I now rarely board flights (even low-cost national ones) without your signature travel outfit; blazer and slacks.

Also, you never ever had any ill feelings towards anyone. In all these years, I have not once heard you bad mouth someone, either in their presence or their absence. This, my friend, amongst the plethora of all your other noble attributes, will land you that staircase to heaven.

Thus, over the many years of our friendship, what you said and your conduct never ceased to inspire me.

I weep in silence for you. I find it utterly impossible to believe that you are no longer with us. Nothing can pacify us for this tragic and untimely loss. My prayers are always with you. You were the best friend, the best brother and indeed the best son.

We last parted after smoking cigars and discussing raison d’être in a terrace in Chelsea in London. I now realise that it was under such pomp and momentousness that you wanted to say goodbye.

Barrister Mohammed Murtaza Chinoy. I thank you. For bestowing upon me the honour and privilege of being your best friend. For making me realise the values of true friendship. Never judging. Sometimes challenging. But always laughing.

So that is what ‘best friends’ are about ultimately. A true companionship of souls.

May God Bless You

Your best friend and brother,

Tups (Saurav Mitra)

It is said that time is a great healer, but despite three months having lapsed since Mohammed passed away, this grim reality has not sunk in yet, as I write a tribute in his memory.

I first met Mohammed Chinoy when he joined our Firm as an Internee and indicated at the outset that he was interested in litigation work, which brought him under my supervision. Mohammed went back to UK and after completing his LL.B degree from University of Kent was called to the Bar from the Lincoln’s Inn and returned to Pakistan as a Barrister to practice law. His first choice was our law Firm and during his almost 11 years with the Firm, he blossomed into an astute lawyer. Mohammed’s greatest skill was that he had a very sharp intellect and came up with some of the most incisive points against the opposition and sometimes they were hard hitting. It was not uncommon for me to smile at him whilst settling a particular matter and say “Mohammed its nice to have you on our side. I would hate to be on your opposite side”. He would give me a beaming smile in all humility and say “Thank you sir” knowing I had meant it as a very strong compliment.

After a stint of just under 11 years with the Firm, Mohammed decided to establish his own firm at the end of 2010, and was full of exuberance and determination to succeed at the Bar. His advocacy was persuasive and he could hold his ground even against senior lawyers. He was hardworking and somewhat in a hurry to make his mark in the profession. He would never decline work and in his private practice he probably took up matters where the stakes were high. He was motivated by high professional considerations and his principle to defend his clients to the best of his ability may have caused ruffles to some. We are living in dangerous times and these qualities are not accepted in the same spirit and at times results in a response, which transgresses all known and accepted codes of conduct, Mohammed was not one to relent or back down. He never felt threatened in pursuing the interests of his clients in the best way he could and if that required a price to be paid, Mohammed was willing to pay that price. And he did.

We may ultimately never know what led to this tragic end of a bright young man’s career, the only son of his mother and the only brother of his sister. Mohammed will always be remembered by his colleagues and his friends and they will always cherish his memory. He had a short innings in this world but he played them well. We at the Firm will always remember this smiling young man, always on the move, perhaps this world could not keep up with his pace. May God bless his soul and grant him eternal peace.

Sajid Zahid
Jt. Senior Partner
Orr, Dignam & Co.

My tribute to Mohammed Chinoy

I knew Mohammed socially but my first proper meeting with him was when he turned up one day in my dorm room in London. True to form he had booked his place at the last minute and was scrambling to find a permanent room in the dorm. He eventually found a room two doors down from me and so began one of the most cherished friendships of my life. That was characteristic of Mohammed’s way of working: show up late, scramble hard and hope that chance would lend a hand (which it always did in his case). Chance and luck always seemed to be on his side and he relished projecting an image of random good natured chaos; never being on time and leaving an incredible mess everywhere he went.

But underneath that surface was an incredibly active and sharp mind. He would randomly quote Hamlet’s famous soliloquy (“To be or not to be”) or spew out random historical and legal facts or be able to speak semi-fluent French. He enjoyed confusing people with the contrasts and contradictions that he presented; to him it was all part of the mirth and joy that was life. And in the same vein he would enjoy irritating those that he viewed as uptight. (I remember that he once told me that a colleague of his complained that he “stapled too loudly”)

As close friends, Mohammed and I even started speaking in similar ways. So much so that our friends would call us Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum; and then we’d argue over which one of us was Tweedle Dum. To this day, in fact, my wife tells me to “stop speaking like Mohammed”.

Because in recent years we have been living on separate continents it is actually easy for me to ignore the fact that he has passed away. In my mind the default thought is that he is still in Pakistan running his own legal practice and that I will see him again when he next visits. However, it’s the times when I do “speak like Mohammed” or use a turn of phrase that he enjoyed that the realization of his passing hits home. In those moments I comfort myself by thinking that at least in some way a part of him will live on in each of us who knew him. So the next time anyone says (not that I imagine anyone but Mohammed could use these phrases) “Usool ki baat hai”, “The blind leading the blind shall fall into a ditch”, or “Awww…pat him on the head and give him a chocolate” it will forever have a bittersweet connotation for all of us.

I suppose we all must shuffle off this mortal coil at some point and the loss of someone as warm and genuine as Mohammed is a huge blow. But what makes his death even more painful was the manner in which it happened. I can only wince whenever I think of the horrifying last few moments of his life and the brutality with which his accursed killers executed him. To think that the last image I will have of him was on a video stream from showing his body being taken away in an ambulance outside his office; and that I never got to say goodbye.

The solace I give myself is that he lost his life in the manner that he lived it; fighting for what he believed in. For his usool ki baat (translated: “point of principle”).

I suppose I can only end by quoting the speech that he would regularly launch off into and to note its irony:

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die, to sleep,
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to: 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there's the rub:

Sleep well my brother. In life you were late for most things. But death made plans to take you early.

Shahid Jamil
Lathan & Watkins, London

Tribute to my friend Mohammed Chinoy

Mohammed you were very eloquently described by our friend Tups (Saurav Mitra) and I can only add to it. When I joined you guys at University full of (excessive) energy and youth I remember both Tups and you becoming my true friends with open hands. We were often referred to as the 3 musketeers “all for one and one for all”. Our friendship grew so naturally and the fun we all had was amazing. Simple things like ordering Chinese take away in the middle of the night (too often ) … lounging around discussing one of your numerous topics that you were an expert on. To let the rest of the world know it was rarely law as your spectrum of knowledge was wide. You always knew about the bond market / international equities / economics and between us we had many intellectual business ideas. It was therefore not a shock for me to find out that you had your own successful law company growing at an incredible rate.

Going for a pizza ! I remember one time when we ( a team of 8 ) went for a pizza and someone challenged you [ probably me] that you could not consume 3 full ( heavy pizzas ) in one seating and if you were successful we would pay for it. To our amazement you consumed them all. At the end of that you insisted you paid your share and we refused !! that was Mo a self dignified individual ! I think that’s when we knew you were incredibly gifted at eating but also not to be taken lightly when you put your mind at anything. Revising to the early hours and running in late for exams yet still achieving top grades was easy for you.

Mohammed I respected you so much not because of your intellect or joyful fuzzy haired relaxed aroma that chilled ( stress one was going through) out anyone. Or the ability to not let your friends down but the fact you were there for your family and every thing you did had your mums interests in mind !! You were a loyal true son and brother !! Even my sister described your loss as a complete waste as they, like many others adored you for your gentle persona ! You came from a great family and the ultimate indepth foundations came from your father. You spoke to me about his charisma and professionalism. Let me tell you one true fact you have not let anyone down in your amazing yet short life and your father would be ultra proud of you Mo.

Thank you for all our memories and choosing me as one of your close friends.


I was honoured to have known Mo.
went fishing in formal shoes,
watch and a diamond ring.
ring was his father’s……. he always wore it.
remember a wave taking his shoe
Him swearing as he tumbled in the waves.
I was honoured to have known Mo.
Teenagers…. Wrestling, boasting.
Arguing shouting but never fighting.
Those closest can be the most irritating
With Mo irritation was an art
Always stopped if he felt I was hurt.
I was honoured to have known Mo
Childhood, youth spent abroad
More patriotic than me
Better friend than me
Did not suffer fools
mostly told them to f*** off
I was honoured to have known Mo
shot while challenging cowardly swine
did not know how not to be brave
How not to raise his voice
Live to fight another Day?
Compromise was not my brother’s forte.
one of the most difficult things I do
trying to express my love
my anguish
in this
my tribute
to Mo

My Tribute to Mohammed Chinoy

Mohammed Chinoy .. a man of principle...our buddy.. my brother and one of my closest friends.
Mohammed and I first met in our halls of residence in London. The first time I met him.. I thought to myself 'this guy can talk more than anyone I know..and nonstop'! And that was the beginning of a very special friendship.. one that I will cherish lifelong. The first thing that drew me to him was his warmth.. and genuineness. There was no pretence or nothing put-on about him.. he was a very affectionate person but always seemed a little shy to show it.. and that was the charm of our Mohammed.

Mohammed was a wonderful person. If he liked you then he was your friend for life. And if he felt someone was a little hoity-toity.. he would make this really funny face and say 'I don't like him/her'! He once told me that he turned his desk at work the other way round because the person sitting in front of him annoyed him! He had this childlike way of making everything seem so simple.. of simplifying the complexities of life. When with him.. nothing seemed too bad. He always brought a smile to his friends faces and made us all laugh with his jokes and sense of humour.

Mohammed was super-intelligent.. but would always portray a different image. Work and studying were extremely important to him.. but he always put people and relationships first. He became one of my best friends and confidante in the time that we spent together. Mohammed was never at a loss for words.. no matter what the discussion or the issue or problem. He gave the best advice. I would go to him with all my silly issues.. and Mohammed never sent me away. He always had time.. he always made time.

His favourite word was 'awwww'. Mohammed was a very outgoing person and always one to voice his opinions and confidently speak his mind.. but if we praised him then he would get embarassed very easily. My friend Sara and I would love to tease him about a girl or how good he's looking in a certain shirt or tie and he would instantly change the topic. His down-to-earth and selfless nature drew everyone to him.

He was a man of principle.. if he believed in something then nothing and no one could change his mind.
Mohammed and I shared a very special relationship. He wasn't just a friend.. he felt like family. He looked after me and looked out for me the way my family would. At the end of the year.. when it was time for all of us to part ways.. a day before he was going back home to Karachi.. I went and asked Mohammed.. "will you be my brother" and he said "it would be an honour' . And so he became my brother and family.. and even long distance.. he was always there. His family became family to me.

My Mom always says for Mohammed "kitna shandaar baccha hai" (a regal child of character). She loved him from the moment she met him.. and always said that she feels Mohammed and I had a past connection which has come out in this life.

And that is the essence of our Mohammed.. a person of character.

We can never forget our Mohammed. And we will never be able to come to terms with the horrid way in which he was taken away from us. He may not be with us today.. but our memories of him are a part of us. We miss you Mohammed and always will.. you will always remain close to me and to all of us who loved you.. you will always be a part of us.

They say God takes the ones he loves the most first.. Our Mohammed was and is the most loved always.

Deepika (Deeplu) Hiranandani

Mohammed Chinoy

In 1998, a group of Pakistani twenty-one-year-old students arrived in London to spend the next year qualifying as Barristers. We soon found each other and formed a small close-knit group of friends. We spent most of the next year together—in and out of each others’ apartments, classes, and across countless meals and evenings shared together in a foreign country. Among this group was our friend Mohammed Chinoy, or “Chins” as we knew him.

Chins was a force of nature. Always late, often frazzled, yet perennially in a good mood and always ready with a quip or a joke. I don’t recall ever seeing him angry or upset—instead he was to be found smiling cheerily with (usually self-created) chaos swirling about him and holding forth with his seemingly inexhaustible supply of aphorisms! Yet there was substance to Chins. Not just intellect, but character. Two qualities always stood out for me. First, his love and dedication to his family. A fierce and protective love for his mother and sister, and a wistful longing for his father who had passed away. Second, his single-minded dedication to Pakistan. As many of us struggled with the quandaries of whether to seek jobs and build our lives in Pakistan or abroad, Chins was always single-minded. Pakistan was home and he would make it better by being a strong competent legal professional. And he did.

Chins could always be counted on to put things in perspective. He had this rather unique ability to wave his hands and dismiss any apparently insurmountably problem as a trifle; and oddly the way he put it made difficulties disappear. We sure could have used his skill now, but I don’t think even Chins himself could get us past this. Losing him so soon and over so little. More than anything Chins was a good man with a big heart and a core integrity. Perhaps there is nothing better one can say about any man, or a lost friend.

Adeel A. Mangi


“MC” as Mohammed Chinoy was fondly known to Shermine and I, was a dear friend to us. We still find it difficult to believe that he is no longer amongst us, but I was reminded of the fact when I visited his grave in Karachi last week. We have been friends with MC for over a decade and throughout he was an extremely fine and abundantly principled person and a truly loyal friend. I repeatedly reminded him and others of my conviction that he would be one of Pakistan’s finest legal minds. That regrettably was not to be. His untimely death and the circumstances of its occurrence is a reminder of the galloping social and moral decay that is eating its way through Pakistan and the sustained breakdown of law and order. I believe that this points in the direction of the larger culprit - lack of education.

MC is an unfortunate victim of this decay, an unnecessary loss of a life which had tremendous potential and ability. This decay needs to stop so that we do not lose loved ones like MC in such tragic circumstances. As a tribute to MC, we need to use every opportunity to promote and pave the way for better education in Pakistan so that our future generations can live in our great country in peace and security. MC, you are dearly missed, rest in peace.

Shermine and Aly Shah
16 February 2012.

God must have been in dire need for heartwarming company, that, is the only reason I believe Mohammad Chinoy is not with us anymore.

My interaction with Chinoy though limited to the High Court corridors and a few dinners was nevertheless memorable enough that in every prayer his name pops up in my head and I inevitably offer duas for him. His infectious smile and heart-warming company would help pass many long hours in the corridors of the High Court.

When I think of Chinoy I think of an untainted kind of liveliness and laughter. I pray his family and loved ones find solace in the fact that Chinoy touched so many lives and that he will continue to live on through his memories for all of us. I believe the best way to pay tribute to him would be to offer duas and charity in his name whenever each of us can, so that his hereafter is as blessed as his life here was.

Zara Shaheen-Awan Barrister-at-Law A friend.

Bulent - Thank you.

I thought long and hard about what to write to pay tribute to my friend Mohammed (MC for everyone at Orr, Dignam). I have decided to share an incident that happened about 10 years ago. The incident was very ordinary but a true reflection of the kind of person he was.

In those days, we used to regularly play cricket amongst the lawyers and staff members of the Firm and sometimes with other teams as well. We had organised an internal cricket match on a saturday for which a cricket ground near our office was booked in advance. When we all got to the ground, we found to our surprise that there were already teams on the ground. These guys had simply invaded the ground and refused to leave despite our best effoerts and reasoning. We told them that we had paid and booked the ground but they would not listen and carried on playing. The invaders were basically a bunch of hooligans and troublemakers and we were really no match for them.

We realised that there was no point arguing with them and started planning to find a suitable alternate. Whilst this discussion was going on, i noticed that MC had quietly started walking to the middle of the ground where the match was going on and he went and stood in the middle of the pitch. This also took the invaders by surprise initially and they stopped playing for a while. Then they decided to scare MC away and started playing again (with the hard cricket ball) whilst MC refused to move from the middle of the pitch. It was a bizzare situation. There must have been several deliveries bowled and shots played while MC was standing right in the middle of the pitch. Luckily he did not get hit. Finally, some of us had to run to the pitch to drag MC out of the ground as he had refused to move. At that time i thought it was not a very smart thing to do on MC's part. On reflection, i realised that unlike most of us, MC had the courage to stand up for what he thought was right regardless of the consequences. I believe MC lost his life in the process of refusing to run away from a situation when most of us would have.

Asim Nasim

I had met Mohammed in 2003 when I was myself a recent entrant into the legal fraternity of Karachi. We were the same age but he was ahead of me in terms of his career and vision. We were not friends but very good acquaintances and I have rarely met anyone who was so thoroughly a pure gentleman. He had this kind air about him that is incredibly rare in our culture. He showed real courage of his convictions when he left a large firm to set his own shop and in a way, he served us an inspiration. I pay tribute to him and know that he did what I and many of my lawyer friends did not have the courage to do.

Sharmeen A. Khan
Regional Head of Compliance
Pfizer, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Middle East and Africa