Global Senior and Managing Partner

Ahsan Zahir Rizvi is a leading international corporate lawyer with extensive experience of contract negotiations, strategic planning, corporate and financial restructuring, privatisations, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, Islamic modes of financing and project finance.

Ahsan has drafted various statutory enactments and regulatory frameworks for Pakistan, including the natural gas regulatory frameworks, the telecommunication regulatory and the regulatory framework for the country’s securities and corporate sectors.

Ahsan was a director of the Karachi Stock Exchange, Chairman of the Committee on Cyber Laws Legislation and IPR of Ministry of Science & Technology of Pakistan and a Member of the National Bioethics Commission.

Considered a leader in the energy, infrastructure and finance sectors, he has acted in most of the major independent power projects in Pakistan and Afghanistan, on behalf of the Government, foreign sponsors and lenders.

Over the past 30 years, he has drafted, negotiated and documents numerous project development and financing documentation in connection with infrastructure and power projects.

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  • University of London, LLM, 1981
  • Inns of Court, Bar Vocational Course, 1980
  • London School of Economics, LLB (Hons), 1979

Karachi Airport Jinnah Terminal Project, Lahore-Islamabad Motorway Project, 500,000 Bot Telephone Lines Project, Refinery Projects, LNG Terminal Projects, Deep-Sea Container Terminal Projects, Mineral Development Projects, Power Projects of More Than 10,000mw, Cross-Border Gas Pipeline Projects, Cross-Border Transmission Line Project, Karachi Circular Railway Project, Karachi Elevated Expressway Project, And Oil and gas Joint Venture Projects.
Transactions exceeding USD 15b in aggregate value, M&A transactions of more than USD 5b and privatization transactions including Pakistan Telecommunication Company, Karachi Electric Supply Corporation, Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation, Pakistan State Oil and Pakistan Petroleum.
  • Makro-Habib in the demerger and merger Metro AG
  • MetLife in divestiture of its Pakistan subsidiary
  • Magnitgorsk Iron and Steel Works, in the privatization of Pakistan Steel Mills Limited.
  • Pfizer Corporation, in the re-structuring and merger of its subsidiaries in Pakistan.
  • Clariant in the divestiture of part of its assets/business in Pakistan
  • Occidental Petroleum in the sale of its assets to BP

  • Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited
  • Karachi Electric Supply Corporation
  • Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation
  • Pakistan State Oil
  • Pakistan Petroleum Limited

  • English
  • Urdu

  • Sindh Bar Council
  • Sindh High Court Bar Association
  • Enrolled as an Advocate High Court
  • Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn

  • Commercial
  • Corporate
  • Dispute resolution
  • Finance
  • Private client

  • Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence) highest National Award conferred on a Lawyer (2004).
  • Ranked amongst the ‘Best Lawyers of Pakistan’ by the Chambers Global Lawyers of the World (2001 to-date).
  • Ranked ‘Top Lawyer’ by Chambers Asia Pacific (2014 and 2015).
  • ‘Best Corporate Lawyer’ award by AsiaLaw (2006 to-date).
  • Former Director of the Karachi Stock Exchange.
  • Chairman of the Select Committee on Cyber Laws (Ministry of Information Technology, Government of Pakistan).
  • Selected to the International ‘Who’s Who of Professionals’ (2007 to-date).
  • Member of the National Bioethics Commission of Pakistan.

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Global news/insight

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What clients say...

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I have worked directly with Mo on multiple cases, so I have seen his legal analysis and skills first-hand. I highly recommend him.

Bryan Pieper Lawyer: 12 June 2015

Mo is a remarkable guy — Engaging, personable, and intelligent, with life experience that makes him a great choice to represent both international clients and American clients with international business or legal matters.

Bryan Pieper: Lawyer : 12 June 2015

He is an expert on immigration law including L1 intra company transfer visas

Sebastián Baglietto: Grupo Peñaflor: 15 October 2015

Mohammad is a great deadline oriented, ambitious and eager Lawyer who can be trusted.

Sebastián Baglietto: Grupo Peñaflor: 15 October 2015

I’ve had the privilege of working with Mohammad A. Syed since January 2015 and in that time I have known Mo to be a well-grounded and down to earth.

Sebastián Baglietto: Grupo Peñaflor: 15 October 2015

Mohammad is very professional and has successfully assisted us. I would highly recommend hiring his legal services to anyone seeking to develop business within the US market and for top quality immigration representation.

Victoria Mingo: Regional Export Manager USA, Bodegas Trapiche: 17 November 2015

I had the pleasure of benefiting from Mohammad’s legal services. He was assigned to set up our company in the US and advise us in all legal matters and secured an L1 intracompany visa for us.

Victoria Mingo: Regional Export Manager USA, Bodegas Trapiche: 17 November 2015

I highly recommend Mohammad Ali Syed for immigration law, especially for EB1 permanent residence applications. Science Program Lead at U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

Shikha Tandon: Olympian: 8 December 2015

Throughout the EB1 process, Mo Syed and his team were easy to work with and were always just a phone call away!

Shikha Tandon: Olympian: 8 December 2015

The EB1 category has very stringent standards and it was imperative to provide as much evidence as possible under the different criteria. Mohammad Ali Syed helped me understand the different criteria so that I could provide relevant documents as supporting evidence.

Shikha Tandon: Olympian: 8 December 2015

Mohammad Ali Syed assisted me in successfully obtaining my Green Card through the EB1 category (for aliens of extraordinary ability). My accomplishments include swimming for India at the Olympics and working for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

Shikha Tandon: Olympian: 8 December 2015

He is an expert in litigation, dispute resolution and international business. I’d recommend him in a flash.

Shakir Husain: Partner, IVM Capital: 9 December 2015

Mo has a robust extended network which he has leveraged for us when needed and we’re very grateful for the advice and work he’s done for us.

Shakir Husain: Partner, IVM Capital: 9 December 2015

Mo has been an excellent legal sounding board and has helped through a diverse set of problems that we've experienced as a business.

Shakir Husain: Partner, IVM Capital: 9 December 2015

He is an expert in immigration and nationality law. I would recommend him without hesitation.

Rahila Passi: PTA President, Sandpiper Elementary: 9 December 2015

Mohammad Ali Syed is a results oriented lawyer who had the knowledge of the system to follow the proper procedures and the connections to keep pushing my case through…

Rahila Passi: PTA President, Sandpiper Elementary: 9 December 2015

“Large and well-reputed practice”

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

“RIAA’s banking and finance department is noted for its ‘vast experience’ and ‘strong track record’”

Tier 1: IFLR1000 2015

“Our relationship with the firm started 20 years ago and we have never looked back.”

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

“They really take the time to listen to the case.”

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

“I only use RIAA and no other firm in Pakistan – I have the utmost regard for them.”

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

’Strong’ litigation department”.

The Legal 500 : Asia Pacific 2015

’Renowned’ corporate practice”

Tier 1: IFLR1000 2015

RIAA is ‘strong on telecoms-related work’, and has acted on for a number of high-profile clients in this sector.

Legal 500: 2015

RIAA’s ‘experienced’ tax department is praised as ‘top notch’. It is advising several multinational corporate clients on tax structuring to minimise fiscal exposure in Pakistan. Ahsan Rizvi leads on tax mandates.

Legal 500: 2015

RIAA has provided environmental advice on a number of domestic projects.

Legal 500: 2015

RIAA’s ‘strong’ litigation department advised Clariant Chemical and Clariant International on a High Court dispute, and is also acting for K-Electric on a constitutional matter.

Legal 500: 2015

RIAA’s ‘exceptionally good’ practice is ‘always available’ and ‘has excellent knowledge of the energy sector’.

Legal 500: 2015

Highlights for RIAA’s ‘renowned’ corporate practice included advising Unisys International on the sale of its majority shareholding in Unisys Pakistan to International Brands Limited.

Legal 500: 2015

"We have a very positive relationship with them. They are proactive, down-to-earth, thorough and extremely knowledgeable when finding solutions."

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

"I have the utmost regard for the firm; they are first class."

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

"They have vast experience of the power sector, and always provide alternative solutions to problems - they really take ownership of the projects they are working on."

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

What the team is known for: Active on a wide range of conventional and renewable projects, including notable activity on the conversion of power plants to coal.

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

What the team is known for: Offers high levels of expertise in the power sector, advising the sponsors on development, financing and regulatory issues.

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

Ahsan Zahir Rizvi keeps things on an even keel and so people trust him, even those on the other side."

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

Sources highlight Ahsan Zahir Rizvi’s strong negotiation capabilities, with one noting: "He can see the other side's perspective, that is his greatest strength.

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

Ahsan Zahir Rizvi is held in high regard for his depth of expertise in the power sector.

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

Ahsan Zahir Rizvi is also praised for "his precision in giving advice. He is very to the point."

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

Senior partner Ahsan Zahir Rizvi is one of Pakistan's most highly reputed transactional lawyers: "He is one of the most individually outstanding people, both from a commercial point of view and a legal point of view."

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

"RIAA has a very strong reputation for handling commercial and corporate matters."

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

"They have been absolutely outstanding. I don't think there is a team more dedicated."

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

Excellent bench of practitioners with a full-service corporate offering. Often mandated on big-ticket M&A deals, particularly for corporations in the energy and power sectors.

Chambers: Asia Pacific 2015

RBG provides notable expertise across the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious banking matters, and counts numerous financial institutions among its clients. On the borrower side, the team has experience representing companies in the power, energy and transport sectors.

Legal 500: 2016

The firm has an active transactional practice and is instructed by clients across the energy, telecoms, financial services and construction sectors. Complementary expertise in tax, employment and competition benefits a practice covering mergers, acquisitions, takeovers, joint ventures and privatisations.

Legal 500: 2016

RIAA Barker Gillette’s disputes department handles cases spanning constitutional, employment, trade mark, energy and family law.

Legal 500: 2016

RIAA Barker Gillette maintains an active energy practice, where it advises clients on compliance and liability under environmental law, and assists with licensing and regulatory approvals.

Legal 500: 2016

RIAA Barker Gillette receives instructions from insurance company clients in relation to both contentious and non-contentious matters. Past work includes handling corporate transactions and international arbitrations.

Legal 500: 2016

RIAA Barker Gillette advises on corporate and commercial agreements relating to power, water and construction projects, and is becoming increasingly involved in matters concerning wind and other renewables.

Legal 500: 2016

RIAA Barker Gillette’s longstanding experience in the construction sector, with past work including the construction and development of hospitals and various power and infrastructure projects. Acquisitions, sales, transfers and property leasing are other mainstays, as is project finance…

Legal 500: 2016

In the media space, the team has experience in licensing, and advises radio, television and print clients on operational matters.

Legal 500: 2016

Telecoms is an area of strength at RIAA Barker Gillette, with the team providing expertise in corporate, commercial and regulatory matters.

Legal 500: 2016

RIAA Barker Gillette advises multinational corporate clients on tax structuring and restructuring. It is also active in tax litigation and appeals before the High Court.

Legal 500: 2016

RIAA Barker Gillette…"It is a powerhouse."

Chambers Guide: Asia-Pacific 2016

Renowned for his expertise in the power sector, peers highlight Ahsan Zahir Rizvi as "one of the most experienced projects lawyers in Pakistan."

Chambers: Global Guide 2016

Ahsan Zahir Rizvi continues to be revered by market commentators, who single him out for his "sharp legal mind."

Chambers: Global Guide 2016

Ahsan Zahir Rizvi is singled out by clients for the depth of his transactional experience and for "bringing a colour and vibrancy to the table."

Chambers: Global Guide 2016

Sources describe Ahsan Zahir Rizvi as "an exceptional practitioner" and "a backbone of the firm."

Chambers: Global Guide 2016

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