PCL’s own Muhammad Mustafa Khan has recently achieved the best 1st Division in LL.B (Hons.) in the world from the University of London, 2014. As quoted by Mr. Simon Askey, Deputy Director of the University of London International Programmes,: “The best first of the Century was achieved by Muhammad Mustafa Khan of Pakistan. With six first class marks and an aggregate of 571 he may hold the record for sometime!” Given the incredible success and praise, Fizza Ali conducts an exclusive interview with Mustafa Khan for the Legal Maxim.
What inspired you to do law after already being on another career path?
Law has always fascinated me from an early age. My desire to study law is firmly rooted in my interest in world events and also with helping others. After completing my engineering degree I decided to study law because I have always been interested in learning about the different laws that we are governed by and how they are applied in the everyday world. If we look at the news, there is always an aspect of law up for debate. So due to my curiosity regarding the framework and how it controls and plays an essential role in the changing nature of society and its people I decided to pursue this subject at degree level.
How have your experiences with mooting competitions impacted your outlook on advocacy?
Mooting is not only tremendous fun, and one of the best ways of learning the law, it is perhaps the only student mock activity that prepares them for legal practice. It is a great activity that improves your argumentative skills. In addition to that it develops your legal skills of analysis and interpretation. It involves being able to assess a problem critically and an ability to review that law in the factual context. It enables students to formulate a structured and informed argument as well as assess an opposing argument. In short, you get to see both sides of the picture. I had the honour of representing Pakistan College of Law at several mooting competitions and I must say that it turned out to be one of the most valuable experiences of my life. The skills that mooting fosters including teamwork, self management and the ability to be dynamic will be of great value irrespective of whether a student pursues a career in law or elsewhere.
What are your future pans?
Well I do plan to continue my studies and I may also apply for scholarships at prestigious universities like Oxford, Cambridge or even Harvard. However, I never make major decisions quickly and I do plan first and then decide- so let’s see what happens. Apart from that, it is my dream to come back and make a positive and effective contribution for the development of Pakistan.
Suggest five books everyone should read in your opinion?
Learning should never revolve around just five books. One should always have an interest and curiosity to learn a variety of different perspectives. If you talk about the law, you are expected to do a considerable amount of reading. An individual’s ability to comprehend text is influenced by their traits and skills, one of which is the ability to make inferences. A good reader interacts with the text in order to develop an understanding of the information before them. The important thing here is that when you read something you should understand it and get the essence of it. Remember that your long-range success depends not on the amount you read or hear, but the amount you understand and retain.
What advice would you give to students who embark on this degree since you have already achieved remarkable results yourself?
My advice to the students who embark on this program is that they should maintain consistency and hardwork on a regular basis. Establish a routine and keep it as consistent as possible. If you look at the people who are consistently achieving their goals, you start to realize that it’s not the events or the results that make them different; it’s basically their commitment to the process. One should always remember that nothing is impossible. I’m not an exceptional student but I did work hard to achieve my goals. Law is not meant to be easy and you won’t be the only one who feels at times that you are not getting it. However, you should learn how to maintain a balance. Like any other subject at university, studying law has its ups and downs. But if you are interested in the subject and able to motivate yourself to work sensible hours then there are definitely more positives and it’s a fantastic subject to study at degree level. And I should mention this that my family played a very important role in my academic achievements. I owe my success to my family. I think that is true for every successful person. My family not only gave me all of the basics, but more importantly, there was always a lot of love and support. I really think that family is the key to a better future, both for individuals and for communities. You see, excelling in life isn’t mainly about being smarter than everybody else. It’s about working harder than everybody else. So, In short, be disciplined and stay focused.