Today’s interview is with Sahar Saqib, a foreign law intern. Sahar, who recently earned her Master of Laws (LL.M.) in International and Comparative Law from the George Washington University Law School, is currently working with Tariq Ahmad on research related to the laws of South Asian countries.
Describe your background
I was born in Islamabad, Pakistan, and so were my two younger siblings. We grew up with a nomadic lifestyle, moving every three or so years with our parents across the globe because they were diplomats. I’ve lived in eight different countries and speak three languages. My experiences abroad and at home have shaped me into the person I am today, and influenced me to see the world through a broader lens.
I have consistently been blessed with remarkable teachers who have guided and encouraged me to continue to grow and challenge myself, and to aspire to be better. It is through their investment and the passion that they have for their craft that I decided to one day become an educator myself. My love for learning, reading and the arts was a direct result of their efforts.
What is your academic/professional history?
I received my LL.B. (Hons) from the University of London International Programmes in Pakistan. I focused my studies on jurisprudence, Shariah law, conflict of laws, and European Union law. I have just graduated with an LL.M. in International and Comparative Law from the George Washington University Law School, focusing on international law and international human rights law. I plan to continue with further postgraduate and doctoral studies.
I have previously interned at the Ministry of Law and Justice in Pakistan, where I compiled a report on the living and human rights conditions of prisoners; at the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services (PIPS), where I conducted legal research for Members of Parliament and responded to queries on drafting bills and assessing the impact of recently passed laws; and at the office of Senior Supreme Court Advocate Mr. Syed Naeem Bokhari, from whom I learned how to draft petitions on family law and custody cases as well as how to litigate by attending and assisting in Supreme Court and High Court hearings. During my studies at GWU, I worked pro bono for the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) by responding to questions of multi-state statutory law from domestic violence victims and survivors through the WomensLaw.org Spanish hotline.
How would you describe your job to other people?
I research foreign laws and legal systems on varied issues in response to inquiries from the U.S. Congress, federal agencies, the judiciary, members of the bar, and the general public. I have worked on requests involving a number of South Asian jurisdictions on issues ranging anywhere between international law, Shariah law, and human rights issues. My recent reports covered issues involving drug trafficking laws in Pakistan and the treatment of religious minorities in Bangladesh. I am currently working on a comparative analysis of judicial decisions and laws revolving around the “triple Talaaq” (three pronouncements of divorce under Shariah law) in South Asian countries.
Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?
I have always loved research work, and I knew that working with and learning from colleagues and peers who have extensive knowledge of laws from all over the world would not only enhance my understanding of the multitude of customs and law practices, but also introduce me to many topics in the areas of their legal expertise, which has led to some engaging discussions. It is also a wonderful opportunity for me to sharpen my legal research and writing skills and contribute to the Law Library’s ever growing database of knowledge; a personally rewarding experience.
What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Law Library?
I learned that the Law Library has the biggest, most thorough and comprehensive collection of law books from all over the world, and stores and preserves copies of publications in larger-than-football-field-sized stacks to ensure that laws of all countries in the world are safe and can be made readily available. I think that that is a commendable feat and an extremely useful service to every country whose legislation is being safeguarded in this manner.
What is something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
Probably that I am an artist and a poet–I write, sketch, and paint whenever I can find time. I am an avid fan of British comedies such as Monty Python and Blackadder. My favorite book is The Little Prince. I collect recipes even though I don’t know how to cook.