Shibly Azeez PC some thoughts as he leaves us


By M.M. Zuhair

In life he shared an un-impish smile and in death I saw him, without any exaggeration, retaining that smile, as I paid my last respects to SHIBLY AZEEZ yesterday (8/10) at his Colombo Lake Drive residence that was packed to capacity with mourners. They were from all walks of life but with a noticeable representation from the legal fraternity. I was privileged to pay my respects in the company of former Chief Justice Asoka de Silva.

President’s Counsel Shibly Azeez was after all the Leader of the Official Bar as the then Attorney General of Sri Lanka (1995 to 1996) but more importantly he became the only one in recent times to be also elected as the Leader of the Unofficial Bar when he was voted to office as President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (2010-2012). There is little doubt that he earned this unique recognition of the country’s influential Bar not only because of his 50 years of contribution to the development of our legal system but also because of his unwavering humility, a wonderful feature of a highly respected man the country has just lost.

He passed away in the early hours of Monday 8th October 2018 and was laid to rest at the Jawatte Mosque Cemetery the same evening amidst a very large gathering.

He was a member of the Constitutional Council of Sri Lanka representing the civil society, the last of several high positions that he held. He had also served as a member of the Law Commission of Sri Lanka and was also a member of the Council of Legal Education. He was widely recognized as the most knowledgeable authority in Sri Lanka on aviation and shipping law and was also a lecturer both at the Sri Lanka Law College in shipping and aviation law as well as at the University of Colombo. His passing away is a great loss to the country and the community.

Shibly Azeez PC was well known as an eminent Legal Counsel. But he was not motivated by the craze to become a money making machine. Knowing as I do the number of instances that he gave free advice and at times appearances to anyone in difficulty. I am conscience of the large number who feel a personal loss, on his parting this world. He had confided to me many a times of the pressures that were upon him when he served in the Attorney General’s Department and the difficulties he had to face but those are all now history.

He had also served as an active President of the Ahadiya Association, the Sunday School of Religious education which is an island wide network of schools. Ahadiya movement was founded by his late father Marhoom Advocate M H Abdul Azeez of Galle and remains a great institution that has guided and continues to guide thousands of youths away from wrongful conduct towards beneficial service to others. He has left us leaving that smile in our hearts, into the realm of the Almighty Allah. Few are those who smile away from this world. May the Almighty honour him in Jennathul Firdouse.

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