In Pakistan, a Power of Attorney, or Mukhtar nama, is a crucial legal document that authorizes an individual, other than the Litigant, to represent someone in court proceedings or any other legal matters. It is imperative to have this document when the Litigant cannot attend the proceedings themselves, mainly due to being abroad or needing more time.
Furthermore, the Power of Attorney in Pakistan can be used for other legal issues, including property-related matters such as buying, selling, or renting a property in Pakistan and tax-related issues. It is essential to understand the significance of this document and ensure that it is correctly drafted and executed to avoid any legal complications.
The Legal Definition of Power of Attorney
The Power of Attorney Act of 1882 provides comprehensive documentation of the legalities surrounding Power of Attorney. According to Section 2 of this Act, it is stipulated that:
“The donee [Executant] of a power-of-attorney may, if they think fit, execute or do any assurance, instrument or thing in and with his own name and signature, and his own seal, where sealing is required, by the authority of the donor of the power; and every assurance, instrument, and thing so executed and done, shall be as effectual in law as if it had been executed or done by the donee of the power in the name, and with the signature and seal, of the donor thereof.”
Power of Attorney Act 1882. Section 2
The Representative named in the Power of Attorney is entitled to act as the Executant, with full power and authority. Unless otherwise stated in the document, the Representative can receive and release funds, execute transactions, negotiate, withdraw cases, submit cases (and appeals), and appoint lawyers (through a legal Power of Attorney) on behalf of the Executant. This is an absolute right that cannot be challenged or revoked. There is no discrimination of genders for Executant. The property rights of women in Pakistan are defined.
Types of Power of Attorney in Pakistan
There are three types of Power of Attorney in Pakistan.
- Special Power of Attorney (Mukhtaar-nama Khaas)
- General Power of Attorney (Mukhtaar-nama Aam)
- Legal Power of Attorney (Vakalat-nama)
The first two types of Power of Attorney are prevalent. But do you know what is the difference between General Power of Attorney and Special Power of Attorney in Pakistan? Let’s explore.
1. Special Power of Attorney
A Special Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows one or more people to appoint a representative to carry out specific actions. The actions to be undertaken by the representative should be explicitly mentioned in the Special Power of Attorney Document. In Pakistan, several people commonly assign one person as their Special Power of Attorney. This is often seen when relatives living abroad must appoint someone to act on their behalf.
2. General Power of Attorney
A General Power of Attorney is a legal document that grants an individual the authority to act on behalf of another person, known as the principal. The principal appoints the representative, who can perform various activities such as filing appeals, hiring lawyers, property transactions, and representing the principal in all general cases.
The General Power of Attorney can be revocable or non-revocable, depending on the principal’s preference. The Power of Attorney must mention the terms and conditions related to the authority granted.
3. Legal Power of Attorney
A Legal Power of Attorney is a document you submit to the court or relevant department to inform them that your lawyer will represent you legally in a specific case and court. It’s important to note that you need a separate Legal Power of Attorney for each case and court.
A Legal Power of Attorney gives your lawyer the authority to represent you in legal matters, but they cannot represent you personally in cases where you need to give evidence. If you are an Overseas Pakistani, you can also give a Legal Power of Attorney to a lawyer or law firm in Pakistan, but it requires attestation from your local Pakistani Embassy or Consulate.
“Power of Attorney must be registered and recognized by the city it is being used in.”
2005 YLR 2623
All these types of Power of Attorney cover different types of real estate properties in Pakistan.
Cancellation of Power of Attorney
To withdraw an original Power of Attorney, submit a Revocation-Deed to the registrar, along with a newspaper publication and the reason for withdrawal (Reference 2017 CNC P48 Isb).
Another Power of Attorney can only be used after the original is canceled or withdrawn. A Special Power of Attorney is automatically revoked after the task is completed and expires upon the death of the Representative or Executant.
Preparing a Power of Attorney from Abroad
When preparing a Power of Attorney from abroad, ensure it meets criteria from both the originating country and Pakistan as stated in the 2009 MLR Civil 241. Obtaining assistance from a legal counsel is strongly recommended to ensure that your Power of Attorney is valid for your specific legal action.
“The beneficiary of the transaction must ensure that the Power of Attorney is legitimate.”
2006 YLR 951
You can also get the property valuation certificate in Pakistan.
How can I get Power of Attorney in Pakistan?
You can apply for a Power of Attorney both manually and online. To obtain a Power of Attorney in Pakistan, follow these steps:
1. Draft the Document
Clearly outline the powers you want to grant in the document. Include details of the appointed person (Attorney) and the specific tasks or decisions they can make on your behalf.
2. Visit a Lawyer
Consult with a legal professional to ensure your document adheres to legal requirements and covers your specific needs. They can help draft and finalize the Power of Attorney.
3. Stamp Paper
Purchase the required stamp paper. The Executor usually issues this in their name.
4. Notarize the Document
Have the Power of Attorney notarized by a Notary Public. This step adds an official seal to the document.
5. Consulate Attestation (if abroad)
If you are overseas, visit the nearest Pakistani Consulate to get the document attested. This step is crucial for recognition outside Pakistan.
6. Register with the Relevant Registrar
Register the Power of Attorney with the relevant Registrar and Notary to ensure legal validity. This step varies depending on the region.
7. Keep Copies
Make multiple copies of the duly signed and registered Power of Attorney for your records and future reference.
8. Use Caution
Be cautious about whom you grant power to, and ensure that the document clearly outlines the limitations and scope of authority.
Digital Power of Attorney
NADRA, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), developed an automated, digital process for the issuance of Power of Attorney (PoA) for Overseas Pakistanis (OPs). Using the system, OPs can now apply and obtain a PoA from the convenience of their homes without having to physically visit a Pakistan Foreign Mission, which may be located at a significant distance.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister launched the online Digital Power of Attorney (PoA) on November 18, 2021. The Consulate General Houston is among the Pakistan Foreign Missions running the pilot phase.
It is a fast and secure service that allows OPs to grant PoA to any Pakistan resident. NADRA centrally manages this system, and online applications are accepted.
1. Create Your Account
Start by creating your account on the PoA Portal. Just provide your Email address and a few other details.
2. Apply for PoA
Once your account is set up and verified (via OTP), you can submit your PoA application and the necessary documents.
Upload your biometrics using the provided Fingerprint form.
4. Pay the Fees
You’ll be prompted to pay the required application fee and receive the results of your biometric verification.
5. Video Interview
The Consular Officer from the selected Mission (CG Houston, in this case) will schedule an online (video) interview with you to make the final decision on your case.
6. Give Final Consent
Look out for a system-generated Email in your registered inbox. Follow the instructions to provide the final consent for issuing your Power of Attorney.
Documents Required for Power Attorney
Before you apply for Power of Attorney (PoA) online, here’s what you need:
- You must be a Pakistani living outside the country.
- Details of the person you’re appointing and the witnesses.
- Valid ID for everyone involved, like CNIC/NICOP/POC.
- A working email address.
- A contact number and address where you are currently staying outside of Pakistan
- Executors and Witnesses’ fingerprints fingerprints (4 fingers)
- A credit/debit card for online fee payment.
- A scanned copy of the actual Power of Attorney to upload
- Any other needed documents (like an Affidavit) must also be uploaded.
- If you’re a US national or a foreigner, you’ll also need to visit the Consulate after getting your documents approved by the State Department or the relevant Mission in the USA.
How to check the Power of Attorney online in Pakistan?
Once your account is created, and you have submitted the application successfully, you can check the status of your application online.
How to register Power of Attorney in Pakistan?
A Power of Attorney is a crucial document, and its registration process is carefully reviewed. An improperly registered Power of Attorney might face cancellation and, in some cases, may not be acknowledged. Contrary to common belief, a simple Notary stamp alone is insufficient.
To ensure validity, a Power of Attorney document must undergo registration by the relevant Registrar and Notary, as emphasized in the 2017 YLR P.138. The person granting power (Executor) obtains the stamp paper in their name. If the individuals involved are overseas, the nearest Pakistani Consulate must also attest the document. Proper registration ensures the legal standing and recognition of the Power of Attorney.
“2 witnesses are required for a Power of Attorney”
1998 PLD 367
By the way, you should also be familiar with the property registration process in Pakistan.
Who issues power of Attorney in Pakistan?
In Pakistan, Executors can grant powers to an Attorney to act on their behalf in specific matters by issuing a Power of Attorney.
Can you sell property with Power of Attorney in Pakistan?
Yes, you can sell property if you have a Power of Attorney. Before selling your property, please read our guide to selling and transferring property in Pakistan.
“When a Representative comes on behalf of the Executant, it would be the same as the Executant came themselves.”
2003 Civil 407
What should be mentioned in your Power of Attorney?
When creating your Power of Attorney, including as many details as possible is crucial to avoid any future complications. Be specific about any relevant properties or assets the Power of Attorney covers. If you wish to restrict your Representative’s responsibility or limit their ability to manage your finances, you can add clauses to your Power of Attorney.
Fraud in Power of Attorney matters
In Pakistan, Representatives who act against the wishes of the Executant can be charged with Criminal Breach of Trust. Similarly, in cases of document forgery, legal action can be taken against perpetrators and involved lawyers.
Power of Attorney Fees in Pakistan
Power of Attorney fees in Pakistan vary by usage and institution. Stamp Paper must be worth at least Rs.1,000 for legal recognition (2017 YLR P.138). Here is the fee charged as the records of NADRA.
|Number of Applicants||Cost (USD)|
|Upto 5 Executors||36|
Let’s wrap it up.
Power of Attorney in Pakistan is a powerful legal tool. Understanding and following the process is crucial whether buying property or handling affairs. However, we recommend seeking professional advice for a smooth journey through the legal landscape, ensuring your intentions are legally secure.