Founder & CEO
B.A., LL.B., OISC, GCILEX, BAR AT LAW
Fraz Wahlah is a real star in the field, his knowledge of immigration, nationality and human rights law is second to none. When he’s not fighting for rights and freedoms, he is busy creating new tech, reading great books, feeding birds in his garden, stargazing, playing cricket, cycling, and staying on top of advances in quantum mechanics & astrophysics, although not necessarily in that order.
As a leading international lawyer, tech entrepreneur and civil rights icon, Fraz Wahlah has been featured on some of the most prestigious media outlets including business & technology leadership magazines CIO, InfoWorld, and ComputerWorld, as well as the UK Parliamentary Review, Tech London, Dawn News, BBC World, and the BBC One TV – in the USA, Germany, Norway, Malaysia, Pakistan and the UK.
In July 2019 Fraz Wahlah appeared on the crown jewel of daytime TV, Homes Under the Hammer series, on BBC One.
The television series is the BBC’s most successful show in the 10 am slot, regularly attaining a 30% market share for new episodes, which equates to approximately 1.5 million viewers per episode in the UK alone which is in addition to millions of viewers worldwide.
Renowned English television presenter and footballer, Mr Dion Dublin, remarked about Fraz Wahah on BBC One Television Series Home Under the Hammer televised on 19th July 2019 as follows:
“Now that is one fascinating man with an amazing outlook on life.”
Dion Dublin on Fraz Wahlah – BBC One TV
Fraz Wahlah has also been featured as a “Migrant Hero” on “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” campaign in London organised by JCWI, IOM and, MAX.
As our director he brings to Citizen Lawyer a decade of international legal practice experience during which he has advised and represented investors, entrepreneurs, celebrities, sports figures, royal families, and music and tech companies internationally.
Prior to founding Citizen Lawyer, Mr Wahlah led one of the UK’s top immigration law firms 1st Citizen. He has also previously served on the board of leading healthcare technology corporation, CureMD Inc, where he negotiated some of America’s largest healthcare technology transfers and negotiated favourable out of court settlements in high value intellectual property lawsuits.
Fraz Wahlah has qualified as an lawyer, adviser and barrister – in more than one jurisdiction internationally. He was first called to the Bar abroad as an Advocate High Courts, and later in England & Wales as a Barrister at the prestigious Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn.
In the UK, however, Mr Wahlah practises solely as an immigration lawyer/adviser, and not as a barrister, under authorisation from the OISC – an organisation set up by the British Home Office to oversee the provision of immigration advice and services.
Mr Wahlah is authorised to advise and represent clients in their immigration, human rights and nationality related applications to UK Visas & Immigration and British posts abroad.
Contribution to the Cause of Freedom, Democracy & Civil Rights
Fraz Wahlah comes from a family that is deeply rooted in history of fighting for civil rights, rule of law and democracy against tyranny and dictatorships.
The family’s three generations stood up to three dictators in Asia and Europe in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Fraz Wahlah’s grandfather, Mr. Chaudhry Hussain Wahlah, fought Hitler’s Nazi alliance forces in the second World War as a soldier in the British Indian Army.
His father, Mr. MS Wahlah Advocate, was a celebrated human rights lawyer and civil rights figure who led the Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD) against the Marshal Law of another dictator, General Zia-ul-haq, in Pakistan back in the 1980s.
MRD was one of world’s greatest non-violent movements for restoration of civil rights, democracy and rule of law since the times of Gandhi. It was a decade long civil rights struggle that eventually brought down the dictatorship restoring democracy in Pakistan.
Fraz Wahlah’s mother, Um e Sleet Dhillon, a celebrated poetess, also took part in the movement against General Zia ul Haq’s Marshal law and dictatorship and faced detention multiple times along with Fraz and her husband Mr. MS Wahlah.
In August 2013, BBC published the iconic photograph of 4 year old Fraz Wahlah leading the MRD movement on the front-line with his father Mr. M.S. Wahlah.
BBC also broadcast a featured interview of Fraz Wahlah calling him the Flag-bearer of MRD (Movement for Restoration of Democracy). Fraz Wahlah had led the movement against dictatorship as child flag-bearer along with his father and at the peak of the movement Fraz Wahlah, from the tender age of 4, faced tear-gas, baton charge, and arbitrary arrest and detention along with his parents.
Fraz Wahlah’s arrest at that tender age made him the youngest political prisoner of a military dictator in the struggle for civil rights and democracy in Asia and perhaps in the world too.
In 2015, the iconic photograph of Fraz Wahlah leading the MRD protest, as a child activist, against Marshal law was included in renowned journalist Mr Nadeem F. Paracha’s pictorial history of Pakistan as an ideological state published in Dawn newspaper.
The picture was part of a set of historic photographs that, according to the author, defines Pakistan.
During his political career as an student, Fraz Wahlah also worked as the vice president of Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) youth faction for the province of Punjab under the leadership of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and led the movement for the restoration of judiciary during the oppressive rule of another dictator, General Musharaf.
In 2015, Fraz Wahlah along with 343 leading British judges, Lords, lawyers and academics signed a statement calling for an ‘urgent, humane and effective governmental response to the refugee crisis’. Entitled ‘Call from the Legal Community for Urgent Action‘, the statement termed the Government’s response of offering to take in 20,000 Syrian refugees over five years as ‘too low, too slow and too narrow’. It was published in both The Times and The Guardian newspaper and is available to read in full on the Lawyers’ Refugee Initiative website.
In 2018, Fraz Wahlah was asked by the former Tory party chairman Lord Sir Eric Pickles to contribute to the Parliamentary Review for the year 2017-18 for the British legal sector.
Featured alongside the Right Honourable Prime Minister Theresa May in the Parliamentary Review, Fraz Wahlah reflected upon his and his family’s political struggle for civil rights, democracy and rule of law to question whether the British government and society have turned away from Britain’s founding values.
In the Parliamentary Review, Fraz Wahlah argued how mindless populism and stoking far right wing sentiments breed fascism – urging the UK to revive the British values and become a beacon of Human Rights in an increasingly dark world. (Read the Press Release, or contact us to request a free copy of the Parliamentary Review)
In October 2010, Fraz Wahlah, while representing Pakistan at the 10th International Asia Pacific ICT Alliance Awards, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, won the first ever International ICT Oscar (Silver Merit) for Pakistan in the ehealth category.
He received the award from the Malaysian IT Minister and Miss Universe in the presence of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, and other dignitaries and diplomats from around the world.
Fraz caused a little controversy at the event by predicting his win right after presenting his case before the judges. He turned out to be right, and won the award. The president of Pakistan’s Software House Association later recounted the story on her official blog.
In 2017, Fraz Wahlah part-sponsored a memorial event to mark the 10th death anniversary of the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto at the Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University.
The picture was snapped at at the Memorial of former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mrs Benazir Bhutto at the Oxford University’s Lady Margaret Hall.
Wahlahs in Ancient History
Wahlah’s ancient history is recounted in renowned British historian C F Oldham’s book entitled “The Sun and the Serpent” published in London in 1905.
The subject of the book was the history of worship of the sun and the serpents in the Indian subcontinent. In the book, Mr Oldham, who was then Brigade Surgeon of British Indian Army and Member of the Royal Asiatic Society, refers to the Wahlah dynasty as the ancient Kings of Indus, “Lords of Arore”, “Tatha Multan ka rai” (The kings/rulers of Sindh, Tatha and Multan – the Indus Valley civilisation).
The book confirms that the Vahla dynasty ruled the Indus Valley and that the famous ancient Iron Pillar of Delhi was erected in 450AD by King Chandra Gupta I in celebration of finally being able to defeat the Vahlas in war.
The pillar has an inscription dated to be around 415AD stating that the ancient monument was erected in celebration of a victory over the Vahlas of Sindhu (King Wahlahs of the Indus Valley).
The book describes the Wahlah or Vahla dynasty, (also known as Bala, Vahlikas, Bahlika) as Solar Kings and Naga Rajas (Kings who worshipped the Sun and Serpents). Below are a few relevant excerpts from the book:
“The Kathis claim to have been allies of the Kauravas in the great war of the Mahabharata.* As already mentioned, they were a branch of the Kathias. An inscription from Ramchand- rapur, near Bundi in Rajputana, quoted by Colonel Tod, says that the warrior Takhya, who formed the garland (of skulls) on the neck of Mahadeo, was of the Catti (Kathi) tribe.* Closely connected with the Kathis, and apparently of the same stock,* are the Vahlas, or Bahlas, or Bahilkas, who are said to have been lords of Arore in the Indus valley, and whose chiefs were addressed by the bards as *’ Tatha Multan ka rai,*’ or kings of Tatha and Multan.*
This title is also given to the Kathis,^ and the term Kathiani bai, or Kathia lady, is sometimes applied to ladies of Vahla family.* Balas and Kathis are probably branches of the same people.
The name Vahla, or Bala, recalls that of the great Asm-a Bali of Patala, who also ruled from the mouth of the Indus to Multan. It seems at least possible that the Balika rais, who in later times held the same tract of country, may have been descendants of the Daitya king. We have seen, from the Mahabharata, that the BahUkas, or Takhas, occupied the country on the banks of the Indus at a very early period.* And the inscription upon the iron pillar at Delhi, which is supposed to have been erected by Chandra Gupta II, about a.d. 415, says that this ancient monument was erected in celebration of a victory over the Vahlikas of Sindhu. (Vahlas of Indus Valley)
* The Indus valley, therefore, down to the time when this pillar was first erected, was still held by Bahlika chiefs. Moreover, as we have already seen, Multan and the neighbouring country formed a part of the kingdom of Takhya at the time of Hiouen Tsiang’s visit in the seventh century.
Down to this period, therefore, the descendants of the Naga rajas still ruled in the Indus valley.”
Brigade Surgeon Charles Frederick Oldham, The Sun and the Serpent – Published by: Archibald Constable & Co Ltd, London – 1905
Iron Pillar Image Credit: Sujit kumar Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.