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Justice Ayesha Malik takes oath as first female judge of Supreme Court

ghazi52

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Justice Ayesha Malik takes oath as first female judge of Supreme Court


Haseeb Bhatti
January 24, 2022


Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed (L) administers oath to Justice Ayesha Malik (R) as Supreme Court judge at the apex court building Islamabad on Monday. —  DawnNewsTV


Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed (L) administers oath to Justice Ayesha Malik (R) as Supreme Court judge at the apex court building Islamabad on Monday. — DawnNewsTV


Justice Ayesha Malik on Monday took her oath as a Supreme Court judge and formally became the country's first-ever female judge to reach the apex court.

Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed administered the oath to Justice Malik in a ceremony held at the ceremonial hall of the Supreme Court.

In a brief interaction with reporters after the oath-taking ceremony, the chief justice said that Justice Malik was competent enough to become a Supreme Court judge and that no one else but her deserved credit for her elevation.
The top judge was then asked if Justice Malik was considered for elevation to the top court for being a woman or her standing as a judge.

To this, he replied: "Woman".

It is pertinent to mention here that Justice Malik was fourth in the seniority of the LHC judges and the bar councils and associations had opposed her elevation to the Supreme Court for ignoring the principle of seniority.

The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) had earlier this month approved Justice Malik for elevation by a majority of five to four during a heated session that had lasted nearly three-and-a-half hours.

The JCP held another meeting afterwards to decide on Justice Malik's elevation. A lack of consensus during an extended meeting of the JCP on Sept 9 last year had forced the commission to reject her elevation.

Discord over appointment​

A lack of consensus over the appointment of Justice Malik had surfaced during the JCP's meeting on Sep 9 last year in which four members of the commission had opposed the proposal to elevate her, while an equal number supported it.

Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, former judge Dost Mohammad Khan and a representative of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), Akhtar Hussain, had opposed the idea whereas CJP Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Federal Law Minister Barrister Dr Farogh Naseem and Attorney General (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan had favoured Justice Malik.

At the time, the Supreme Court Bar Association President Abdul Latif Afridi had called a countrywide protest to express anger over disregard to the seniority principle in the appointment of judges to the apex court.

The same criticism was levelled this time as well, with the legal fraternity calling on the chief justice to postpone the JCP meeting. In case the meeting was not called off, the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and all bar associations said they would boycott all court proceedings, from the superior judiciary to the lower courts.

While the JCP was holding its session, lawyers had arranged a protest and convention in a nearby office of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA). They accused the judiciary of favouritism in the appointment of superior court judges and thus harming its image.
Through a resolution, the convention had asked the JCP to adhere to the seniority principle in appointments to the apex court from the provincial high courts until such time as fair, transparent and objective criteria for appointment of judges at all levels were framed in consultation with all stakeholders and appropriate amendments to the Judicial Commission Rules were made.

In a related development, LHC Bar Association President Maqsood Buttar had moved a petition before the Supreme Court earlier this month seeking directions that the JCP invite all relevant stakeholders; judges, senior lawyers and bar representatives, members of the parliamentary committee, the federal and provincial governments and civil society and structure the process of judicial appointments to the superior courts to make them more objective and transparent.

The petition also sought directions for the JCP to frame comprehensive and detailed rules/guidelines to structure both the process of and parameters for appointment.
The petition had also asked that until the criteria was developed, the JCP should stick to the seniority principle in the elevation of high court judges to the Supreme Court.



Justice Malik: a brief profile​


Justice Malik completed her early education from schools in Paris and New York and then completed her senior Cambridge from the Karachi Grammar School.

She studied law at the Pakistan College of Law in Lahore and went on to do her LLB from the Harvard Law School Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, where she was named a London H Gammon fellow 1998-1999.

From 2001 to the date of her elevation as a high court judge, she worked with the law firm of Rizvi, Isa, Afridi and Angell, first as a senior associate and then a partner in charge of the firm’s Lahore office.

Justice Malik has appeared as a pro-bono counsel for several NGOs working on poverty alleviation, microfinance and skills-training programmes.

She is also author of a number of publications and has taught banking law at University of the Punjab and mercantile law at the College of Accounting and Management Sciences Karachi.
 

ghazi52

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If you can't see it, be it.
Tareekhi moment for as Ayesha Malik is appointed first woman Supreme Court judge.
This will inspire girls to believe that there are no barriers to their aspirations.
 

notorious_eagle

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Its not for the fact that this Judge happens to be a Woman, but what is more important is that she is damn good at her job. She is an expert on 'Contract Law', something we desperately need in Pakistan because contracts and their enforcement is rarely respected in Pakistan.

This is a great day for Pakistan and a great day for 'MERIT'.
 

Meengla

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F**k off its a Pakistani republic

Well, except for urban Punjab and urban Sindh, a large parts of Pakistan--probably the majority part of Pakistan--wants to centuries old life. They don't realize that participation of women is needed for a country to progress.
Anyway, this is a great day for Pakistan's judicial system!
 

Menace2Society

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Don't worry some fundoo will burn a family man alive in the street in a few days to balance out the good news. Pakistanis are never allowed to bask in the sunshine because we have demons in our midst.
 

ghazi52

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Pakistan's first female Supreme Court judge has been sworn in in the capital Islamabad.

Ayesha Malik, 55, now sits on a bench with 16 other male colleagues in the Muslim-majority country's top court.
Lawyers and activists said it was a rare victory after decades of struggle to get representation for women in Pakistan's male-dominated society.


Some lawyers and judges opposed Justice Malik's appointment as she was seen to be less senior than other candidates.

Pakistan's judiciary has been historically conservative and male-dominated.

It is the only South Asian country to have never had a female Supreme Court judge, according to Human Rights Watch. In addition, only 4% of Pakistan's high court judges are women.

Justice Malik, who was educated at the Pakistan College of Law and Harvard University, has served as a high court judge in the city of Lahore in eastern Pakistan for the last two decades.
She is seen to have played an important role in challenging patriarchal legal mores in the province.

Last year, she outlawed the use of so-called "virginity tests" during rape examinations of sexual assault victims.

Lawyers and activists have hailed Justice Malik's elevation as a historic appointment.
"It's a huge step forward," rights activist and lawyer Nighat Dad told AFP news agency. "It is history in the making for Pakistan's judiciary."

Others said there was much more still to be done.

Quoted in The New York Times, Islamabad-based lawyer Zarmeeneh Rahim said: "If women continue to be shackled by patriarchy and regressive interpretations of Islam, we will continue to not progress in terms of developing the human capital required to succeed nationally and globally."

But she added, "To finally see a woman sit on the highest court in the land is a small step forward in that struggle."

Justice Malik's appointment has been criticised by some and last year her elevation to the same post was voted down.

Her appointment to the Supreme Court was hotly contested once again this time around, with the nine-member commission passing her appointment by five votes to four.

In the months running up to this year's vote, many lawyers and judges also accused Justice Malik of jumping in front of a queue of more senior male candidates who were seen to be more qualified for the post. Some lawyers even threatened to go on strike if she was appointed.

Justice Malik was the fourth most senior judge in the lower court from which she has now been elevated.

 

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