Ayesha Malik appointed as Pakistan’s first female supreme court judge

Justice Ayesha Malik, 55.

A 55-year-old woman took her oath on Monday in Pakistan’s capital city Islamabad as the country’s first female Supreme Court judge.

The oath-taking ceremony took place at the ceremonial hall of the Supreme Court where Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed administered the oath to Justice Ayesha Malik. The ceremony was attended by apex court judges, the attorney general, officials of the Law and Justice Commission, and other senior lawyers.

After the ceremony, Ahmed interacted with the media and said that Justice Malik was competent enough to become Supreme Court judge, and only she deserves credit for her elevation to the position.

Justice Malik was fourth in the seniority list and her elevation to the Supreme Court was opposed by bar councils and associations for the breach of the protocol. However, earlier this month the Judicial Commission of Pakistan had approved Justice Malik by a majority of five to four votes during a heated debate that went on for hours.

Justice Malik served as a high court judge in Lahore for two decades. She completed her early education at schools in New York and Paris. She studied law at the prestigious Pakistan College of Law in Lahore and did her LLB from the Harvard Law School Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

In June 2021 she gave her landmark judgement when she called virginity tests of sexual assault survivors “illegal and against the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan extended his best wishes to Justice Malik on her appointment, said: “I want to congratulate Justice Ayesha Malik on becoming the first woman judge of the Supreme Court. I wish her all the best.”

“A great day for Pakistan”, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.

Complemented with a picture from the oath-taking ceremony, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry tweeted: “A powerful picture symbolises the women empowerment in Pakistan, I hope she will be an asset to our Judicial hierarchy… Congratulations #JusticeAyeshaMalik a land mark elevation.”

Maleeka Bokhari, Parliamentary Secretary for Law, shared similar sentiments on the elevation of Justice Malik, said: “BELIEVE in yourself – Follow your DREAMS- REPEAT after me- NOTHING is IMPOSSIBLE!”

The Pakistan’s Peoples Party vice president, Sherry Rehman, congratulated Justice Malik on Twitter: “This is a picture full of promise and hope for the wonderful, talented, bright, courageous young women of Pakistan! Follow your dreams, be the change.”

Journalist Raza Rumi said: “Justice Ayesha Malik takes oath as the first-ever woman judge of Pakistan’s Supreme Court. Also a symbol of how women’s struggles over the past four decades have pushed back patriarchal structures and gender stereotypes. Long way to go but small victories matter.”

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