Induction of lone female judge in IHC: Only 6 women feature in 141 superior court judges

December 14, 2019

ISLAMABAD: With the swearing-in of Lubna Saleem Pervaiz as a judge of the Islamabad High Court , the number of female justices in all the seven superior courts has gone up to six.The official data...

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ISLAMABAD: With the swearing-in of Lubna Saleem Pervaiz as a judge of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), the number of female justices in all the seven superior courts has gone up to six.

The official data shows that there are as many as 141 judges serving in the superior judiciary. The women’s share is highly negligible while the female population of Pakistan is as almost equal to that of the males.

The percentage of females in this category of judges may be indicating the ratio of women practicing lawyers. The profession like many other fields is dominated by men. Several females do law graduation, but do not prefer to adopt the profession.

Since its inception a few years back, the IHC has got the female judge for the first time, raising the number of its total judges to seven with two others - Fiaz Anjum Jadran and Ghulam Azam Qambrani - also have simultaneously been administered oath as the judges.

After the retirement of Anwar Kasi as the IHC chief justice, only four justices have been constrained to cope with a huge workload. Most high-profile cases of paramount political nature involving top politicians including deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif, former president Asif Ali Zardari, ex-premier Shahid Khakan Abbasi and several others have been or being dealt with by the IHC. The Lahore High Court (LHC), which has a total of 45 justices, has only two female judges including Mrs Ayesha A Malik and Miss Aalia Neelum.

Similarly, the Sindh High Court (SHC), which has a strength of 38 justices, has two woman judges - Justice Mrs Kausar Sultana Hussain and Justice Mrs Rashida Asad. The Peshawar High Court (PHC) comprising 18 justices has just one female judge - Ms Justice Musarrat Hilali.

The Supreme Court with the 17-judge strength, the Balochistan High Court (BHC) having ten judges and the Federal Shariat Court consisting of four judges have not a single woman justice. The Shariat appellate bench of the Supreme Court has two ad hoc judges - Justice Dr Muhammad Al-Ghazali and Justice Dr Khalid Masud.

The subordinate judiciary in all the provinces also has a very small number of judges. This tier is open equally to male and female lawyers to compete in the examination to be appointed as civil judges or additional sessions judges. However, the induction of lawyers and senior district and sessions judges in the high courts is through selection by the chief justices first and then by the judicial commission and parliamentary committee. Such appointees are not required to go through any written examination or interview. Only recently, the parliamentary committee, which has minor powers, decided to conduct interviews the judges proposed by the judicial commission headed by the chief justice of Pakistan.



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