Pakistan appoints first female judge to sharia court

Published Dec 30, 2013 07:34pm
Federal Shairat Court Chief Justice Agha Rafiq Ahmed (R), receives an oath from Justice Ashraf Jehan (L) in Karachi on Monday. -AFP Photo
Federal Shairat Court Chief Justice Agha Rafiq Ahmed (R), receives an oath from Justice Ashraf Jehan (L) in Karachi on Monday. -AFP Photo

KARACHI: Pakistan's national sharia court, which hears cases under the country's Islamic legislation, on Monday appointed a female judge for the first time in its 33-year history.

Ashraf Jehan, who was serving as an additional judge at the high court in Sindh, made history as she took the oath in Karachi.

“It was a historic oath-taking ceremony today when an able lady judge had joined the Shariat Court,” Agha Rafiq Ahmed, the chief justice of the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan, told AFP.

The court was established in 1980 during the rule of military dictator Ziaul Haq as part of a sweeping Islamisation of Pakistan's institutions.

It examines the country's laws to check them for conformity with Islamic injunctions and hears appeals under religious legislation known as the “Hudood Laws”, which run parallel to the penal code.

“There was no bar in the constitution to make a woman the judge of Shariat Court and there is no discrimination between men and women,” Ahmed said.

The chief justice of the Shariat Court, who rarely speaks to the media, said he was pleased to comment on an historic moment.

“I took the initiative as it would send the message in the world that we are enlightened people and would dispel many misconceptions,” he said.


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Comments (9) (Closed)


just_someone
Dec 30, 2013 08:45pm

Although it is great to hear about a lady judge rising up the ranks, shariah courts themselves should be completely abolished. they are the biggest example of discrimination of non-muslims under the guise of 'following islamic principles'.

M. Emad
Dec 30, 2013 09:28pm

According to Sharia law, 4 female judges needed for a judgement.

canuck
Dec 31, 2013 12:23am

So much for separation of church and State.

Naveed Khan
Dec 31, 2013 02:17am

This is great news. Pakistan is making little but tangible steps to restore pride in that great nation. I remain eternally optimistic that Pakistan one day would be a great nation tolerant, just and prosperous. I will celebrate every good news from Pakistan and will raise voice against all evil in that country. I hope Pakistani people all over the globe contribute in steering Pakistan to a tolerant, equal opportunity, educated, just and prosperous society. There is no alternative but to make Pakistan a success.

NASAH (USA)
Dec 31, 2013 06:08am

What is so historic about it -- as if Islam bans women judges from Sharia court -- my question -- is there a need for a Sharia courts in Pakistan -- regular courts are not enough -- then why the stupid Taliban are killing for Sharia?

Syed A Zafar USA
Dec 31, 2013 07:26am

Although it is a good thing to treat women equally and respectfully and it is another good step towards respecting the rights and acknowledging the abilities of women in Pakistan, but calling it a message to the world that we are enlightened people and would dispel many misconceptions seems a misleading statement. How can two legal systems in Pakistan play a justified role in order to protect minorities against the state enforced blasphemy laws.zafarsyed40@yahoo.com

Thoughtful
Dec 31, 2013 07:50am

A sharia court! Is this a joke? What exactly this court does?

Farooq Ali
Dec 31, 2013 05:04pm

@just_someone: Could you please support your allegation with examples ?

Shafiq Khan
Jan 02, 2014 03:48pm

Wo. What an enlightened view ! Is it the same court that invalidated the DNA evidence ?