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The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday imposed a Rs50,000 fine on Additional Inspector General (AIG) Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Punjab for interfering in a Lahore High Court (LHC) order to recruit women on open merit.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar also slapped a Rs25,000 fine on the Punjab government for "discrimination against women".

Last year, the LHC had ordered CTD Punjab to appoint women on open merit instead of selection based on quota system. The order was passed on a petition filed by 200 women who accused CTD Punjab of misleading candidates by failing to specify that female candidates will be selected through quota system.

In their petition, the female candidates said that the CTD Punjab had advertised 1,500 posts of corporals in 2013. At the time, no special quota was allocated for women as per the advertisement and all the petitioners applied for the posts on open merit were selected. However, the department later announced a five per cent quota for women and appointed 75 of the successful female candidates.

CTD Punjab had filed an appeal against the LHC decision in the SC, arguing that the department had separate recruitment criteria for men and women. However the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar turned down the appeal, saying that women have the right to apply through open-merit system.

"[The court] will not allow discrimination against women," the CJP warned.