HRCP welcomes nomination of Justice Ayesha to apex court

Published January 8, 2022
This file photo shows Justice Ayesha Malik. — DawnNewsTV/File
This file photo shows Justice Ayesha Malik. — DawnNewsTV/File

LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has welcomed the nomination of Justice Ayesha A Malik of the Lahore High Court to the Supreme Court.

In a statement, the commission termed the appointment of first woman judge to the apex court in the country’s judicial history an important step towards improving gender diversity in the judiciary, where women reportedly account for only 17 percent of judges overall and just under 4.4pc in the high courts.

Nonetheless, addressing Pakistan’s gender disparity — and indeed other forms of disparity on the grounds of class, ethnicity or religion — on the bench and in the bar warrants a more proactive, long-term approach that tackles structural discrimination and casual sexism in the legal community.

The commission says the step entails appointing competent women to the decision-making positions such as the Judicial Commission of Pakistan, and investing resources in making the legal profession, including education, training and other opportunities for professional development, more easily available to women across class and region.

It demands the nomination and appointment procedure should also be made transparent and more democratic to avoid controversies.

The HRCP says a more gender-diverse judiciary will have far-reaching effects on people’s access to justice and the quality of justice.

There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that a greater proportion of women on the bench will make the courts more accessible for litigants and victims from vulnerable groups, in turn improving the public confidence in the judiciary itself, it concludes.

Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2022

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