ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi approved on Friday the appointment of Justice Ayesha A. Malik as the first woman judge of the Supreme Court.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by Article 177(1) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakis­tan, the President is pleased to appoint Justice Ayesha A. Malik, judge Lahore High Court, as judge of the Supreme Court with effect from the date she makes oath of her office,” said a notification issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed is expected to administer the oath of office to Justice Malik — the first woman judge of the top court in the country’s judicial history — on Monday in a simple ceremony at the Supreme Court ceremonial hall.

The Parliamentary Com­m­i­ttee on Appointment of the Judges, under the chairmanship of Senator Farooq H. Naek, had on Jan 19 confirmed the nomination of Justice Malik as judge of the apex court.

Parliamentary Secretary of Law and Justice Maleeka Ali Bukhari welcomed the appointment, saying Justice Malik’s elevation to the Supreme Court would prove to be the biggest milestone in the country’s judicial history.

“Her elevation will also strengthen public confidence among the people of this country,” Ms Bukhari said, adding this would be a major step towards women’s empowerment as well as inculcate the sense of equality among women.

On Jan 6, a divided Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) had approved the nomination of Justice Malik by a majority of five to four during a heated session that lasted about three and a half hours.

CJP Gulzar Ahmed, senior puisne judge Justice Umar Ata Bandial, former judge Sarmad Osman Jalali, Law Minister Barrister Dr Farogh Naseem and Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan had supported the candidature of Justice Malik, while Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) representative Akhtar Hussain opposed it.

The Jan 6 meeting was the second such session in which the nomination of Justice Malik was considered. Earlier, on Sept 9, 2021, the JCP could not reach a definitive decision on the nomination of Justice Malik and out of a total of eight, four members of the commission — Justice Maqbool Baqar, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, former judge Dost Mohammad Khan and PBC’s Akhtar Hussain — had opposed the idea of appointing Justice Malik as judge of the apex court, whereas CJP Gulzar, Justice Bandial, Law Minister Naseem and AGP Khalid Khan favoured the elevation. Justice Isa was away from the country and, therefore, could not attend the Sept 9 meeting.

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2022

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