LAHORE: Justice Ayesha A Malik has become the first become the first female judge of the Supreme Court in the country’s 75 years history as a notification was issued by the law ministry after approval from President Arif Alvi on Friday.
Justice Ayesha Malik will assume her office soon after taking oath.
The judge received a farewell from the Lahore High Court chief justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti.
At the beginning of this month, the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) in its meeting chaired by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed with a majority of votes had recommended the appointment of Justice Ayesha Malik as a judge of the Supreme Court.
Following the JCP’s recommendation, the matter of her appointment was placed before the Parliamentary Committee on Appointment of Judges for final approval. The committee has unanimously endorsed her elevation.
Justice Ayesha Malik’s name was placed before the commission for the second time after her name was suggested by CJP Gulzar in August last year.
Earlier in September 2021, JCP had put her nomination on hold as the vote during the meeting had ended in a ‘tie’.
Justice Ayesha had received four votes in favour of her appointment while four were casted against her.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa did not participate in the JCP meeting on both occasions.
Justice Ayesha will work for 10 years as a judge of the apex court and retire on June 2, 2031 (at the age of 65 years in case of a SC judge).
This means Justice Ayesha will be on course to become the first female chief justice of the country after Justice Yahya’s retirement in January 2030.
A formal farewell ceremony was organized in honor of Justice Ayesha A. Malik at the Lahore High Court. Chief Justice Lahore High Court Muhammad Ameer Bhatti and the judges sent her a bouquet.
The farewell ceremony was attended by the senior most judge Justice Malik Shehzad Ahmed. Justice Shujaat Ali Khan, Justice Shahid Waheed, Justice Ali Baqir Najafi and other judges were also present.
Justice Ayesha was born on June 3, 1996, and studied in Pakistan and abroad, including Harvard Law School in the United States. She was an associate of former chief election commissioner and eminent jurist Justice Fakhruddin Ibrahim, and worked with him as an assistant for about four years, from 1997 to 2001.
A faction of lawyers’ organizations across the country, including the Pakistan Bar Council, opposed her elevation, calling the nomination of Justice Ayesha Malik as a Supreme Court judge a “violation of the principle of seniority”.
They say their protest is not limited to the case of Justice Ayesha Malik, but will continue until the authorities end the ‘pick and choose’ policy and establish a Judicial Commission seniority. But it does not appoint judges in the Supreme Court.
President Supreme Court Bar Association Ahsan Bhoon said that the lawyers’ associations were not against Justice Ayesha Malik and that the representative bodies wanted the most senior judge to be appointed to the Supreme Court keeping in view the principle of seniority.
However, the women lawyers’ association has taken the position that the decisions of the Supreme Court are present on the subject which have made clear that the principle of seniority is not absolute on the appointment of a judge of the High Court in the Supreme Court.
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