ISLAMABAD: The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) on Thursday approved the elevation of Lahore High Court Justice Ayesha A. Malik to the Supreme Court, which will make her the country’s first-ever woman judge to sit on the apex court.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed chaired the JCP meeting during which Justice Malik’s elevation was approved by a majority of five votes against four, an informed source told.
This is the second time that the JCP held a meeting to decide on Justice Malik’s elevation. A lack of consensus during an extended meeting of the JCP on Sept 9 last year had forced the commission to reject her elevation.
During that meeting, four members of the eight-member JCP had opposed the proposal to elevate Justice Malik – the fourth most senior judge of the LHC – while an equal number had supported it.
At the time, the Supreme Court Bar Association President Abdul Latif Afridi had called a countrywide protest to express anger over, what the legal fraternity perceived, disregard to the seniority principle in the appointment of judges to the apex court.
The same criticism was levelled this time as well, with the legal fraternity calling on the chief justice to postpone Thursday’s JCP meeting. In case the meeting was not called off, the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and all bar associations said they would boycott all court proceedings, from the superior judiciary to the lower courts.
Meanwhile, reactions poured in from all quarters as netizens, politicians and lawyers congratulated Justice Malik on her nomination.
Legal adviser for the International Commission of Jurists, Reema Omer, said that Justice Malik’s presence would enrich the apex court in “many ways” in addition to “finally bringing a woman’s perspective to the highest court of Pakistan that has shockingly been missing for 74 years.”