This article presents a synopsis of some of the most inspiring women in Pakistani judiciary.
The first women appointed as judge was Khalida Rashid Khan in 1974 (Holden, 2019). She was the first-ever female to be appointed as a civil judge in NWFP (now KP). She was then promoted to the position of senior civil and district judge. Soon After she became the first women to hold the positions of sessions judge in whole subcontinent. In 1994, she was promoted to the position of Judge of Peshawar High Court. This event marked the milestone of appointment first women judge in any high court in the country. In 2011, she also became the first Pakistani women to hold the position of president of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Justice (r) Majida Rizvi is serving as the Chairperson of Sindh Human Rights Commission and was the first woman to be promoted judge of Sindh High Court in 1994 ("Justice Majida Rizvi - LRF", n.d.). She has used to provide free legal services to the needy members of the society in order to ensure justice for them. From 2002 to 2005, she remained the chairperson of the National Commission on the status of women. For her extraordinary services and contributions to the legal system she was presented with numerous awards.
Justice (r) Nasira Javed Iqbal is one of the most prominent persons in Pakistani Judiciary. She started her legal education from Punjab University and then went to Harvard for Masters. She was amongst the first few females to be appointed as judge of Lahore High Court from 1994 - 2002. She has been a member of the Supreme Court Bar Association and has held several important positions including as President of Lahore High Court Bar Association, as head of Concerned Citizens of Pakistan Society, as honorary legal advisor to international women’s club, trustee of Transparency International etc. She received Sitara e Imtiaz from the President of Pakistan for her services to law in 2019.
Justice (r) Syeda Tahira Safdar is an extraordinary woman who became the first female Chief Justice of a High Court in Pakistan at the Baluchistan High Court on 11th May 2011(Khan, n.d.). She got her legal education from University College, Quetta and started her life as civil judge in 1982 after she clear BPSC. In 1987, she was promoted as Senior Civil Judge and then Additional district and session judge in 1991. In 1996, she was appointed as District and Session judge and also held the position of presiding officer in Labor Court. Until her appointment as Chairperson of Baluchistan Services Tribunal in 2009, she worked as its member. At the same time, she was promoted as Additional Judge of Baluchistan High Court. Justice (r) Tahira Safdar was one of the three judges of Special Court constituted for trial General Pervaiz Musharraf in 2013 (Khan, n.d.). She is an exceptional person for being the first woman appointed in all the positions she has served. She has the distinction in being the first woman appointed as chief justice of BHC.
Justice Ashraf Jehan has the distinction of being the first appointed as judge of Federal Shariat Court in 2015. She completed her law education from Jinnah Law College, Hyderabad in 1983. She joined Judicial services back in1987 as a Civil judge and first-class Magistrate but later in 1992 she got promoted as Senior Civil judge. In 2000, she worked under Sindh government as Deputy and then Additional Secretary Law and got appointed as District and Sessions judge in 2003. In 2006, she became the member of judicial of the customs, Excise and Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal, Karachi. Then in 2009, she was appointed as Chairperson of the Environmental Protection Tribunal in Karachi which was followed by her appointment as Director Instructions at the Federal Judicial Academy in Islamabad. After few months, she got promoted as Additional Judge at the Sindh High Court ("Former Judges – Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan", n.d.).
Uzma Akhtar Chughtai is a district and sessions judge who has served as head of Punjab Judicial Academy for eight months under Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah ("Profiles in Justice - Courting the Law", 2018). She was the first ever women to be appointed as Additional Sessions Judge and in her own words she stated that she remained so for three years.
Amna Zamir Shah is an inspirational woman who became the first female to hold the position of a Judge in Gilgit-Baltistan. In 2004, she completed her LLB from Islamic International University (IIU). In 2006, she cleared FPSC and was appointed as civil judge. Soon after she decided on hundred pending cases and made her mark in male dominated legal community in G-B (Mir, 2017). In 2008, she secured Chevening scholarship by British Council and did her LLM from University of Leicester in Human Rights Law. For her exceptional performance, she was presented with UK Alumni Award in 2017.
Suman Kumari has become the first Pakistani-Hindu woman to hold the position of a Civil Judge. She did her LLB from Hyderabad and master’s from SZABIST University Karachi. She hailed from a minority in Sindh where she says the trend to educate female child is low. However, she entered the law profession with a noble aim to help improve provision of justice to people of her community (Khan, 2019).
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