Pakistan’s Supreme Court got its first female judge on Monday, as Justice Ayesha Malik took oath during a ceremony in Islamabad, Dawn reported.
Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed administered the oath to Justice Malik at the Supreme Court. Supreme Court judges, lawyers and the country’s attorney general attended the event, according to PTI.
The 55-year-old judge will now join 16 male colleagues in the Supreme Court.
Several political leaders in Pakistan congratulated the judge on the achievement. Prime Minister Imran Khan congratulated Justice Malik, and said he wishes her all the best.
Information minister Fawad Chaudhry said that Justice Malik’s elevation to the Supreme Court symbolises the empowerment of women in Pakistan. “I hope she will be an asset to our judicial hierarchy,” he said.
A statement from the government of Pakistan described her appointment as a “historic moment in the judicial history” of the country.
Chief Justice Ahmed said that no one deserved any credit for Justice Malik’s elevation, and that she had the requisite competence to become a Supreme Court judge, PTI reported.
The notification approving the appointment of Justice Malik was issued on January 21.
Justice Malik studied at the Harvard University in the United States, and became a judge at the Lahore High Court in March 2012, the Express Tribune reported.
Last year, she delivered a landmark judgement declaring the “two-finger test” for sexual assault survivors as unconstitutional. The medically discredited practice is used to assess whether a woman was habituated to sexual intercourse.
Her term is slated to end in June 2031. She may also become the chief justice in January 2030, according to the Express Tribune.
Justice Malik was picked for the Supreme Court even though she was fourth on the Lahore High Court’s seniority list. Last year, the Judicial Commission of Pakistan had rejected her elevation.
However, earlier this month, the commission approved her nomination with a slim majority of five to four, according to PTI.