Pakistan is set to get its first woman Supreme Court judge – Justice Ayesha Malik of the Lahore High Court.

The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed on Thursday approved the elevation of Justice Ayesha Malik by a majority of five votes against four, reported Dawn.

It is important to note that this was the second time the JCP held a meeting to decide on Justice Ayesha Malik’s elevation. Her name was first taken up for discussion on September 9 last year but later rejected by a tie of four votes against four.

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Abdul Latif Afridi, president of Pakistan’s Supreme Court Bar Association, had even called for a countrywide protest against her name being considered. Justice Malik is junior to many judges serving in the country’s five high courts, Afridi had told the media.

On Thursday, the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) had threatened to boycott the courts if the JPC cleared Justice Ayesha Malik’s name for elevation.

However, the Judicial Commission of Pakistan’s recommendation will now be considered by a parliamentary committee. In most cases, this committee concurs with the JCP’s recommendation, which means that Justice Ayesha Malik is now one step closer to becoming Pakistan’s first woman Supreme Court judge.

Who is Justice Ayesha Malik?

An LLM graduate from Harvard Law School, Justice Ayesha Malik was a partner at a leading corporate and commercial law firm before her elevation to the Lahore High Court as a judge in 2012. She is currently the fourth senior-most judge in the Lahore High Court.

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She is known for her discipline and integrity and has decided on a number of key constitutional issues, including the declaration of assets in elections, payments to sugarcane growers, and the enforcement of international arbitration in Pakistan.

If elevated to Pakistan’s Supreme Court, Justice Ayesha Malik will serve as an Apex court judge until June 2031. Interestingly, before retiring at the age of 65 in 2031, Justice Ayesha Malik will be the senior-most serving judge on Pakistan’s Supreme Court and could even become the country’s first woman Chief Justice of Pakistan.

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