Women’s rights activist Ayesha Malik becomes first female Supreme Court justice in Pakistan

First female justice pakistan
  • Gender equality activists are celebrating Ayesha Malik’s appointment to the Supreme Court in light of gender disparities in Pakistan and Malik’s own robust track record as a women’s rights advocate.
  • Malik’s appointment succeeded by a narrow 5-4 margin.

On Jan. 24, a judiciary committee appointed 55-year-old Ayesha Malik to Pakistan’s Supreme Court bench by a narrow margin.

Domestic and international activists have been celebrating the appointment of Malik to Pakistan’s Supreme Court as an important step towards women’s rights in the country. Female judges make up only 4% of Pakistan’s high courts, BBC reports.

A longtime activist, Malik has chaired committees on women’s issues, worked pro bono for local NGOs, served as an expert witness in overseas trials for diaspora Pakistani women, and staunchly advocated for the environment. 

Most notably, Malik was responsible for the ban on controversial virginity testing of women who reported sexual assault. She is often considered a crucial figure in the fields of women’s rights and constitutional law in Pakistan. 

Malik holds a law degree from the Pakistan College of Law as well as a master of laws degree from Harvard Law School. She is also a member of the International Association of Women Judges, an organization that works towards gender equality globally.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan offered Malik his congratulations in a tweet, as did other politicians, attorneys and celebrities, such as actor Saba Qamar.

Not all, however, were thrilled to hear about Malik’s appointment. Malik was previously turned down last year for the appointment by the same voting commission. This time around, Malik was approved by a 5-4 margin, with many opponents criticizing her alleged lack of seniority or experience.

Featured Image via BOL News

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