Judicial Commission of Pakistan decision paves way for Justice Malik to become country’s first woman judge at apex court if she is appointed
The Judicial Commission of Pakistan on Thursday approved the nomination of Justice Ayesha Malik for appointment to the Supreme Court, with five members voting in her favor and four against.
The decision paves the way for Justice Malik to become the country’s first woman to be elevated to the apex court if she is appointed by the Parliamentary Committee on Judges, which retains authority of final approval for appointments to the Supreme Court.
According to sources, the Judicial Commission met in Islamabad under the chairmanship of Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed to consider the nomination of Justice Malik. They said that the CJP, Justice Umar Bandial, Attorney General of Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan, Law Minister Farogh Naseem, and former judge Sarmad Jalal Osmany supported her appointment; Justices Qazi Faez Isa, Maqbool Baqar, Sardar Tariq Masood, and Pakistan Bar Council representative Akhtar Hussain opposed it.
The Judicial Commission members that opposed Justice Malik’s nomination maintained that the judiciary should establish criteria for the appointment of superior court judges prior to considering her, adding that nominations should be on the basis of seniority. Sources said that the CJP had assured the members that a committee would be constituted to amend the commission’s rules and establish criteria to nominate future justices.
Currently fourth in seniority at the Lahore High Court, Justice Malik was appointed to the court in March 2012. If she is appointed to the Supreme Court, she would remain a judge of the apex court until her superannuation in March 2031, with the potential to become the Chief Justice of Pakistan in January 2030.
Her nomination has repeatedly attracted controversy, with the country’s bar associations earlier threatening to boycott all court proceedings if the meeting for the nomination were not postponed or recalled. However, there was little response to the strike call, with proceedings continue per schedule in all courts.
Justice Malik had previously been considered for nomination to the Supreme Court by the Judicial Commission of Pakistan on Sept. 9, 2021, but failed to reach a decision after four members voted in her favor and four against. At the time, Justice Isa was out of the country and could not attend the meeting.