Justice Malik set to become country’s first woman judge to serve on the apex court
The Parliamentary Committee on the Appointment of Superior Judiciary on Wednesday approved the elevation of Lahore High Court (LHC) Justice Ayesha Malik to the Supreme Court, making her the first woman to serve on Pakistan’s apex court.
Chaired by Senator Farooq Naek, the committee approved Justice Malik’s nomination with five of the nine votes cast in her favor. He told local media that even though the committee believed judges should be appointed on the basis of seniority, Justice Malik’s nomination was approved because it set a historical precedent by elevating to the Supreme Court a woman judge for the first time in the country’s history.
“We have approved Justice Ayesha’s name in national interest,” he added.
Justice Malik is ranked fourth at the Lahore High Court on the basis of seniority. Her nomination last year had provoked controversy, with bar councils protesting the decision to elevate a judge out-of-turn and urging the judiciary to establish guidelines for all appointments to the superior courts.
Nominated by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, discussion on Justice Malik’s elevation had ended at impasse on Sept. 9, 2021 after four members of the Judicial Commission of Pakistan voted in her favor, and four voted against. The matter was taken up again earlier this month, with Justice Malik’s nomination being approved by a majority of five to four against.
Justice Malik was appointed to the Lahore High Court in March 2012. Once confirmed 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.