Justice Ayesha Malik was sworn in as Pakistan's first female Supreme Court judge on January 24, a landmark occasion in a country where activists say the law is often wielded against women, The Dawn reported.
She now sits on the bench alongside 16 male colleagues at the apex court. “It's a huge step forward,” lawyer and women's rights activist Nighat Dad told AFP. “It is history in the making for Pakistan's judiciary.”
Justice Malik was educated at Harvard University and served as a high court judge in Lahore for the past two decades. She has been credited with rolling back patriarchal legal mores in Punjab.
Last year she outlawed a deeply invasive and medically discredited examination used to determine a woman's level of sexual experience. “She has broken all barriers in the judicial system and it will allow other women in the system to move forward,” said lawyer and women's rights activist Khadija Siddiqi.
“I hope this will lead to more women-centric decisions by the judiciary in the future.” Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan congratulated Justice Malik and wished her all the best.