Pakistan HC gets first female CJ
Justice Tahira Safdar was sworn in on 1st of September as the first woman Balochistan High Court chief justice Mrs Safdar, 61, daughter of a renowned lawyer Syed Imtiaz Hussain Baqri Hanafi was born on October 5th, 1957, in Quetta. She completed her basic education from Cantonment Public School, her bachelor's degree from Government Girls College, both situated in Quetta. She received her law degree in 1980 from University Law College, also in Quetta. She also obtained a degree in Urdu Literature from the University of Balochistan.
Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar started her journey after passing the exam facilitated by the Balochistan Public Service Commission and being appointed as a civil judge on 1982. She currently is a member of the Administration Committee. She also is present in the committee consulting the drafting of rules, regulations, notifications and circulars. Justice Safdar belonged to one of the three judges of the Special Court which conducted the trial of Gen. Pervez Musharraf in 2013 for high treason.
As per a report made by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in 2016, only 5% of the judges of Pakistani courts are women which screams out the nations inability to address gender equality and equal participation of women as the country is obligated to under its constitution and the international treaty ratified, namely the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). No woman has ever been a member of the Pakistan Bar Council, the body regulating the lawyers. Asma Jahangir still, as of now, is the only female lawyer to have been elected as the President of Supreme Court Bar Association. Despite these, participation and opportunities for such are required for women in Pakistan regarding legal profession due to the sensitive nature of the hardships women there endure.
Hopefully, the appointment of Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar as the Chief Justice of the BHC will be a step amongst many to ameliorate the disparity in the legal profession in Pakistan and pave the way for ascertaining equal participation of women.
Ahmed Ragib Chowdhury is a contributor of the Law & Justice, the Daily Observer