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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Breaking barriers: Justice Mussarat Hilali takes oath as second female judge of SC

Justice Mussarat Hilali's appointment marks a significant step forward in promoting diversity and inclusivity within the country's highest judicial institution.

Justice Mussarat Hilali on Friday took oath as a judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, becoming the second woman to make it to the country’s top court. Justice Ayesha A Malik became the first woman to be elevated to the top court in 2022.

According to the details, Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial administered the oath to Justice Hilali during a ceremony held at the ceremonial hall of the SC. Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan, senior judges, and lawyers attended the oath-taking ceremony.

Justice Mussarat Hilali — the first woman chief justice of Peshawar High Court — will serve as the top court’s judge for a period of three years before her retirement. With her appointment, the top court now has a total of 16 judges, with one slot vacant. She was also the first woman to become the CJ of any high court in the country.

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Justice Hilali has earned several distinctions in her career — first as a civil society activist and member of the bar and then her elevation to the bench. Known as an outspoken human rights activist, she remained office-bearer of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and also headed its KP chapter on different occasions.

Justice Mussarat Hilali’s appointment marks a significant step forward in promoting diversity and inclusivity within the country’s highest judicial institution. This milestone not only recognizes the talent and expertise of Justice Hilali but also symbolizes the ongoing progress towards gender parity in the legal profession.

The inclusion of women judges in the Supreme Court is a critical development in the pursuit of gender equality within the judicial system. By having female representation on the bench, the court can ensure that the voices and perspectives of women are given due consideration in the decision-making process. Justice Hilali’s appointment sends a powerful message that gender should never be a barrier to achieving the highest positions within the judiciary.

Read more: Pakistan elevates first woman judge to the Supreme Court

The presence of women judges in the Supreme Court helps challenge and overcome deeply ingrained gender biases within the legal system. By actively participating in legal proceedings and contributing to the interpretation of laws, female judges can ensure that gender biases are recognized and rectified.