A new bill, seeking at least 25% of judges in the Supreme Court of Pakistan to be women, was tabled in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The bill was introduced by MQM MNA Saman Sultana Jafri, seeking amendment to the Supreme Court Act, 1997 to rectify a glaring discrepancy with regards to women judges on the Supreme Court.
“Pakistan is the only country in South Asia, which has never had a woman judge in the Supreme Court. This means that not a single judge represents the lives, the sensibilities and the impacts of law on more than half of our population,” the bill’s statement of objects and reasons read.
Introducing the bill on the floor of the house, Jafri pointed out that there had been several women who could and should have been elevated to the Supreme Court in the past.
She said that under Article 25, parliament could make laws specially for women and children, which is why this bill was being laid before the house.
“Majida Rizvi, Nasira Javed Iqbal, Talat Yaqub, Khalid Rashida Khan, Fakhrunnisa Khokhar and many others were also recommended but the fact is that none of these women were actually chosen,” she said.
Opposing the bill in principle, Law Minister Zahid Hamid said that the procedure for the appointment of a Supreme Court judge was laid out exhaustively in the Constitution. He said that if a woman judge met the criteria, she would definitely be appointed to the apex court.
Reluctantly recommending that it be sent to the committee, he insisted ‘this was not the way’ to go about this, rather a constitutional amendment should have been introduced.