History is in the making as Lahore High Court Justice Ayesha A. Malik got the nod for elevation to the Supreme Court on Thursday, making her one step closer to becoming the country's first-ever woman judge to sit on the apex court. Ecstatic public figures and netizens took to social media to celebrate how the elevation will be a "great day for women" in Pakistan and "hopefully the first of many" that will see women judges as a prominent part of the Supreme Court roster.
The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) approved Justice Malik's elevation by a majority of five votes against four, an informed source told Dawn. This is the second JCP meeting to decide on Justice Malik's elevation. A lack of consensus during an extended meeting on September 9 forced the commission to reject her elevation.
The JCP meeting that decided on Justice Malik's elevation was chaired by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, who nominated Justice Malik for elevation in August. Netizens had rejoiced at her nomination at the time, emphasising that it was "about time" a women judge made it to the Supreme Court.
If Justice Malik is elevated following approval from an eight-member bipartisan parliamentary committee, she will remain a judge of the Supreme Court until March 2031 and may even have a chance to become the first woman Chief Justice of Pakistan.
Public figures and netizens took to Twitter to share the news with jubilation.
"Here’s your first female judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan — Justice Ayesha A. Malik," tweeted one user.
Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai's father Ziauddin Yousafzai shared his elation at the news. "Many congratulations to Justice Ayesha Malik," he wrote. "You have made history. Congratulations to the Supreme Court for nominating the country's first-ever woman judge to sit on the apex court."
"Great news!" posted singer Meesha Shafi. " Justice Ayesha Malik of the LHC becomes the first woman to become Supreme Court Justice in Pakistan."
"Congratulations to not just Justice Ayesha Malik but to Pakistan for having its first female Supreme Court judge. One woman judge in the Supreme Court is still too few but a good start for more to come!" tweeted activist and lawyer Nighat Dad.
"Such a special day today. We finally have our first woman Supreme Court Judge — Justice Ayesha Malik. I hope she will be the first of many. We need women in leadership positions in all spheres of life based on their capabilities and competence. Let’s make it happen Pakistan," shared former P@SHA president Jehan Ara.
"Justice Ayesha Malik has been appointed to the Supreme Court of Pakistan. She is not only the first female judge but a veritable force to be reckoned with. It is not only a great day for women. It is a great day for any who believe in a justice system based on merit and the rule of law," tweeted one user.
Another user shared how the nomination "is undoubtedly a historic moment and way forward for female jurists of Pakistan".
"What a proud, much awaited moment as we welcome Ayesha Malik as the first female Judge to the Supreme Court of Pakistan," tweeted one user. "Hopefully the repercussions will be beyond judiciary. A real hope that glass ceilings will broken with a higher frequency."
Another user expressed strong hope for the day Pakistan will finally have its first-ever women chief justice. "First woman Judge of Supreme Court of Pakistan Ayesha Malik will be our Chief Justice of Pakistan in 2030," the tweet read.
Congratulations to Justice Malik for breaking the first of many glass ceilings!