A ruling party official confirmed Thursday that Pakistan has appointed the nation’s first female Supreme Court judge.
Justice Ayesha Malik, 55, became the first female judge on the Supreme Court in the 75 years since the South Asian country gained independence on Thursday, according to a commission that makes decisions on the promotion of judges.
On Twitter, legislator of Pakistan’s ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf and parliamentary secretary for law Maleeka Bokhari said it was a significant and defining moment for the country.
Even though the move is historic, it has caused divisions. According to sources familiar with the proceedings, the nine-member panel that was to confirm her appointment failed to confirm her nomination last year, and Thursday’s vote was similarly divided – 5 votes to 4 – according to sources familiar with the process.
A number of lawyers and even judges have expressed opposition to the move, saying the appointment was made without regard to seniority lists and that there were no established criteria for selection.
Judge Ayesha Malik was not among the top three most senior judges at the lower court from which she was promoted.
In response to their call for fixed criteria to be drawn up for nominating Supreme Court judges, several lawyer associations have threatened to strike and boycott court proceedings.