Judiciously, indeed, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar nominated Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar as Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court on July 23rd. This is the first time a woman has been appointed a high court chief justice in the history of the country. Although never thought to be an impossible feat for Pakistan, considering that we already had the distinction of having the first female prime minister among Muslim-majority countries and countless other women in leadership roles, the significance of the development lies in the fact that Justice Safdar has been appointed the chief justice of the Balochistan High Court.
This indeed is a welcome development considering the fact that women in Balochistan have little participation in public sphere. In matters of women’s advancement the provinces of Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa lag behind when compared with Sindh and Punjab. This move has, of course, strengthened women empowerment in Balochistan. Now that a woman has earned the honour, through her own excellent qualifications, of becoming a high court chief justice, which is one of the most prestigious positions in the country, it will inspire other women from the province to strive to rise to top positions in many other spheres of public life. The fact that, of late, the political situation in the province has seen a marked improvement now many women would come forward to make their presence felt in the public sphere.
Although the law and order situation in the province remained unsatisfactory in the build-up to the elections on July 25, analysts held a more positive outlook than in the past on voter turnout, considering the overall improvement in this respect. Back in May, Chief Justice Nisar lamented citizens’ lack of political empowerment but has successfully effected a turnaround with the nomination of Justice Safdar. The high number of female poll candidates is indicative of this changed landscape as a total of 58 female candidate names were submitted this time around for seats reserved for women in legislatures, 41 for the provincial assembly and 17 for the National Assembly. In the near future, we hope to see more women in powerful leadership roles, elevated strictly on the basis of merit, and not out of sympathy for their gender.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2018.
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Original news : https://tribune.com.pk/story/1766424/6-a-leap-forward/