For the first time in our country’s history, a woman will take the office of Chief Justice at a Pakistani high court. Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nasir made the announcement on Monday.
Justice Tahira Safdar will be taking over after Balochistan Chief Justice Mohammad Noor Muskanzai reaches superannuation on August 31. This is a new chapter in Pakistan’s history, and certainly one that is much needed at this point in time.
This news is interesting for two reasons, the obvious one being that Justice Tahira is making history, and the second one being that it is Balochistan that is going to be the stage for this momentous occasion. The province houses around five per cent of the country’s population, but has managed to become the first to experience this landmark development.
The judge isn’t a stranger to making history. In 1982, she made her mark as the first woman civil judge in the province. At present, she brings with her a reservoir of experience. Her recent role was serving as part of a three-member special court setup to try former president Pervez Musharraf, where he is being scrutinised for treason.
As we celebrate Justice Tahira’s entry into a bigger playing field, we also have to wonder how it took more than 70 years for us to come this far. The legal system requires a bigger representation of women. This may be a step in the right direction, but it is one that must be replicated around the country immediately.
The legal system supports all Pakistanis, it does not have gender-specific bend or bias.
Then why are women missing from our upper courts? Justice Tahira is hopefully the first of many names that will be joining the big leagues — and the sooner they do it the better it will be for Pakistan.