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Justice Aalia Neelum Named First Female Chief Justice of LHC


Wed 03 Jul 2024 | 03:41 PM
Justice Aalia Neelum
Justice Aalia Neelum
Yara Sameh

Justice Aalia Neelum has made history as the first woman to rise to the position of chief justice of the Lahore High Court (LHC).

The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) unanimously approved her elevation on Tuesday.

The JCP, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, approved her elevation after considering the nominations of three judges for the position of LHC chief justice, including Acting Chief Justice Shujaat Ali Khan, and Justice Ali Baqar Najafi.

It also unanimously recommended the elevation of Justice Shafi Siddiqui as chief justice of the Sindh High Court to fill the vacant seat created by the elevation of Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi to the Supreme Court.

The office of LHC chief justice became vacant after the elevation of Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan to the Supreme Court on June 7. Justice Shujaat Ali Khan was appointed as acting chief justice of the LHC.

Justice Aalia Neelum stands third in the seniority list of judges of the LHC. 

During the June 7 meeting, the JCP decided to consider her nomination for the office of the LHC chief justice.

In a groundbreaking milestone, Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar became the first woman to hold the position of chief justice of the Balochistan High Court in 2018, following the retirement of Justice Mohammad Noor Muskanzai. This was followed by another historic achievement when Justice Ayesha A. Malik became the first woman judge to be appointed to the Supreme Court in 2021.

A well-informed source said that the JCP had reached the consensus decision to elevate Justice Neelum despite Pakistan Bar Council’s (PBC) opposition and advocacy for adhering to the principle of seniority. 

The source added the commission thoroughly evaluated the credentials of all judges under consideration and feedback from nearly all member judges of the JCP was in favour of Justice Neelum.

Justice Neelum, born on Nov 12, 1966, earned her LLB degree from the University of Punjab in 1995 and was enrolled as an advocate in 1996. 

She later enrolled as an advocate of the Supreme Court in 2008 and elevated to the Lahore High Court in 2013.