LAHORE: Lahore High Court chief justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry on Tuesday promised ensuring women’s representation on the bench.
The chief justice was speaking at a gathering of women lawyers organised by Supreme Court Bar Association president Asma Jahangir in connection with the International Women’s Day.
Justice Mian Saqib Nisar of the Supreme Court and Lahore High Court Bar Association president Asghar Ali Gill and other bar officials were also present.
The chief justice said that 223 civil judges, including 67 women, were recently appointed throughout the province.
He said every woman was a respectable member of society. He condemned the practices of exchange or forced marriages for which consent of women was usually not taken and they bore the burnt of such marriages for the rest of their life. He urged non-government organisations to work in areas where such marriages were more common.
He said that law of the land and religion allowed every woman to marry a man of her choice and no one could force them to do otherwise.
Justice Nisar conveyed a message of Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to women lawyers, assuring them that the judiciary was there to give all out help to women in battle for their legal rights.
Justice Nisar praised Ms Jahangir for her struggle for rights of women, saying he had seen her fighting in courts for the past 40 or so years.
He urged women to wage struggle for their rights and make their place in society like Asma Jahangir did because, he added, without struggle and hard work the society would never acknowledge them what to speak of giving them rights.
He regretted discrimination against women at the level of family and other tiers of society.
Earlier, Ms. Jahangir said it was not only a woman’s job to struggle for her rights but men had greater responsibility to think for women because she was linked to them in many noble relations such as mother, daughter, sister and wife.
About women lawyers, Ms. Jahangir said they were working in an unfriendly and hostile environment which was evident from the fact that women judges of the LHC never started practice after retirement contrary to their male counterparts.
She demanded that women should be given representation in all legal departments besides the offices of attorney-general, advocate-general and prosecutor-general.
She said that she contested family cases more than other during her practicing career and came to know that family laws were very confused due to which women run for years from pillar to post to get justice in cases of dissolution of marriage and custody of children.
SCBA president also announced forming a committee to help women fight legal battle for their rights.