ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Wednesday expressed his regrets over the remarks he made in Karachi about the length of women’s skirt and conceded that the comments were inappropriate on the occasion and he stands corrected.
“If the remarks have hurt the feelings of women in general and female litigators and litigants in particular, I deeply regret the same,” the chief justice observed in an open court while heading a three-judge Supreme Court bench.
The observation came during the hearing of a tax matter. Soon after the observation, the Supreme Court office also issued a handout stating that the chief justice, while delivering a speech in Karachi recently, made some remarks which were perceived as gender sensitive by certain sections of society.
At the beginning of his speech in Karachi, the chief justice had quoted a remark by Winston Churchill alluding to women’s attire as a benchmark for the length of a good speech.
The remarks, however, were criticised by civil society and the mainstream media soon afterwards. Even the Women Legal Association (WLA) in a statement dubbed the remarks a setback for women lawyers who practise in a male-dominated profession.
“Given the global conversation today about the impact of discrimination on women’s lives, ranging from casual sexism in the workplace to sexual assault, the statement is particularly tasteless, and unbecoming of the chief justice of any country,” the WLA deplored.
“If the remarks have hurt the feelings of women in general and female litigators and litigants in particular, I deeply regret the same,” Chief Justice Nisar said, claiming that the Supreme Court was conscious of its duties and would uphold the rights of women as well as alleviate their grievances.
The chief justice said he had only quoted Winston Churchill — former prime minister of the UK — but hastened to add that the remarks were inappropriate and thus stood corrected. He said that hurting anyone was not his intention and that women comprised half of the country’s population.
CJ Nisar was also bitter that the social media was trying to create an issue out of the statement.