By: Akhter Amin
PESHAWAR: The women lawyers on Sunday hailed the establishment of the first barroom for females advocates in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and termed it historic.
Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel inaugurated the barroom at a ceremony on March 27.District and Sessions Judge Peshawar Shahid Khan, Peshawar District Bar office-bearers and senior lawyers, including women, had attended the ceremony.
The ‘Female Barroom’ was established in the upper portion of the New Barroom of the Peshawar Bar Association adjacent to the Judicial Complex. Speaking on the occasion, PHC Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel said that the increase in the number of women lawyers and judges was encouraging for the judiciary.
He said that separate barroom for women lawyers was a good move for the legal profession as they would be able to perform duties in a better environment.Talking to The News, the women lawyers termed the establishment of their barroom a big achievement. “There was no washroom for us and a separate place in the lower courts,” a woman lawyer told The News.
Bibi Saba, who strived for the establishment of the barroom, told The News that there was no specific place or washroom for the female lawyers in the lower courts. She stated that the strength of the female lawyers had increased, but there was no separate washroom for them. “We faced difficulties due to lack of facilities,” she added.
“First I took up the matter with the former district and sessions judge Ziauddin Khattak and then with former PHC chief justice Mian Fasihul Mulk,” said Bibi Saba, who has served as secretary Library in the Peshawar Bar Association.
She added that PHC Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel gave practical shape to the idea and set up the barroom for female lawyers. “We are relaxed now as we didn’t have place to offer prayers and prepare our court cases,” Bibi Saba said. She added there were about 150 female lawyers who would feel relaxed using their own barroom.
Senior woman lawyer and former Additional Advocate General Neelam A Khan said the establishment of the separate barroom was encouraging for female lawyers, particularly the young ones.
She said there were no facilities for the female lawyers as even in the PHC there was a small room for them that didn’t meet their requirements.The number of female judges has increased in the province and they have even been appointed in hard areas like the militancy-hit Swat district.Currently, there are two female judges at the PHC, Justice Irshad Qaiser and Justice Musarrat Hilali.