For the first time in history, Lahore High Court swore in Justice Aalia Neelum as Chief Justice – Firstpost

For the first time in history, Lahore High Court swore in Justice Aalia Neelum as Chief Justice – Firstpost

In a historic moment for Pakistan’s judiciary, Justice Aalia Neelum was sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday at the Governor House, marking the first time a woman has been elevated to the court’s top post.

According to DawnJustice Neelum’s appointment was approved by President Asif Ali Zardari a day before her swearing-in ceremony. The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP), headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, had earlier approved her promotion, along with nominees Acting Chief Justice Shujaat Ali Khan and Justice Ali Baqar Najafi, for consideration as the Chief Justice of the LHC.

Punjab Governor Sardar Saleem Haider Khan took oath in the presence of several eminent judges of the LHC, including Justice Ali Baqar Najafi, Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh, Justice Syed Shahbaz Rizvi and Justice Shams Mehmood Mirza. Notable participants included Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar and Inspector General of Punjab, the report added.

Who is Judge Aalia Neelum?

Born on November 12, 1966, Justice Neelum holds a law degree from the University of Punjab and began her legal career as an advocate in 1996. She was granted the status of Advocate of the Supreme Court in 2008 and was appointed to the Lahore High Court in 2013, becoming a permanent judge on March 16, 2015.

Throughout her judicial career, Justice Neelum delivered 203 important judgments and was notably the first woman administrative judge to supervise the anti-terrorism courts across Punjab. She played a pivotal role in setting up specialised courts to deal with gender-based violence cases and was instrumental in formulating evidence recording protocols in the province’s e-courts.

A step towards gender equality

Her rise underscores a broader trend toward women taking on senior judicial roles in Pakistan.

Justice Syeda Tahira Safdar made history in 2018 by becoming the first woman Chief Justice of the Balochistan High Court, while Justice Ayesha A. Malik became the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court in 2021.

The appointment of Justice Aalia Neelum marks a significant step forward towards gender equality and representation in Pakistan’s judiciary, reflecting the country’s commitment to empowering women in key leadership positions.

With contributions from agencies

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